LONDON • All 21 lawmakers from the ruling Conservative Party who voted against the government to back a motion to seize control of parliamentary time to try to block a no-deal Brexit have been expelled from the party.
The group includes former finance minister Philip Hammond and Mr Nicholas Soames, the grandson of former prime minister Winston Churchill.
When Mr Soames was asked if this was the end of the Conservative Party his grandfather would have known, he said: "No. But it is a bad night.
"It is a pity - a great pity - that this has, in my view, all been planned. This is exactly what they wanted, and they will try to have a general election, which is what they wanted."
Since Mr Boris Johnson took office as prime minister six weeks ago, he has overseen one of the biggest purges of Cabinet ministers in modern British history and has cut short a session of Parliament to increase the likelihood that Britain will leave the European Union, with or without a deal.
After the defeat at the hands of an alliance of opposition lawmakers and rebels in his own party, a Downing Street spokesman said on Tuesday night that Mr Johnson's enforcers would speak to those who defied his order and would expel them.
In total, lawmakers with more 330 years of experience in Parliament will be expelled from Mr Johnson's party - the same party which lost its working majority on Tuesday after a Tory MP defected to the Liberal Democrats.
Mr Soames said: "I have been told by the chief whip, who is my friend and who I like very much, that it will be his sad duty to write to me tomorrow to tell me I have had the whip removed after 37 years as a Conservative Member of Parliament.
"Those are the fortunes of war. I knew what I was doing."
Mr Soames, 71, who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2014, has been an MP since 1983 and previously served as a junior defence minister. He is the son of Mrs Mary Soames, the youngest of Mr Churchill's five children.
Ms Ruth Davidson, who quit as the Conservative leader in Scotland last week, wrote on Twitter: "How, in the name of all that is good and holy, is there no longer room in the Conservative Party for @NSoames?"
Other lawmakers who were expelled from the Conservative Party include Mr David Gauke, Mr Rory Stewart, Mr Dominic Grieve and Mr Oliver Letwin.
Mr Johnson, who cast the rebellion as an attempt to surrender to the EU, vowed never to delay Brexit beyond Oct 31, and said the country needed an election.
The government had scheduled a vote on an election to take place yesterday at about 7pm London time (2am Singapore time today).