Winston Churchill’s grandson to be expelled from Tory Party for voting against Boris Johnson

Nicholas Soames loses the whip after 37 years as an MP 

Rebecca Tan
Wednesday 04 September 2019 10:30
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MPs debate brexit bill

In 1939 when England declared war against Germany, Winston Churchill was invited back from political exile to serve as a first lord of the admiralty and later prime minister in the war against Adolf Hitler.

Eighty years later to the day, his grandson said he would be expelled from the Conservative Party for voting against Boris Johnson, the embattled prime minister, on Brexit.

Nicholas Soames, a member of parliament representing Mid Sussex, was among the group of 21 Conservative politicians who defied Mr Johnson’s wishes by voting for a motion that paves the way for Brexit to be delayed till 2020.

Hours after the vote, a representative of 10 Downing Street said Conservative MPs who did not support the prime minister “will have the Tory whip removed”, The Financial Times reported.

This means they would not be allowed to stand as Conservative representatives in parliament.

Mr Soames, 71, confirmed this in an interview with the BBC’s Newsnight.

“I have been told by the Chief Whip ... that it will be his sad duty to write me tomorrow to tell me that I have had the whip removed,” said Mr Soames, adding that in his 37 years as a Conservative member, he has voted against the party three times.

In the wake of the vote, Mr Soames said he does not plan to stand for Parliament in the coming general election.

“That’s fortunes of war,” Mr Soames said. “I knew what I was doing.”

Other high-profile politicians who will be booted out of the party include former chancellors of the exchequer or treasury secretaries, Philip Hammond and Ken Clarke, who have both served as Conservative MPs for decades.

The expulsion of Mr Soames marks a dramatic development in the increasingly fraught debate over Mr Johnson’s “do-or-die” plan to leave the European Union by 31 October, regardless of whether there is a plan on the table.

Without the 21 rebel MPs, the prime minister’s Conservative Party has lost its voting majority in parliament. Mr Johnson has called for a general election, which will be discussed Wednesday.

“It is a pity – a great pity – that this has in my view all been planned,” Mr Soames told the BBC. “This is exactly what they wanted and they will try to have a general election which is what they wanted.”

Pundits point out that the expulsion of Mr Soames is an ironic turning point for Mr Johnson, who has unabashedly stated his admiration for Churchill throughout his political career.

Jeremy Corbyn says Labour will back an election once a no-deal Brexit is ruled out in law

“When I was growing up there was no doubt about it. Churchill was quite the greatest statesman that Britain had ever produced,” Mr Johnson wrote in an affectionate biography of the prime minister in 2014. Johnson’s opponents want to avert Britain from leaving the EU without an agreement in place to regulate trade, border security and other critical issues,” Kevin Sullivan and Karla Adams from The Washington Post have reported.

“Analysts say a so-called no-deal Brexit could be economically damaging and lead to food and medicine shortages. Johnson has dismissed those predictions as fearmongering.

“Johnson also said that any delay from the 31 October deadline would disrupt progress on negotiations with the European Union over an exit deal. And he said it would undercut the government’s negotiating position.”

The Washington Post

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