Boris Johnson is facing the wrath of three former PMs over his no-deal Brexit plans, as he was poised to enter No10.
Sir John Major, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown all warned him that crashing out of the EU will plunge us into economic hell.
Mr Brown insisted it would be the largest “self-inflicted wound” in peacetime history.
Should Boris Johnson win the leadership battle, he will stroll into No10 with the dire warnings of three former PMs ringing in his ears, over fears his no-deal plans could plunge Britain into an economic disaster.
Labour’s Gordon Brown and Tony Blair and Tory Sir John Major have united to condemn the leadership favourite, widely expected to beat Jeremy Hunt to the job.
Mr Johnson’s unveiling as PM will also be overshadowed by a string of resignations by Cabinet Ministers who refuse to serve under him and will fight his dangerous no-deal bid.
But there was silence from David Cameron, the former Prime Minister criticised for unleashing the Brexit fiasco by announcing the referendum then quitting before the storm hit.
© REUTERS Sir John Major says Johnson will face “uncompromising opposition” to his hard Brexit plans
Sir John, who was in the Downing Street hot seat from 1990 to 1997, became the latest Tory to ramp up the Brexit in-fighting that is tearing the party apart.
He warned Mr Johnson he would face “uncompromising opposition” to his hard Brexit plans if he pressed ahead.
Sir John also said Theresa May ’s successor must choose between representing an “ultra-Brexit faction” or being a “servant of the nation he leads”. He added: “He cannot be both, and the choice he makes will define his premiership from the moment of its birth.”
Mr Brown, who was PM from 2007 to 2010, described the no-deal strategy as a “national fiasco” and the greatest “self-inflicted wound” in peacetime British history.
He predicted Mr Johnson would declare “economic war” on Brussels within minutes of gaining power.
© PA Former prime minister Gordon Brown says Johnson’s Brexit plan is a ‘national fiasco’
Mr Brown added: “He’ll walk into this very small office that the PM occupies, next to the Cabinet room, and he’ll sit down and think: ‘Well that’s been a pretty good day for me.’
“This is where the good news for him ends.” The former Chancellor said Mr Johnson would then “run up against a brick wall” when he pitches his hardline Brexit plan to EU leaders – including a refusal to pay the £39billion divorce agreement.
He added: “It’s the economic equivalent of a declaration of war. We are not going to pay our bills, that’s what he’s said, unless we get what we want.”
Mr Blair, who led the country from 1997 to 2007, said that leaving the EU without a deal could be a “gargantuan risk” to public faith in democracy.
He said: “No one knows with certainty the impact of no-deal for the simple reason that no developed nation has ever left overnight its preferential trading arrangements in this manner. It could be merely very difficult or it could be catastrophic.”
© AFP/Getty Images Tony Blair says leaving the EU without a deal could be a “gargantuan risk” to public faith in democracy
Former Foreign Secretary Mr Johnson yesterday insisted Britain can leave the EU with a pact at the end of October if the country has the “will” for Brexit – despite the EU repeatedly insisting Mrs May’s plan will not be renegotiated.
He has not ruled out a no-deal if he does not get his own way.
Chancellor Philip Hammond has already announced he would quit to fight to stop Britain crashing out of Europe, as has Justice Secretary David Gauke.
In another blow to Mr Johnson, veteran Foreign Office minister Sir Alan Duncan left his post.
In his resignation letter to Mrs May, he said Brexit had cast a “dark cloud” over the country.
Sir Alan, an arch-critic of his former boss, tried to secure an emergency debate today to test whether Mr Johnson would be able to hold the confidence of the Commons if he beats Jeremy Hunt in the race for Downing Street.
© Getty Images Sir Alan Duncan resigned, saying Johnson flies by the seat of his pantsHe said: “I have very grave concerns that he flies by the seat of his pants and it’s all a bit haphazard and ramshackle”.
But Speaker John Bercow blocked the move which could have potentially prevented the next PM from taking office even if elected leader.
International Development Secretary Rory Stewart also confirmed yesterday he would leave the Cabinet before Mr Johnson takes over.
He tweeted: “I made that announcement eight weeks ago when I said that because of our differences on Brexit and prorogation, I wouldn’t be able to serve in a Boris Johnson Cabinet.”
Mr Johnson already faces the prospect of ruling with a technical majority of two as Tory MP Charlie Elphicke had the whip suspended after being charged with sexually assaulting two women.
© PA Charlie Elphicke, Conservative MP for Dover, has been charged with three counts of sexual assault against two women
The official working majority could be further reduced to just one next week if the Tories lose the Brecon by-election as expected.
Mr Johnson will make a speech on the steps of Downing Street tomorrow if he wins before announcing his Cabinet. The Mirror understands it could feature more Remainer ministers, such as Matt Hancock and Amber Rudd, than expected.
But he will find he has a lodger in No 10 – Mr Hammond, who will be granted a period of grace before he has to move out. The flat above No 11 has been used by every PM since Mr Blair as it is big enough for a family, with the Chancellor occupying No 10.
Mr Johnson was ridiculed for comparing Brexit to the moon landings in 1969 saying if “they could use a hand-knitted computer code to make a frictionless re-entry to Earth” we can “agree frictionless trade at the Irish border”. But Mr Blair said: “It is a very Boris approach to things, which is to say, ‘Never mind the detail, if we only believe in ourselves we can do it’.”