Remainer rebels stayed on the Tory benches today despite being summarily kicked out of the party for humiliating Boris Johnson in a crunch Brexit vote.
Former chancellor Ken Clarke and others from the 21-strong gang who joined a stunning mutiny in the Commons last night were still positioned with the government at PMQs.
The Tory civil war is raging out of control with Brexiteers saying ‘deselection is too good’ for those who took part in the mutiny.
The party is on the verge of an historic split after Mr Johnson wreaked a brutal revenge the group who defied him – effectively ending their careers by stripping them of the whip.
The ‘Remainer bloodbath’, which saw eight former Cabinet ministers axed, caused fury among moderates who claim the premier was determined to carry out a ‘purge’ ahead of a snap election.
However, there are concerns that some of those ejected could choose to run as independents – and might damage the Tories’ chances in a poll.
Former chancellor Ken Clarke warned that the Conservatives were being ‘rebadged’ as the Brexit Party.
Former chancellor Ken Clarke (circled) and others from the 21-strong gang who joined a stunning mutiny in the Commons last night were still positioned with the government today
The ‘Remainer bloodbath’ after the rebellion last night saw senior Tories including Sir Nicholas Soames (left) and Philip Hammond (right) axed
Former International Development Secretary Rory Stewart (pictured on ITV’s GMB today) was also summarily ejected from the Tories
Ex-Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson voiced horror at the expulsion of Sir Nicholas Soames, Winston Churchill’s grandson.
‘How, in the name of all that is good and holy, is there no longer room in the Conservative Party for @NSoames?’ she tweeted.
But there was no sympathy from Eurosceptics, who accused the MPs of giving the EU a ‘veto over when or even whether we leave’.
Nigel Farage said the punishment was an ‘act of leadership’.
Tory MP Henry Smith told MailOnline: ‘I think it is outrageous that those MPs have defied the clear democratically expressed will of the British people.’
Mr Smith said the PM was ‘absolutely’ right to deselect those who sided with the Opposition.
‘This is a matter of the most fundamental trust. The PM and I and all other Conservative MPs have now stood twice on manifesto promises that a referendum would be held and the result would be honoured.
‘They have reneged on the decision of the British people to leave the EU and their election manifestos. Deselection is almost too good for them.’
Mr Smith admitted that some could opt to run again as independents in an election. He said: ‘They can do what they like, but I think it might be the last we will see of them.’
Former International Development Secretary Rory Stewart called the decision to throw him out of the party ‘astonishing’.
He received the news of his sacking as he was being given the GQ award for politician of the year.
‘It came by text,’ the Penrith and the Border MP told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. ‘It was a pretty astonishing moment. Remember, only a few weeks ago I was running for the leadership of the Conservative Party against Boris Johnson and I was in the Cabinet. And it has all gone very quickly in six weeks.
Boris Johnson (pictured in the Commons today) wreaked a brutal revenge on 21 MPs who defied him – effectively ending their careers by stripping them of the whip
‘It feels a little bit like something you associate with other countries – one opposes the leader, one loses the leadership race, no longer in the cabinet and now apparently thrown out of the party and one’s seat too.’
Mr Stewart said there were ’30 or 40′ other Tories who had been wanting to block No Deal but were cowed into backing the PM by the deselection threats.
The latest shocking developments began when Mr Johnson lost a crunch vote at around 10pm, giving a rebel alliance control of Commons business with the aim of passing a law to stop the UK crashing out of the EU at the end of October, by an unexpectedly large margin of 328 to 301.
The scale of the Tory rebellion was larger than many at Westminster had expected, with the ‘aggressive’ government tactics failing to whittle down numbers.
The combative attitude of Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg during the debate on the business motion seemed to infuriate many who were wavering.
The roll call of rebels included ex-Chancellor Mr Hammond, who has already vowed to fight efforts to deselect him, as well as former ministers Justine Greening and Alistair Burt – who both pre-empted their punishments earlier by announcing they would be standing down at the election.
Other Cabinet veterans were Sir Oliver Letwin, Dominic Grieve, Mr Clarke, Greg Clark, Rory Stewart, and Caroline Nokes.
A Downing Street spokesman said last night: ‘The Chief Whip is speaking with those Tory MPs who did not vote with the Government this evening. They will have the whip removed.’
A rebel source said No10 was ‘removing the whip from two former chancellors, a former lord chancellor and Winston Churchill’s grandson’.
‘What has has happened to the Conservative Party?’ they added.
The TWENTY-ONE Tory rebels who will be kicked out of the party after voting against the Government in bid to block No Deal Brexit
A band of 21 Tory rebels defied threats of being booted out of the party and voted against the government to block a No Deal Brexit.
Boris Johnson threatened to remove the whip and deselect Conservative MPs who vote to pass a law in the Commons today stopping the UK from crashing out of the EU on October 31.
Before the vote an estimated 21 Conservative, including some former cabinet members and two ex-chancellors, were expected to side with the Opposition on the crucial European Union (Withdrawal) (No.6) Bill 2019.
It was thought the enormous pressure from Number 10 and the Tory whips whittled down the number of defiant Conservatives.
Although some Tory MPs buckled, 21 did vote with the Opposition as others joined the band of rebels opposing Boris Johnson.
These inlcuded former chancellor Philip Hammond, ex-justice secretary David Gauke, former attorney general Dominic Grieve and Sir Oliver Letwin.
Ex-chancellor Philip Hammond is considered a leader of the Tory No Deal Brexit rebels
Mr Gauke, Mr Hammond, Mr Grieve, Mr Letwin and former minister Alistair Burt had all already signed the Bill sealing their fate and almost certain expulsion from the party before tonight’s vote took place.
One of those who voted against the government was for Conservative Phillip Lee who dramatically crossed the floor of the Commons to join the Lib Dems while Boris Johnson was speaking – and effectively wiping out his majority before the vote even took place.
Downing Street tonight confirmed the rebel MPs would be kicked out of the party after the government was defeated.
A spokesman said: ‘The Chief Whip is speaking with those Tory MPs who did not vote with the Government this evening. They will have the whip removed.’
However, Mr Hammond indicated he would fight any deselection through the courts.
The Tory rebels include:
Rebel leader, former chancellor and detested by Tory Brexiteers. He insists he isn’t trying to block Brexit and points out he voted for the Withdrawal Agreement three times, unlike Boris Johnson who he says is ‘staggeringly hypocritical’. Mr Hammond argues that No Deal would cost the British economy £90 billion.
Soon after the the government was defeated in the Commons a spokesman for Mr Hammond reportedly confirmed he would have the whip removed.
He said: ‘I can confirm Philip Hammond has had the whip removed, following a phone call form the chief whip.’
Leave vote: 50 per cent
Former justice secretary David Gauke was a leader of the ‘Gaukeward Squad’ of anti-No Deal Tory rebels
Former justice secretary and leader of the ‘Gaukeward Squad’ of anti-No Deal Tory rebels. He accused Boris Johnson of a ‘purge’ for threatening to deselect and withdraw the whip from rebels. Mr Gauke also said the prime minister of trying to turn the Conservatives into the Brexit Party. The ex-cabinet minister claimed Mr Johnson actively wanted to lose the Commons showdown so he can ‘purge’ Remainers reshape it into a new hardline Eurosceptic electoral force.
Mr Gauke tweeted after the vote: ‘For the first time in 14 years as an MP I voted against the Conservative Party whip. That whip has now been withdrawn.
‘If tonight’s motion had been lost, a no-deal Brexit would have been almost inevitable. Probably not a good career move but the right choice.’
Constituency: South West Hertfordshire
Leave vote: 46 per cent
Arch Remainer and second referendum supporter who says he wants to ‘save the Tory party’ from Mr Johnson. The QC and former attorney general has been the legal brains behind much of opposition to No Deal and has been a thorn in the side of the hard Brexiteers. Today, referring to threats of deselecting rebel Tory MPs, he said: ‘I simply do not see the Conservative Party surviving in its current form if we continue behaving like this towards each other.’
When asked after the vote if the Conservatives can survive this latest crisis, Mr Grieve said it was a very dangerous moment’ for the Tory party.
He told ITV News: ‘We’ve always been a broad church party and we’ve been very tolerant, particularly of rebels. Some colleagues have been rebelling against the government for 30 years and nobody has taken the whip away from them, so this is unprecedented.
‘And it shows a ruthlessness and ideological approach to politics that doesn’t sit comfortably with our party’s success as an electoral force or force for good in our country. I think it’s a very dangerous moment for the Conservative Party and I look at the emails I’m getting from constituents and even party members saying they’ll never vote Conservative again.’
Leave vote: 49 per cent
Sir Oliver Letwin
Justine Greening represents a Remain seat in south west London and said she will stand down at the next election
Cerebral but gaffe-prone MP who was David Cameron’s policy chief and another of the brains behind the anti-No Deal alliance. He has argued that to stop No Deal MPs would have to take over the role of the government. This evening he tabled a motion that began the Commons debate on blocking a No Deal Brexit. He told the House the government has not presented any ‘viable’ alternatives to the Irish border backstop and the chances of securing a new deal are ‘slight’.
Constituency: West Dorset
Leave vote: 51 per cent
Former Education Secretary who represents a heavily Remain seat in South West London and announced yesterday she will stand down at the next election to try and extend social mobility. She confirmed that she would not stand for re-election in Putney, telling Today: ‘It’s very clear to me that my concerns about the Conservative party becoming the Brexit party, in effect, have come to pass.’
Leave vote: 28 per cent
Alistair Burt quit the government in March after joining anti-No Deal rebels
Former Foreign Office minister who quit the government in March after joining anti-No Deal rebels. He refused to rule out standing against Tories in his North-East Bedfordshire seat and today confirmed he will not stand as a Tory candidate again.
Constituency: North East Bedfordshire
Leave vote: 53 per cent
The Europhile of Europhiles, a Tory Big Beast, former Chancellor and, at 79, the longest standing MP or ‘Father of the House of Commons’. Has said he would vote to bring down a Tory government to stop No Deal and previously suggested he might stand down as MP at the next election. He opposed the 2016 Brexit referendum and was the only Tory MP to vote against triggering the Article 50 process for leaving the EU.
After the vote Ken Clarke told the BBC the Conservatives were becoming another version of the Brexit Party.
He said: ‘I’m as amused as Michael Heseltine is by being told he’s not a Conservative because he voted against the Party in the House of Lords. This is all based on this absurd argument that Boris is trying to get a deal. He’s obviously not trying to get a deal. I’m sure he’d prefer one if he thought he could get one past his right-wing supporters. But he’s dug himself in, he assumes he’s going to get No Deal. Because he can’t get the right wing of the Conservative Party, many of them now stuck in his cabinet, to agree to it. He voted for Theresa May’s deal.’
‘Of course I’m a Conservative. I’m a mainstream Conservative.’
Asked about the state of the party: ‘It’s been taken over by rather a rather knockabout sort of character, who’s got this bizarre crash-it-through philosophy, in charge, a cabinet which is the most right wing cabinet any conservative party has ever produced. They’re not in control of events.
The prime minister comes and talks total rubbish to us, and is planning to hold a quick election and get out, blaming Parliament and Europe for the shambles.’
‘I have to decide whether to vote Conservative if Boris Johnson is still the leader. That’s my next problem. I am a Conservative, of course I am. But this leader, I don’t recognise this. It’s the Brexit Party, re-badged.’
Leave vote: 41 per cent
Sir Nicholas Soames
Heavyweight backbencher and party grandee who is Sir Winston Churchill’s grandson. He compared Brexiteers to a ‘growling Alsatian that must be kicked really hard in the balls’. Mr Soames was among rebels who met the PM on Tuesday for last-ditch talks and later confirmed he would not support the government.
Appearing alongside fellow rebel Ken Clarke, Sir Nicholas Soames was asked by the BBC’s Emily Maitlis if he had been contacted by the chief whip since the vote tonight and said he would not stand in any upcoming election.
He added: ‘I’ve been told by the chief whip who is my friend and who I like very much, and he’s told me it will be his sad duty to write to me tomorrow to tell me that I’ve had the whip removed, after 37 years as a conservative member of parliament.
Winston Churchill’s grandson, Nicholas Soames, was told he would have the Conservative whip withdrawn after he voted to block a No Deal Brexit
‘I’ve voted against the government three times in 37 years and I’ve had the whip removed. You know, that’s fortunes of war what I was doing and I just believe they’re not playing straight with us. To say you want a deal is quite different to saying you want a deal that’s achievable, and what he [Boris Johnson] wants is not achievable.
‘I’m quite sure he wants a deal, but what he wants is unachievable. And it’s not possible, it’s not on offer, and he won’t get the deal he wants.
‘I think they planned, personally, all along to have an early general election and to get this out of the way and get a new Parliament.’
She then asked what he will do if a new election is called imminently, he replied: ‘I actually won’t stand, I’m not going to stand.’
On whether any Tory MPs who rebelled tonight might choose not to vote against the government tomorrow, Mr Soames added: ‘No one is going to peel away from tonight’s result.’
‘It’s a pity, in my view a great pity, that this has in my view all been planned. I think it’s been planned, this is exactly what they wanted, they’ve got it, and they’re going to announce tomorrow that they’re going to organise to have a General Election.’
Constituency: Mid Sussex
Leave vote: 46 per cent
Former defence minister who quit to stop No Deal and announced he is standing down at the next election. He has accused his party of ‘appealing to the type of nationalism that has seen UKIP grow in the past, and the Brexit Party now’. Previously Mr Bebb said a vote against No Deal is ‘truer to Conservative tradition than anyone who traipses through the lobbies out of fear, opportunism or simply unthinking loyalty’.
Following the vote Mr Bebb confirmed he was told he would be losing the Conservative whip as a result of voting with the Opposition.
He blamed Boris Johnson’s defeat on his decision to suspend parliament and accused the prime minister of not genuinely trying to get a deal with the EU.
He told the BBC: ‘Frankly it’s rather hypocritical of the prime minster who consistently voted against the previous Conservative prime minster, to take this action against people who voted against him.
‘None of this would have happened if it wasn’t for the way in which Number 10 and the prime minster have mishandled this whole issue since the decision to announce the prorogation or suspension of parliament.
Ken Clarke (left) said he would vote to bring down a Tory government to stop No Deal and previously suggested he might stand down as MP at the next election. Guto Bebb (right) did quit to stop No Deal and announced he is standing down
‘That decision persuaded people he [Boris Johnson] was not serious about getting a deal with the EU. People were willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, people were willing to allow him to try and get a deal with the European Union. His decision to prorogue parliament on the advice of Dominic Cummings has misfired spectacularly.
‘The Conservatives who rebelled simply didn’t believe the prime minster, he cancelled the meeting yesterday with those who were thinking of rebelling. All they wanted was some assurances from the prime minster that he was really trying to get a deal.
‘This prime minster is not trying to negotiate a deal. He tried to give the impression of negotiating a deal and I’m afraid that the lack of trust that people have in Boris Johnson has resulted in this defeat this evening.’
Leave vote: 52 per cent
Antoinette Sandbach branded Boris Johnson ‘staggeringly hypocritical’ for threatening to deselect Tory rebels
The 6’4′ MP for Eddisbury and longstanding Remainer rebel branded Mr Johnson ‘staggeringly hypocritical’ for threatening to deselect rebels. She also said it was ‘important to act’ to stop any chance of no deal and she would put her constituents’ interests ahead of her own.
Antoinette Sandbach tweeted this evening: ‘I am elected to act in what I believe is in the best interests of my constituents. I have had the whip taken away from me. However there are critical times when you have to do what is right, no matter what the personal consequences. It is hard I won’t pretend it isn’t.
Leave vote: 52 per cent
Former Tory leadership contestant, Rory Stewart said claims No Deal Brexit would be a ‘clean and easy break’ from the EU were disingenuous
Eccentric former development secretary who ran an enthusiastic, if futile, leadership bid, he has been described as a Tory Remainer pin-up. As well as posting social media clips of his meetings with the public, the ex-cabinet member released a video confirming he would vote against the government and explained his reasons. Mr Stewart said claims No Deal Brexit would be a ‘clean and easy break’ from the EU were disingenuous as it would lead to years of economic and political uncertainty.
After the vote he tweeted: ‘Strange that a decision has been made to remove the whip from so many colleagues who were ministers so recently. Particularly when we voted repeatedly for a Brexit deal. I can’t think of a historical precedent. But I am not stepping down as an MP.’
Constituency: Penrith and the Border
Leave vote: 55 per cent
From 2010 to 2016 he served as Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, with responsibilities in the Departments for Culture, Media and Sport. After leaving the government he warned against leaving European Atomic Energy Community, Euratom as it protected the nuclear power industry and helped scientific research in Britain.
Leave vote: 46 per cent
Self-made millionaire who resigned as culture minister after rebelling against Theresa May to stop No Deal. The former digital minister has been highly critical of No Deal on social media and backed Mr Gauke’s attempts to block the UK crashing out of the EU on October 31.
Leave vote: 64 per cent
Margot James resigned as culture minister after rebelling against Theresa May to stop No Deal
Former Transport minister and MP for heavily Remain constituency of the Wimbledon seat in south west London who is under threat from Lib Dems. He has accused Tory Brexiteers of ‘lecturing others’ about loyalty. He told the BBC he would ‘reluctantly’ vote against the government.
Leave vote: 29 per cent
Ex-business minister and perennial would-be resigner. He has rebelled over Brexit before but finally quit earlier this year to stop No Deal and last week announced he would stand down as a Tory MP at the next election.
Leave vote: 51 per cent
Stephen Hammond (left) said he would ‘reluctantly’ vote against the government. Richard Harrington (right) quit earlier this year to stop No Deal and last week announced he would stand down as a Tory MP at the next election
Former immigration minister was sacked by Boris Johnson and said yesterday her constituents ‘mean a whole lot more to me than keeping the Conservative whip’. She also added that she believes her constituents would be worse off under a No Deal Brexit and their futures mattered more than her own as a Conservative MP.
Leave vote: 46 per cent
Sam Gyimah quit as science minister under Theresa May in protest at her ‘naive’ Brexit deal
Quit as science minister under Theresa May in protest at her ‘naive’ Brexit deal and backed a second referendum. The former universities minister said there was ‘no mandate’ for No Deal and claimed it would be ‘damaging and disruptive’ for his constituents. Mr Gyimah said it is ‘extreme’ to deselect opponents of No Deal.
Mr Gyimah tweeted after the vote this evening: ‘Today I voted against the government in order to a stop no deal Brexit. I along with 20 colleagues have had the Conservative Whip removed. I will continue to fight for the interests of my constituents as their MP.’
Speaking after the crunch Common debate, the former universities minister called for a second referendum.
He added: ‘Tonight, MPs who believe in the national interest have stood up to strike a first crucial blow to defend democracy.
‘It means Boris Johnson will find it harder to bypass Parliament to impose his undemocratic Brexit on the British people.
‘No-one believes the government is serious about negotiating a deal. No-one trusts Boris Johnson over the date of the election or his motives for trying to call one now. The only legitimate way to solve this Brexit crisis is not to trust Boris Johnson but to trust the people in a final say referendum.’
Constituency: East Surrey
Leave vote: 54 per cent
Previously serving as Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy from 2016 to 24 July 2019 he said he would resign if the UK pursued a No Deal Brexit.
After the vote hr tweeted: ‘As a former Business Secretary I know the harm that an abrupt no deal Brexit would do to our country and to my constituents. Parliament must be able to prevent that harm. So I voted for the legislation tonight, fully aware of the personal consequences.’
Constituency: Tunbridge Wells
Leave vote: 45 per cent
Spiky-haired Guildford MP who rose through the ranks under David Cameron and Theresa May. She is the rebels’ unofficial whip and has kept a low profile since quitting as a minister in July. However she attended a meeting with other potential rebels in Westminster earlier today.
Leave vote: 41 per cent
Anne Milton (left) quit as a minister in July and Caroline Nokes (right) was sacked by Boris Johnson, saying her constituents ‘mean a whole lot more to me than keeping the Conservative whip’
Steve Brine served as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health from 2017 to 2019, but resigned from the Government on March 25 to vote against the government’s policy on Brexit. He previously worked on BBC local radio and has joined Friends of the Earth.
Constituency: Winchester and Chandler’s Ford
Leave vote: 40 per cent
A former soldier who graduated from Sandhurst where he served in Northern Ireland and the Far East, Mr Benyon was a Parliamentary Under-Secretary Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. In government under David Cameron, he worked as Wildlife Minister at DEFRA from May 2010 to October 2013.
Leave vote: 48 per cent