21 Tory MPs face expulsion

Election edges nearer as MPs vote to take control of Commons

Appeal: Boris Johnson called for rebels to reject motion

Boris Johnson’s premiership hung by a thread tonight as MPs voted to take control of Commons business.

The motion was supported by 328 votes to 301, a majority of 27. A vote will take place on Wednesday on a bill to block a No-Deal Brexit.

Mr Johnson, who lost his first vote at PM, indicated that he would call a General Election, probably to be held on 14 October.

He said the vote would lead to more dither and confusion and the EU would be left to decide Britain’s future.

It is now likely that 21 Tory MPs, including some of the party’s big-hitters such as former Chancellor Philip Hammond and father of the house Ken Clarke, will be kicked out of the party. One of those facing expulsion, Guto Bebb, said the rebellion was triggered by Mr Johnson’s decision to prorogue [suspend] parliament, showing that he was not serious about negotiating a deal with the EU.

“That decision has backfired spectacularly,” said Mr Bebb.

Philip Hammond

Philip Hammond: Chancellor a few weeks ago, now being expelled from the party

Chancellor Sajid Javid will press ahead with the spending review and on Wednesday will announce an extra £2 billion for Brexit-related spending by government departments. It will bring the total funding for Brexit preparations to £8.3bn since the 2016 referendum decision to leave the EU.

Sterling fell as low as $1.1959 earlier on Tuesday, sliding by about 1% before rallying after the vote to trade at around the same level it began the day, at about $1.2084.

Earlier the Prime Minister lost his majority in the Commons when Tory MP Philip Lee crossed the floor during the Prime Minister’s statement.

Dr Lee defected to the Lib Dems saying the party he joined was not the party he was leaving and that he could no longer serve his constituents as a Tory MP.

He accused the government of being guilty of political manipulation, bullying and lies.

Philip Lee seated next to Jo Swinson

As Tory divisions were exposed during an explosive Commons debate, the Prime Minister accused the former chancellor Mr Hammond of ‘handing power to a Junta including Jeremy Corbyn’ by backing the anti-No Deal legislation.  

The rebels have insisted they would not back down despite warnings of deselection and Mr Johnson’s threat to call a snap election.

Scotland’s First Minister and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, tweeted: “Very good result in the Commons tonight (has a PM ever before lost his/her first Commons vote?). Next step now is to get the ‘no deal’ threat off the table by passing the Bill being introduced tomorrow…and then let’s have a General Election.”

[Answer to her question: Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, the third Marquess of Salisbury, lost his first House of Commons vote in 1896]

The SNP said Scottish Tory MPs could be booted out at the next election – after a “shameful and risible” failure to stand up for Scotland and vote against an extreme Brexit.

Kirsty Blackman MP said Scottish Tory MPs had “failed to lift a finger” to protect Scotland’s interests – after every single Scottish Tory MP tonight voted against an emergency motion to block Boris Johnson from imposing a no-deal Brexit. 

The SNP’s Deputy Westminster Leader said while SNP MPs had consistently voted to stop Brexit and block a no-deal, Scottish Tory MPs had voted for it on every occasion – including at least seventeen times this year.

Scotland voted overwhelmingly by 62% to remain in the EU, and polls show a majority of people support holding a fresh independence referendum. At the European elections in May, the Tories recorded their worst ever result in Scotland falling into fourth place on just 11% of the vote.  

Ms Blackman MP said: “It is shameful and risible that not a single Scottish Tory MP could bring themselves to stand up for Scotland and vote against an extreme Brexit – even at this critical moment for our country. 

“Boris Johnson’s reckless plans would be devastating for Scotland – costing up to 100,000 jobs and inflicting lasting harm on living standards, public services and the economy.

“The SNP has consistently voted to stop Brexit and prevent a no-deal disaster. When cross-party MPs, and even former Tory cabinet ministers, were willing to vote against an extreme Brexit – it is absurd that Scottish Tory MPs have failed to lift a finger to protect Scotland’s interests.

“It’s no wonder the Tories are tanking in the polls and recording their worst ever election results, when they have completely ignored Scotland’s decision to remain in the EU – and are shamelessly putting their own careers ahead of the jobs and livelihoods of their constituents.

“At the next election, the people of Scotland will get the chance to give Scottish Tory MPs the sack and replace them with SNP MPs that will oppose Brexit and always stand up for Scotland.”

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