A cross-party group is seeking a way out of the Brexit "nightmare" by working together to find a deal that can secure a majority in Parliament, suggesting a Northern Ireland-only backstop may be one answer.
Nick Boles, an independent member of Parliament who quit the Tories this year and worked with Boris Johnson when he was Mayor of London, said the prime minister "doesn't care about anything other than power and glory for himself." He will seek to remain in office by any means, Mr. Boles said.
Mr. Johnson appears to be boxed in to a corner, having said he would rather "die in a ditch" than delay Brexit. He failed to secure a general election and is confronted by a Parliament that doesn't support a no-deal split from the European Union and passed a law requiring him to delay if he can't reach an agreement next month.
While former Prime Minister Theresa May relied on the support of the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party's 10 MPs to give her a working majority, the agreement ensuring their support expired when the Parliament session ended early Tuesday morning.
Mr. Johnson, who meets DUP leaders Tuesday in London, no longer has a working majority after 21 Tory MPs were expelled over their support for legislation blocking a no-deal Brexit. He'll have to rely on Labour votes to get a deal passed, even if he can convince the DUP to come back on board.
"The Tory Party has been entirely in hock to the DUP ever since they lost their majority," Mr. Boles said at the launch of the group Tuesday, referring to the disastrous 2017 general election. The party "is no longer dependent on the DUP for a majority because it doesn't haven't a majority because it fired its majority last week," he said.
Labour MP Caroline Flint, who represents a district that favored leaving the EU, said she estimates some 50 Labour MPs would back a compromise position and she hopes support for the group will grow.
"I have yet to meet a Labour MP who has a problem with the backstop," said Stephen Kinnock, another Labour member of the group. "The tail is wagging the dog," he said, referring to a rump of Tory MPs who won't vote for a deal that includes the backstop, which would guarantee the free flow of goods across the Irish border after Brexit.
Mr. Kinnock said that, although MPs would not back a "carbon copy" of the May deal, it is now time to "stop kicking the can."
Mr. Johnson's spokesman, James Slack, told reporters later Tuesday the government is "not seeking a northern Ireland-only backstop," which would see border controls in the Irish Sea, but not on the land border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.