The leading Brexiteer issued a stark warning to those MPs who are threatening to vote against including a fixed Brexit date into the EU Withdrawal Bill.
Mr Paterson said: "The number one priority for the Government is delivering Brexit, the Prime Minister made that completely clear.
"If that is not delivered that is an existential problem for the government and I would think we’ll end up in a general election.
Owen Paterson said MPs need to thread carefully to avoid tipping the UK into a crisis
Speaking to the BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Paterson said the Government was trying to "put pressure on the Europeans" to agree to a Brexit deal with the UK.
He continued: "We’ll make it absolutely clear that we will be leaving on March 29, 2019.
"So we all know exactly where we are going at that puts pressure on the Europeans to negotiate seriously on the end arrangement, the economic arrangement – which they flatly refused to do so far."
At least 15 Tory MPs are planning to vote against a Government's proposal to enshrine the date of Brexit into law.
The Daily Telegraph labelled the group as "Brexit mutineers", sparking an immediate reaction from both the MPs and other members of the Government.
But Brexit minister Steve Baker called out the publication for "attempts to divide" the Conservative party.
Taking to Twitter, Mr Baker said: "I regret any media attempt to divide our party. My Parliamentary colleagues have sincere suggestions to improve the Bill which we are working through and I respect them for that."
The rebel MPs, who mostly represent Leave-voting constituencies, are expected to come under significant pressure in the build-up to the vote.
Led by former attorney general Dominic Grieve the MPs include senior Tories Nicky Morgan, Mr Clarke and Ms Soubry.
They will join Jeremy Corbyn’s ranks who have already confirmed their intentions to vote against the bill that they claim is “pandering” to Brexiteers.
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