It was a “bloodbath of the Remainers” after Mr Johnson swiftly ordered the whip to be removed from a list of MPs including political grandee Kenneth Clarke, a Commons veteran of nearly five decades, former Chancellor Philip Hammond and Sir Nicholas Soames, grandson of Winston Churchill. Mr Johnson’s historic purge means if an election is triggered within the next few days, the Tory rebels will lose their right to stand as a Conservative candidate.
The cull comes after extraordinary scenes in the House of Commons last night where rebels voted to back a motion, supported by Jeremy Corbyn, to take control of Westminster business in an attempt to halt a no deal Brexit.
The Government lost by 328 to 301.
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.”
But Express.co.uk is asking you was Mr Johnson right to sack the 21 Tory rebels who wrestled control of the Commons agenda to block a no deal Brexit?
Brexit news: Boris Johnson has sacked 21 Tory rebels
The Tory rebels who found themselves politically homeless were: Ken Clark, Alistair Burt, Stephen Hammond, Philip Hammond, Richard Harrington, Margot James, Ken Clarke and Caroline Nokes, Anne Milton, David Gauke, Greg Clark, Richard Harrington, Guto Bebb, Nicholas Soames, Antoinette Sandbach, Rory Stewart, Sam Gyimah and Justine Greening, Richard Benyon, Steve Brine, Dominic Grieve, Ed Vaizey, Nicholas Soames and Oliver Letwin.
Former international development secretary Rory Stewart this morning told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme how he was sacked from the Conservative Party by text message.
Mr Stewart said the decision on who should be a Tory candidate should rest with local associations.
The former leadership candidate said: “This really should be a choice for local Conservative associations and not a central decision.
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“This is not a Conservative way of behaving.”
After his sacking, Mr Clarke said he was still a conservative but he had reservations about the party under Boris Johnson’s leadership.
He told BBC’s Newsnight: “I don’t recognise this. It’s the Brexit Party, rebadged.
“It’s been taken over by a rather knockabout sort of character, who’s got this bizarre crash-it-through philosophy, a Cabinet which is the most right-wing Cabinet any Conservative Party has ever produced.”
Mr Hammond on Tuesday warned there would “certainly be the fight of a lifetime” if Conservative HQ tried to bar him from standing as a candidate.
Asked if they have the power to oust him, he replied: “I don’t believe they do. And there would certainly be the fight of a lifetime if they tried to.”
Quizzed over that meant taking legal action he told the BBC: “Possibly”.
The Prime Minister said he will push for a snap general election on October 15 if the rebels vote against no deal today.
Brexit news: Britain is due to leave the EU on October 31
He tweeted this morning: “With rebels uniting behind the draft law, which was revealed by Labour MP Hilary Benn on Monday, Mr Johnson faced defeat in the Commons.”
The Prime Minister had sought to scare off a rebellion by warning he would push for a snap general election if MPs succeed in their bid to seize control of parliamentary proceedings.
His warning comes after his Commons majority was slashed to zero after Tory rebel Phillip Lee defected to the Lib Dems.
He told parliament after the vote: “I don’t want an election, but if MPs vote tomorrow to stop negotiations and compel another pointless delay to Brexit, potentially for years, then that would be the only way to resolve this.
“I can confirm that we are tonight tabling a motion under the Fixed Term Parliament Act.”
But Labour’s Keir Starmer this morning confirmed his party would vote down Mr Johnson’s push for a general election.
Mr Johnson needs two-thirds of all MPs in the Commons, 434 of them, to vote in favour of a general election.
But the shadow Brexit Secretary confirmed the party will not vote in favour.
More than three years after the UK voted in a referendum to leave the EU, the defeat leaves the course of Brexit unresolved, with possible outcomes still ranging from a no deal exit to abandoning the whole vote altogether.
The Remainers victory is the first hurdle for rebels who will on Wednesday seek to pass a law forcing Mr Johnson to ask the EU to delay Brexit until January 31 unless he has a deal approved by parliament beforehand on the terms and manner of the exit.
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