Splits in Britain’s Conservative Party pose are a growing threat to David Cameron’s chances of remaining prime minister after the Brexit referendum.
‘Blue-on-blue’ attacks are increasingly acrimonious.
Bookmakers have cut the odds on Mr Cameron’s ouster this year.
Former London Mayor, Boris Johnson, and Justice Secretary, Michael Gove, both prominent Conservatives campaigning to leave the EU, said, in a letter to the Sunday Times, that the premier’s broken promises on immigration were “corrosive of public trust”.
Divisions within the Tory party worsened over the weekend, with one lawmaker saying that dissidents may mount a challenge to Mr Cameron’s leadership, even if he keeps Britain in the EU.
The ferocity of the attacks from Mr Cameron’s cabinet colleague, Mr Gove, may make it impossible for the prime minister to stitch his government back together after the referendum, according to Tim Bale, professor of politics at Queen Mary, University of London.
“The Gove and Johnson letter was an escalation of the rumbling civil war,” Mr Bale said.
“We’ve not seen such a clear rupture of agreed government policy, or such a push on collective cabinet responsibility towards breaking point, as we have this weekend.”
Less than a month before the June 23 referendum, and with some polls suggesting the outcome is too close to call, the debate has turned caustic: parliament’s Treasury select committee, on Friday, accused both sides of misleading voters with “bogus claims.”
After several reports by the Treasury focused on the potential economic shock of an exit, the Leave campaign is seeking to regain control of the debate by focusing on the impact of EU membership on migration.
Mr Cameron’s opponents are trying to skewer him over an election promise to cut annual immigration to tens of thousands.
Net migration to the UK rose to 333,000 in 2015, just below the record, and up 20,000 from 2014, the UK’s Office of National Statistics said.
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