Ruth Davidson criticises Tories for expelling Churchill's grandson as purge of rebel MPs begins

Ruth Davidson resigned last week
Ruth Davidson resigned last week
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Former Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson has criticised the party for ejecting Nicholas Soames, the grandson of wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill, as Boris Johnson makes good on a promise to expel MPs who rebelled over Brexit.

Ms Davidson, in her first public intervention since her shock announcement last week that she was quitting as leader of the Scottish Conservative Party amid the pressures of becoming a mother and the prospect of a general election, tweeted about the removal of the whip from long-serving MP Nicholas Soames.

Mr Soames is the grandson of Winston Churchill, the political hero of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has confirmed that he will remove the whip from the 21 Conservative MPs who voted for a motion for parliament to take control of the voting timetable amid dramatic scenes in the House of Commons yesterday.

Edinburgh Central MSP Ms Davidson wrote: "How, in the name of all that is good and holy, is there no longer room in the Conservative Party for @NSoames? #anofficerandagentleman."

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Mr Soames, who is expected to stand down from his seat at the expected general election, and is well-known for his use of long and humorous hashtags, was among those who rebelled against the Government yesterday.

The successful bid by rebels and opposition MPs to seize control of the parliamentary timetable in order to try and prevent a no-deal Brexit on October 31 has sparked calls from Boris Johnson for an early general election.

Among those who will lose the whip are former Chancellors Ken Clarke and Philip Hammond, former ministers Greg Clark and Justine Greening, and long-time no-deal opponent Dominic Grieve.

Ms Davidson has long made clear her opposition to a no-deal Brexit - though none of the 13 Scottish Conservative MPs rebelled against the Government.

A series of late-night phone calls was made to MPs last night to confirm the withdrawal of the party whip, rebel MP Richard Benyon confirmed this morning, accusing the Government of hypocrisy as he highlighted that a number of current cabinet ministers were serial rebels.