Brexit news: Boris Johnson ready for ‘spears in his back’ after EU deal U-turn | UK | News

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After a series of defeats for the Prime Minister, he has now hinted he is ready to soften his key demands that Brussels scraps the Irish backstop. Doing so would ignite confrontation with hardline Brexiteers of the European Research Group (ERG), who call themselves the Spartans. The backstabbing remark came during talks with some of the 21 Conservative MPs who were kicked out of the party for voting for a Brexit delay and defying the Government.

Mr Johnson pleaded with the Remainer rebels and insisted he would need their support soon.

He told them: “The spears in my back won’t be from you, they’ll come from the Spartans.”

The ERG provided Mr Johnson with the necessary support to help win the Conservative leadership race.

It came only after he pledged to tear up the Irish backstop.

Government advisors are urging the Prime Minister to settle for a two or three year limit to the insurance plan to keep the border open.

A senior ally of Mr Johnson told The Sun: “We know the Spartans are going to accuse us of betrayal at some point.”

Sources close to the Prime Minister claim any new Brexit deal will not take shape until very close to the vital EU summit on October 17.

In fear of “blowing up” the party conference in early October, his first as leader, he will not publicly step down from his backstop demands.

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The Prime Minister insisted, at a Cabinet meeting yesterday, those who believe the expulsion of the rebels made his government “extremist” were wrong.

Mr Johnson claimed to be “the most liberal Conservative PM in decades”, leading to a quip by Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

He joked to the Prime Minister, saying “don’t tell Priti” in reference to hardline Home Secretary Priti Patel.

Some Conservative rebels believe Mr Johnson is playing both sides of his conflicted party off against one another.

One said: “Boris is Janus-faced. He has to be to survive.”

The Prime Minister’s Brexit strategy received a boost last night from DUP leader Arlene Foster.

Ms Foster backed the more conciliatory approach Mr Johnson has taken over the last few days.

She said, following a lengthy No10 meeting, she was “encouraged” by the Prime Ministers reassurance to Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar on Monday that he was straining every sinew for a deal.

In an added sign of movement towards the UK’s departure from the EU, Ms Foster claimed a “sensible deal” was “the best way forward for everyone”.

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