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Salvini's fight against Italian PM

The renewed political turmoil threatens to derail preparations for the 2020 budget in the autumn, asItaly attempts to rein in its huge public debt.

Aformer academic who does not belong to any party,Conte on Thursday used the case of a migrant rescue boat refused entry to Italy's ports by Salvini as an opportunity to settle scores with the leader of the coruling League party, which last week put forward a motion of no confidence in his government coalition with the populist 5-Star Movement.

More than 500 migrants and refugees have been stranded on board two rescue boats in the Mediterranean since aid workers pulled them from the waters earlier this month. About 350 are thought to be on board the Ocean Viking and a further 150 on the Open Arms.

Salvini's League pushed a law through parliament last week which criminalised rescue workers and stated that any vessels carrying undocumented migrants in Italian waters could be seized, impounded and the crews prosecuted - with fines of up to $1.1m.