British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has expelled 21 moderate lawmakers — including Winston Churchill’s grandson — from his Conservative Party for voting against his hardline Brexit strategy.
Among those who got the boot were former Finance Minister Philip Hammond and Ken Clarke, Parliament’s longest-service member, who is dubbed the “Father of the House.”
Johnson suffered a humiliating defeat Tuesday at the hands of a coalition of opposition parties and Conservative rebels — including a bevy of former ministers — on a motion designed to pave the way for Brexit to be delayed.
Clarke, who was first elected as a Conservative MP almost a half-century ago, accused Johnson of destroying the party.
“I don’t recognize this. It’s the Brexit Party, rebadged,” he told the BBC.
“It’s been taken over by a rather knockabout sort of character, who’s got this bizarre crash-it-through philosophy [and] a cabinet which is the most right-wing cabinet any Conservative Party has ever produced,” Clarke added.
Hammond, a former chancellor, vowed to challenge his expulsion, promising Johnson the “fight of a lifetime,” according to Business Insider.
Also expelled was Rory Stewart, who was getting GQ magazine’s politician of the year award when he received word of his ouster, according to Bloomberg.
“It feels a little bit like something one associates with other countries,” Stewart told the BBC on Wednesday. “This is a passing phase in the history of the Conservative Party.”
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