Johnson tells Tories to stop early election talk as he warns of voter impatience

Boris Johnson has told Conservative MPs to rein in talk of another snap election, warning that voters would have little patience for being told to go back to the ballot boxes so soon after last year's poll.

Responding to reports this weekend that some backbenchers are actively making preparations for an election as early as October, the Foreign Secretary said "the British people deserve a break from politicians".

Speculation over a possible election has been fuelled by discord within Theresa May's minority administration over the precise shape of the Brexit deal which Britain is seeking from the EU.

One unnamed MP told the Sunday Times he was losing belief that Mrs May could "square the circle" and devise an arrangement acceptable both to the hardline eurosceptics and Tory Remainers on whose votes she will have to rely to get it through Parliament.

Recent polls giving Conservatives a lead over Jeremy Corbyn's Labour are believed to have emboldened some Tories into thinking that a fresh election might deliver the solid majority which Mrs May hoped for in 2017 in order to negotiate Brexit from a position of strength.

But Mr Johnson warned that voters could punish any party which forced them back to the polling stations again after the snap election in 2017, EU referendum in 2016 and general election in 2015.

He cited the famous response of Brenda, from Bristol, who last year responded to Mrs May's decision to call an election by telling a TV reporter: "You're joking, not another one. Oh for God's sake, honestly, I can't stand this. There's too much politics going on at the moment."

Asked about the anonymous MPs' speculation about an early poll, Mr Johnson said: "We had a general election in June last year, which followed hard on the heels of a referendum, which itself followed hard on the heels of an election in 2015.

"I think the British public deserve a break from politicians. And my thoughts are very much with that wonderful woman Brenda.

"I'm with Brenda on this one."

The Sunday Times reported that some Tory MPs have spoken to their local party associations asking to be readopted as prospective parliamentary candidates in readiness for an autumn election.

Following a briefing by the Prime Minister on plans for the future trading relationship with Europe, one unnamed MP told the paper: "If we face repeated defeats when the EU Withdrawal Bill returns to the Commons, the only alternative will be to kick over the table and trigger a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister, which will likely lead to another general election."