Amber Rudd, who resigned from Boris Johnson’s cabinet and the Tory Party last month, has branded the PM’s chief aide Dominic Cummings as “angry and desperate”.
The former work and pensions secretary said on Tuesday morning she believed the No. 10 source, quoted by The Spectator claiming there were “all sorts of things” the government could do to scupper a Brexit delay, was Johnson’s chief adviser.
“It sounds angry and desperate. And the language that is used, I do not believe should be the language of a UK government,” she told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme.
“I think Dominic Cummings, yes, because otherwise it would have been heavily denied and heads would have rolled.
“It reveals that there doesn’t appear to be an actual plan at all. Instead, what they’re doing is angrily, apparently, begging the EU not to support a delay which will be required because of the position that parliament has taken.
Rudd added: “I urgently would ask the prime minister to take control of this and give us some clarity and some dignity and diplomacy on what is taking place.”
James Forsyth, the political editor of The Spectator, quoted a source in Downing Street as saying it would made clear both privately and publicly that EU countries which oppose delay will “go the front of the queue for future co-operation” while “those who support delay will go to the bottom of the queue”.
The source added the Conservatives would then fight an election on a “get Brexit done immediately” platform with a no-deal exit in order to “marginalise the Brexit Party”.
Johnson has promised to take the UK out of the EU on October 31 with or without a deal.
But the PM will be forced by the Benn Act - passed by MPs opposed to no-deal - to request an extension to Article 50 if he has failed to secure an agreement by October 31.
Johnson’s attempts to secure a deal with Brussels continue to be met with frostiness by EU leaders whose objections are beginning to become clearer.
The PM has said that his blueprint to resolve the issue of the Northern Ireland backstop represents a “fair and reasonable compromise”.
However, EU leaders have so far refused to enter into detailed discussions on the plan, saying it does not represent the basis for a new Brexit settlement.
As the clock ticks down, a new Brexit readiness document will be published on Tuesday subject to the Speaker approving a statement by no-deal planning chief Michael Gove.
The paper will look at the preparations which have been made in advance of the October 31 EU departure date, providing more detail on no-deal planning.