October 29, 2019
Boris Johnson has allowed ten rebel MPs - including Sir Winston Churchill’s grandson - back into the Tory party as a reward for supporting the government.
Johnson Readmits Ten MPs To Tory Party But Hammond And Other Brexit Rebels Barred
The prime minister met the clutch of backbenchers in his Commons office to inform them he was restoring the Conservative whip to them.
A total of 21 MPs were booted out of the party last month after they supported a plan to take control of the Commons timetable to pass legislation to block a no-deal Brexit.But in a bid to heal divisions in the party, Johnson met some of them to thank them for complying with whips’ instructions since their rebellion.
Sir Nicholas Soames - Churchill’s grandson - was joined by Alistair Burt, Caroline Nokes, Greg Clark, Ed Vaizey, Margot James, Richard Benyon, Stephen Hammond, Steve Brine and Richard Harrington in being readmitted.
“There is clearly a process” for readmission, a Tory party spokesman said. “The PM made very clear to them that he is a One Nation Conservative and it’s important that the party moved forward.”
All but one of the rebels backed the PM’s fast-tracked timetable for his new Brexit bill last week. Only Harrington opposed the plan.However, other ‘independent’ MPs remain without the whip, including Sir Oliver Letwin and David Gauke.
Former chancellor Philip Hammond and fellow Brexit rebel Dominic Grieve were earlier given their starkest warning yet that they won’t be allowed to stand as Tory candidates at the next election.
A No.10 spokesman declared that several former Conservative MPs had effectively rejected a “ladder” back into the party by failing to fast-track Boris Johnson’s Brexit bill last week.
A clutch of ‘independent’ Tory backbenchers voted with Labour and other opposition parties to block a programme motion to accelerate the Withdrawal Agreement Bill through parliament in three days.
Hammond, Grieve and Antoinette Sandbach and Anne Milton all voted against the government, despite three of them also backing the actual deal itself.
Other members of the 21-strong group of ‘independent’ former Tory MPs decided to back the prime minister, Downing Street pointed out.
The fresh signal came as Hammond lashed out at the Vote Leave activists he claimed had “seized control” of No.10.
Asked if any would be allowed to stand as Tory candidates, a No.10 spokesman said he did not wish to pre-empt any decisions by the Chief Whip.
“But I think what has been very clear is there has been a ladder to climb for some of those 21 - some have taken the decision to climb that ladder, others have not.
“Since going back to the Benn Bill, some parliamentarians have done their best to pass the Brexit deal and pass the means to get a Brexit deal done. Others have not. Others have willed Brexit allegedly but have consistently undermined the measures with which it would be delivered.
“If you vote against a programme motion you can’t claim to have tried to deliver Brexit because if you deliberately do something which frustrates it and allows the choice of constant delay, it’s not going to happen. MPs had that chance yesterday [Monday] to indicate they want to get Brexit done.”
Earlier, Hammond told the BBC that he would never stop feeling like a Tory.
“It really doesn’t matter how many times my party kicks me, abuses me, reviles me, they are not going to stop me feeling like a Conservative,” he told Radio 4’s Today programme. “And I am not ready yet to give up fighting for the soul of the Conservative Party.
“I fear that the real narrative here is that the Vote Leave activists, the cohort that has seized control in Downing Street, and to some extent in the headquarters of the Conservative Party, wants this general election to change the shape of the Conservative Party in Parliament.
“To get rid of a cohort of MPs that it regards as not robust enough on this issue and to replace them with hardliners.”Related... All The Times Boris Johnson Told Us We Were Leaving The EU On 31 October Brexit 50p Coins Melted Down After Yet Another Extension Tory 'Spartan' Steve Baker Drops Call For Election Deal With Nigel Farage's Brexit Party
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