Margot James

Brexit rebel readmitted to Tory party

BBC Politics

Stourbridge MP Margot James will be able to stand as a Conservative candidate in December's general election after having the whip restored by Boris Johnson.

Margot James
UK Parliament

The former minister was one of 21 Tory MPs expelled from the parliamentary Conservative Party after backing efforts to pass legislation to block a no-deal Brexit.

She had said voting against the government last month was"the most difficult decision I've ever had to make".

But 10 of the 21 rebels were welcomed back by the prime minister, shortly before MPs backed his plan to hold an early general election on Thursday, 12 December.

Those who have had the whip restored are now eligible to stand as Conservative candidates at the election if new candidates have not since been chosen.

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A decision by an MP to vote against the government was "the final straw" for her town's local Conservative association, which is now looking for a new candidate for the next general election.

Stourbridge Conservative Association members on Margot James

Stourbridge's Margot James joined 20 other Tory MPs in rebelling last night against Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a bid to ultimately block the UK leaving the EU without a deal on 31 October.

Her Conservative association in the town has been told to select another candidate for the next general election.

Roger Spencer, chair of the association, said she had been a good MP "but this voting against the government was just the final straw basically".

While another member of the association, Nicolas Barlow thought she'd let the constituency down as "we expected her to support the government and do what was expected".

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'Most difficult decision I've ever had to make'

Rob Mayor

Political reporter, BBC WM

Stourbridge MP Margot James said voting against the government last night was "the most difficult decision I've ever had to make".

The former minister was one of 21 Tory MPs in rebelling as the Commons voted to take control of the Brexit agenda and try to bring a bill today asking for a delay.

Margot James
BBC

"I've only rebelled once against a three line whip in all the nine years I've been in Parliament. I am by nature loyal to my party and my colleagues," she said.

After the vote, Mrs James told BBC WM she was called by the chief whip to tell her the whip was being removed, effectively expelling her from the parliamentary party.

She said she hadn't decided if she would stand as an independent candidate in the next election, but didn't want to stand down from Parliament.

Boris Johnson during the debate
Reuters

Boris Johnson's stance on Brexit 'a bridge too far'

An MP who has resigned as a minister after voting against the government has described Boris Johnson's possible approach to leaving the EU as a "bridge too far".

Leadership contender Boris Johnson has not ruled out suspending Parliament top allow a no-deal scenario to progress.

The Conservative MP for Stourbridge, Margot James resigned as minister for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport after she voted for an amendment designed to block the next prime minister from suspending parliament.

In her resignation letter, posted on Twitter, she said "leaving without a deal would be a disaster for this country" and "reckless in the extreme".

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Seventeen Conservatives rebelled against the whip, in this afternoon's vote over measures to block Parliament shutdown, including minister Margot James.

Stafford MP Jeremy Lefroy and Antoinette Sanbach, MP for Eddisbury in Cheshire were also among the rebels.

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Among those Conservative MPs who did not vote were Chancellor Philip Hammond, Justice Secretary David Gauke, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and International Development Secretary Rory Stewart.