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Tory purge begins? Hammond among Brexit rebel MPs thrown out of Conservative party

Tory purge begins? Hammond among Brexit rebel MPs thrown out of Conservative party
British PM Boris Johnson appears to be purging his party after losing a no-deal Brexit vote in the House of Commons. Former Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond is the first on the chopping block.

Hammond was one of the 21 Tories who voted in favor of the motion, put forth by Sir Oliver Letwin and Labour MP Hilary Benn on Tuesday evening, to debate an extension of Brexit to January 31 and take the no-deal option off the table. Johnson threatened them all with expulsion from the party, and appears to be making good on that threat.

All 21 “rebels” have been thrown out of the Conservative Party, the BBC reported citing sources inside the government on Tuesday evening. This includes Hammond, Ken Clarke, Greg Clark, David Gauke, Justine Greening, and Nicholas Soames, among others.

Soames, grandson of Winston Churchill, said he will not stand in the upcoming snap election, after being expelled from the party he represented for 37 years. He has been MP for Mid Sussex since 1997, and the MP for Crowley for nearly 14 years before that.

The House of Commons voted to take up debate on the Letwin-Benn motion by 328 votes to 301. Johnson responded by saying he would call for a snap election if the Commons approved the motion on Wednesday.

Also on rt.com UK MPs seize control of parliament to try & block a no-deal Brexit

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he would agree to a snap election, but only if the no-deal Brexit was taken off the table. With the purge of Conservative MPs, Johnson may lack the votes to proceed without Corbyn’s approval.

Johnson became PM in July, after his predecessor Theresa May resigned due to her inability to deliver a negotiated Brexit from the European Union. Implementing the result of the 2016 referendum, in which Britons unexpectedly voted to leave the EU by a slim margin, has divided the country, with the faction preferring to remain seeking any avenue to reverse the outcome. 

Johnson has argued that offering an extension would give Brussels the leverage in Brexit talks, and that keeping a no-deal option on the table was vital to negotiating a reasonable departure. He has previously said that Britain would leave the EU by October 31, whether a deal was reached or not.

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