LONDON (REUTERS) - 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 will be expelled from the party, a spokesman said.
“The chief whip is speaking to those Tory (Conservative) MPs (members of parliament) who did not vote with the government this evening. They will have the Tory whip removed,” the spokesman from Johnson’s office said on Tuesday (Sept 3).
The group includes former finance minister Philip Hammond and Nicholas Soames, the grandson of former prime minister Winston Churchill.
When Soames was asked if this was the end of the Conservative Party his grandfather would have known, he said:“No. But it’s 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 he took office as prime minister six weeks ago, Johnson has been ruthless: He oversaw one of the biggest purges of cabinet ministers in modern British history and has cut short a session of parliament to increase the likelihood Britain will leave the EU, with or without a deal.
After a defeat at the hands of an alliance of opposition lawmakers and rebels in his own party, Johnson’s enforcers will speak to those who defied his order and expel them, a Downing Street spokesman said.
In total, lawmakers with more 330 years experience in parliament will be expelled from Johnson’s party – the same party which lost its working majority on Tuesday.
“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,” Soames said.
“That’s fortunes of war. I knew what I was doing.”
Soames, 71, who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 2014, has been a member of parliament since 1983 and previously served as a junior defence minister. He is the son of Mary Soames, the youngest of Churchill’s five children.
The 21 lawmakers are as follows: Guto Bebb, Alistair Burt, David Gauke, Sam Gyimah, Richard Harrington, Anne Milton, Nicholas Soames, Richard Benyon, Greg Clark, Justine Greening, Philip Hammond, Margot James, Caroline Nokes, Rory Stewart, Steve Brine, Kenneth Clarke, Dominic Grieve, Stephen Hammond, Oliver Letwin, Antoinette Sandbach, and Edward Vaizey.