BORIS Johnson swiftly sacked TWENTY ONE Tory rebels last night after a historic vote to block No Deal plunged Westminster into chaos.
In an unprecedented show of strength, the PM ordered the whip be removed from a list of high-profile MPs – including Sir Nicholas Soames, grandson of Sir Winston Churchill.
His no-nonsense cull of turncoat Tory defectors came after the Government lost the first round of a 48-hour Brexit battle against a hardline Remainer alliance.
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."
Also among the expelled rebels is ex-Chancellor Philip Hammond, Tory grandee Ken Clarke, David Gauke and former leadership candidate Rory Stewart.
It marks the deepest division in the Conservative Party for 30 years as the 21 Conservative MPs, including NINE former Cabinet ministers, ignored Boris Johnson’s pleas and sided with Labour to seize control of Parliament’s agenda today.
Rebel MPs pulled off an extraordinary coup to allow a block on Brexit until next year with a vote of 328 to 301.
The cross-party majority of 27 will now use their time in Parliament today it to ram a new law through the Commons in four hours.
It will force the PM to extend Brexit talks as well as Britain’s EU membership for a third time until January 31.
The alliance insisted the move was vital to halt the threat of a “calamitous” No Deal exit in just eight weeks’ time.
But in tense Commons scenes yesterday, Mr Johnson described the move as “Corbyn’s surrender bill” and insisted it would rip up his chance to win a better deal.
He said: “It means running up the white flag.”
There are no circumstances in which I will ever accept anything like it
REBELS BOOTED OUT
Dominic Grieve, Oliver Letwin were also among the deselected Tory MPs – alongside Greg Clark, Stephen Hammond, and Eddisbury MP Antoinette Sandbach.
Other rebels include Steve Brine, Ed Vaizey, Caroline Nokes, Guto Bebb, Sam Gyimah, Margot James, Richard Benyon and Anne Milton.
Three Tories — Justine Greening, Sir Alistair Burt and Keith Simpson — earlier revealed they would be stepping down at the next election.
Taking the whip off the group means they can’t stand again in an election as a Conservative candidate – effectively ending their political careers.
DEFECTION TO LIB DEMS
And in dramatic scenes, Tory MP Phillip Lee crossed to floor of the commons to defect to the Liberal Democrats.
He timed his move to inflict maximum damage to the PM – who had just stood to speak at the dispatch box.
After 27 years as a Tory, Mr Lee said: "The Party I joined in 1992 is not the Party I am leaving today".
The defection rubbed out the PM’s wafer-thin majority of just one, making a General Election all but certain within weeks.
The PM last night demanded a snap election – probably on October 15 – to let voters decide whether Britain should leave the EU on October 31 as scheduled.
He will bank his premiership and the future of Brexit on hopes of an election landslide to pack parliament with fervent Brexit-backers.
Mr Johnson told MPs: “The Leader of the Opposition has been begging for an election for two years — he has crowds of supporters outside calling for an election.
“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.
“And I can confirm that we are tonight tabling a motion under the Fixed Terms Parliament Act.”
It came at the end of a drama-filled day in Westminster in which:
- Boris Johnson’s wafer-thin working Commons majority was slashed to zero as Tory rebel Phillip Lee defected to the Lib Dems
- The 21 Tory rebels were all thrown out of the Conservative parliamentary party
- Philip Hammond led the coup over his arch-rival Boris – and was accused by No10 aides of “interrupting” the PM and “chuntering”
- Speaker John Bercow was blasted for using Michael Gove's children in a scathing personal attack on the MP
- Jeremy Corbyn said his MPs will refuse to back Mr Johnson’s election bid unless he agrees to the law to stop a No Deal Brexit
- The PM revealed his plan to break the Irish backstop deadlock — proposing an “all-Ireland” market for livestock and agriculture
As the result of last night’s vote was declared just after 10pm, one MP heckled the new PM by yelling: “Not a good start, Boris.”
It was the first time a PM lost his first vote since the Earl of Rosebery in 1894 – 125 years ago.
The margin of victory — a majority of 27 against the Government — mirrored the Referendum, 52 per cent to 48.
Sources claimed Tory chiefs had made desperate last ditch efforts to persuade MPs Margot James and Caroline Nokes not to rebel.
But ex-Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said he was compelled to vote to stop No Deal because of Ken Clarke.
He added: “When you hear speeches like that you know you’re on the right side.”
Named: The 21 Tory rebels who votes against the Government last night
- Kenneth Clarke: The veteran MP for Rushcliffe since 1970, a former chancellor, home secretary, justice secretary, health secretary and education secretary and the Father of the House.
- Philip Hammond: Theresa May's chancellor until July, and previously foreign secretary, defence secretary, transport secretary. MP for Runnymede and Weybridge, he promised the"fight of a lifetime" if the leadership tried to block him from standing as the Tory candidate at the next election.
- David Gauke: He was justice secretary under Mrs May, and previously held Cabinet roles as work and pensions secretary and Treasury chief secretary. MP for South West Hertfordshire.
- Greg Clark: MP for Tunbridge Wells, he served in the Cabinet under Mrs May and David Cameron as communities secretary and then business secretary.
- Sir Oliver Letwin: MP for West Dorset, one of the leading figures in the rebel group. He played key roles in the Cameron government as Cabinet Office minister and chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.
- Justine Greening: Putney MP, former education secretary, international development secretary and transport secretary. She told the PA news agency: "For me no-deal was always the most profoundly un-Conservative policy you could possibly have."
- Dominic Grieve: Beaconsfield MP and former attorney general. The legal brain a series of rebel moves to block a no-deal Brexit.
- Rory Stewart: Penrith and The Border MP and former international development secretary. Stood against Mr Johnson in the Tory leadership race.
- Sir Nicholas Soames: MP for Crawley from 1983 to 1997 and for Mid Sussex since then. Grandson of Winston Churchill, former defence minister and shadow defence secretary.
- Alistair Burt: North East Bedfordshire MP, well-respected former Foreign Office minister. Told PA it was a "policy of insanity" to strip the whip from so many senior Conservatives.
- Sam Gyimah: East Surrey MP, former education minister. He told PA: "I've enjoyed being a Conservative member of Parliament but voting to stop a no-deal was the right thing to do."
- Stephen Hammond: Wimbledon MP, former health minister.
- Guto Bebb: Aberconwy MP, former defence minister.
- Richard Benyon: Newbury MP, former minister in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
- Steve Brine: Winchester MP, former junior health minister.
- Richard Harrington: Watford MP, held a series of junior ministerial roles, most recently in the Business Department.
- Margot James: Stourbridge MP, former digital policy minister.
- Anne Milton: Guildford MP, former minister for women and education minister.
- Caroline Nokes: MP for Romsey and Southampton North, was immigration minister in Mrs May's government.
- Antoinette Sandbach: Eddisbury MP, the only one of the rebels not to have held a frontbench position.
- Edward Vaizey: Wantage MP, culture minister under Mr Cameron.
POWER OF PERSUASION
Government whips managed to buy off a handful of rebels by arm – twisting or inducement offers – including suggestions of peerages.
Mr Johnson also called rebels to his Downing Street study for more than an hour of talks yesterday morning.
There, he pleaded with them to delay their action until after the crunch EU summit on October 17.
He said it would be “ruinous” to his effort to persuade EU leaders to take the backstop from the Withdrawal Agreement.
Boris spoke to at least five former Cabinet ministers – including Ken Clarke as well as Mr Hammond and Sir Nicholas.
The Sun can reveal that Mr Johnson made a massive personal effort to persuade his old friend and Sussex MP grandee not to rebel, including a 20-minute phone call to him on Monday night.
But Sir Nicholas told The Sun just ahead of the vote that he had decided to defy Boris “with a very heavy heart”.
He added: “I don’t doubt Boris wants to get a deal, but I do not believe he has the means to will the end.
"His demands are unreal and I cannot condone No Deal.”
'£1BN A MONTH' TO STAY
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab also warned that extending EU membership beyond October 31 will cost taxpayers £1billion a month.
But most rebels held firm and, even before the vote, Tory Chief Whip Mark Spencer had begun to carry out Mr Johnson’s threat to expel them, calling each in one by one.
Last night, No10 confirmed they were stripped of the party whip and also banned from standing as a Tory MP again.
The PM’s aide Dominic Cummings also confronted Mr Corbyn in crazed scenes in the Commons.
He reportedly shouted in his face before the Labour leader was bundled away: “Come on Jeremy, let’s do this election. Don’t be scared.”
THE SUN SAYS: It's a Remainer coup – and voters are watching with revulsion
THE Remainer coup — to seize power and stop the biggest ballot box mandate in British history from being enacted — is now fully and shamefully under way.
The chaos, division and damage this could unleash is incalculable.
We are repulsed by the self-satisfaction and sickening disregard for our democracy of those behind it: Marxist Labour, the Lib Dems, deluded Tory “rebels”, grandstanding ex-Tory defectors.
Last week our streets were blocked by idiotic Europhile protesters, with zero sense of proportion or grasp of history, witlessly branding Boris Johnson a “dictator” orchestrating “a coup”. He must be the first dictator defeated within days by a Parliamentary majority.
But how can the Remainer antics be called anything but a coup?
When MPs who once vowed to honour the referendum result vote instead to proceed with a dodgy Bill, enabled by their puppet Speaker, surrendering power to the EU to determine a delay of its choosing — to be rubber-stamped by our Remainer-dominated Parliament.
Will three months suit Brussels? Six, maybe? How about ten years?
Remainers will, have no doubt, sign off whatever the EU decides.
They have no plan, beyond the second referendum some want. As for the Brexit majority, the 17.4million little people who voted Leave, they don’t count. Westminster Remoaners despise them.
Yesterday the PM lost his Commons majority as self-aggrandising turncoat Phillip Lee threw in his lot with the Lib Dems. What choice does Boris have but to trigger an election? He cannot govern. Remainers have forced him into it.
Yet Labour, incredibly, have bottled it, hiding their yellow cowardice behind a convoluted conspiracy theory. What an unprincipled joke of a party they are.
We will not mourn the disloyal Tories now being purged as Boris threatened. What did they expect?
What gives failed ex-Chancellor Philip Hammond a divine right to be a Tory after blowing up the Government’s central policy? His career deserves to end in treacherous disgrace.
Voters are watching with revulsion.
Soon, we hope, they will take ballot box revenge on those responsible.
HISTORIC TORY SPLIT
Earlier, senior Tories traded insults in the heated three-hour Commons debate.
Ex-Tory minister and rebel chief Sir Oliver Letwin, who wrote the bill, attacked Mr Johnson directly.
He said: “The Prime Minister is much in the position of someone on one side of a canyon shouting to the people on the other side of the canyon that, unless they do as he says, he will throw himself into the abyss.
"This does not strike me as a credible negotiating strategy.”
Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg accused Sir Oliver of “stunning arrogance”.
He also attacked Speaker John Bercow for allowing the emergency debate to take place.
Mr Bercow replied by paraphrasing Mr Johnson’s Tory leadership election catchphrase.
He said: “I am facilitating the legislature and I will do it to the best of my ability, without fear or favour, to coin a phrase — come what may, do or die.”
Other loyal Tories angrily hit out at Mr Johnson’s expulsion threat.
Former de facto Deputy PM Damian Green dubbed the crackdown “foolish in the extreme”.
He added: “The threat of deselection used to be the preserve of the hard left of the Labour party.
"Think it should stay there.”
Former Tory defence minister Tobias Ellwood added: “A party which threatens to remove Churchill’s grandson should check its tactics.”
BATTLE RAGES ON
The defeat ignited an intense pitched parliamentary battle that will now rage for the rest of the week.
In the Commons, it emerged last night that 17 pro-Brexit Labour MPs will tomorrow demand Theresa May’s deal is voted on a FOURTH time in a bed to escape the chaos.
The MPs, including Gloria de Piero and Stephen Kinnock, will table an amendment to the rebel bill.
And in the Lords, Boris’s backers are preparing to do their all to talk out the bill by tabling a massive 90 amendments to it, which each must be voted on twice.
To retaliate, Remainer peers are expected to demands an emergency sitting over the weekend to ensure they pass the new law before Boris suspends Parliament on Monday.
Deadlock Breaker – Plan for all-Ireland market for livestock and agriculture to remove backstop trap
BORIS Johnson last night revealed his plan to break the Brexit deadlock — agreeing an all-Ireland market for livestock and agriculture.
During a bitter Commons debate, the PM said he was ready to propose an alternative to the backstop.
Under the plan, Northern Ireland would match Irish and EU rules in certain sectors after Brexit to avoid the need for a hard border.
The idea emerged ahead of talks with Irish PM Leo Varadkar next week.
It mimics a compromise European capitals were brainstorming — where the North would mirror Brussels on animal and plant health.
It threatens to enrage Ulster Unionists by, in effect, putting a border down the Irish Sea between the Britain and Northern Ireland.
But senior DUP sources hinted they could back it, as long as Belfast’s Stormont Assembly has a veto on which future EU rules Northern Ireland accepts.
The PM has repeatedly told the EU there is no chance of a deal unless the backstop — which is bitterly opposed by Brexiteers — is killed off.
The backstop is designed to avoid a hard border on Ireland by tying the UK to EU customs rules unless a new trade agreement is signed.
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