UK Conservative rebel leaders in profile: Tories ousted over no-deal Brexit opposition

Ken Clarke, Sir Nicholas Soames, Dominic Grieve and Rory Stewart are among the 22 deselected

epa07814386 Tory MP Nicholas Winston Soames (R) with Conservative Party members depart 10 Downing Street following a meeting with Prime Minister Boris Johnson in London, Britain, 03 September 2019. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing a vote in parliament over stopping a no deal Brexit.  EPA/ANDY RAIN

Prime minister Boris Johnson has withdrawn the whip from 22 Conservative MPs after yesterday's revolt in the House of Commons.

Here are some of the group's leaders and Tory grandees now removed from a party that some of them called home for decades.

Ken Clarke

Conservative MP Ken Clarke speaks to the media as he arrives at television and radio studios in London, Britain August 29, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Ken Clarke, the “father of the house" – a title given to Parliament’s longest serving MP – has previously indicated that he might step down from his seat in Rushcliffe Nottinghamshire at the next election.

A parliamentarian for 49 years, Mr Clarke has cultivated a reputation as an arch-Tory rebel for his pro-European views in recent years.

Throughout his career his views on the EU have been at odds with much of his party and were a significant factor in his defeats in Conservative leadership contests in 1997, 2001 and 2005.

Mr Clarke, 79, may have been blocked from leading the party but he has held some of the UK’s highest offices and served under three prime ministers.

Beginning his ministerial career as transport secretary under prime minister Margaret Thatcher, Mr Clarke went on to become chancellor to her successor, John Major.

Philip Hammond

British Conservative MP and former chancellor of the exchequer Philip Hammond arrives at the Cabinet Office on Whitehall in central London on September 3, 2019. - The fate of Brexit hung in the balance on Tuesday as parliament prepared for an explosive showdown with Prime Minister Boris Johnson's that could end in a snap election. Members of Johnson's own Conservative party, including Philip Hammond, are preparing to join opposition lawmakers in a vote to try to force a delay to Britain's exit from the European Union if he cannot secure a divorce deal with Brussels in the next few weeks. (Photo by Niklas HALLE'N / AFP)

A pair of safe hands as chancellor under PM Theresa May, Philip Hammond earned himself the nickname “spreadsheet Phil”.

As a backbencher, Mr Hammond has instantly gained a reputation as a thorn in the side of Boris Johnson.

A Conservative MP since 1997, he was educated at the University of Oxford.

In 2002 he became shadow minister for local government under Ian Duncan Smith, taking on his first cabinet role in the 2010 government as transport secretary.

After his steady rise through the ministerial ranks Mr Hammond, 63, has been the de facto leader of the Conservative rebels opposing Mr Johnson.

He has said he believes the Conservative Party has fallen prey to right-wing entryists who are controlling the party.

Before  the whip was withdrawn, the former chancellor had vowed to fight his deselection.

Mr Hammond went as far as to say he would look to take legal action if deselected for his seat in Runnymede and Weybridge.

Sir Nicholas Soames

Conservative Member of Parliament Nicholas Soames walks in Westminster, in London, Britain September 3, 2019. REUTERS/Simon Dawson

Much has been made of the symbolism of Sir Nicholas Soames having the whip withdrawn.

Commentators and colleagues have decried the ejection of prime minister Winston Churchill’s grandson from the party.

But before he gained his now totemic status, Churchill had a mixed reputation in the Conservatives and faced deselection during the 1930s.

Former prime minster Neville Chamberlain felt his negotiating position with Adolf Hitler was undermined by Churchill’s anti-Nazi campaigning.

Mr Johnson is fond of comparisons to Britain’s victorious wartime leader but may look less favourably on parallels drawn with Chamberlain.

Mr Soames, 71, has referred to his deselection as part of the “fortunes of war”.

He has served as MP for Mid Sussex since 1997 and was first elected to Parliament in 1983 for the seat of Crawley.

The son of Mary Soames, the youngest of Churchill’s children, he served as minister of state for the armed forces under John Major.

Dominic Grieve

A video grab from footage broadcast by the UK Parliament's Parliamentary Recording Unit (PRU) shows expelled Conservative MP Dominic Grieve standing to ask a question during Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson's first Prime Ministers Questions session in the House of Commons in London on September 4, 2019. Prime Minister Boris Johnson headed into a fresh Brexit showdown in parliament on Wednesday after being dealt a stinging defeat over his promise to get Britain out of the EU at any cost next month. - RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT " AFP PHOTO / PRU " - NO USE FOR ENTERTAINMENT, SATIRICAL, MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - EDITORS NOTE THE IMAGE HAS BEEN DIGITALLY ALTERED AT SOURCE TO OBSCURE VISIBLE DOCUMENTS

A barrister and former attorney general under prime minister David Cameron, Dominic Grieve has used his legal expertise to intervene on the Brexit debate, calling for a second referendum.

One of the most outspoken rebels within the Conservative Party, Mr Grieve said he would block a no-deal Brexit even if it meant Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn becoming prime minister.

“I don't wish to see Jeremy Corbyn in Downing Street but we live in a democracy,” he said recently told London’s LBC radio.

"If people lose all confidence in the Conservative government and its prime minister, then the risk of them electing Jeremy Corbyn at some point is going to increase."

Mr Grieve has accused Mr Johnson of behaving like a demagogue, blaming his comments for death threats he has received.

MP for Beaconsfield since 1997, Mr Grieve had already been threatened with deselection after losing a confidence vote by local party members in spring this year.

Rory Stewart

Expelled Conservative MP Rory Stewart walks through the temporary media broadcast centre on College Green, near the Houses of Parliament, in London central London on September 4, 2019. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson lost a crucial parliamentary vote on his Brexit strategy on Tuesday after members of his own Conservative Party voted against him, opening the way for possible early elections. The ruling Conservative party lost its working majority in parliament on Tuesday after one of its MPs switched to the anti-Brexit Liberal Democrats and, a few hours later, it expelled 21 MPs from the party for voting against the government. / AFP / ISABEL INFANTES

The Member for Penrith and the Border, Rory Stewart was briefly Boris Johnson’s principal challenger in the recent Tory leadership elections. He eventually finished fifth in the contest.

A frequent defender of former prime minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal, Mr Stewart has railed against the prospect of a no-deal Brexit, calling the outcome a failure for the UK.

A former soldier and diplomat, he was a deputy governor after the invasion of Iraq, then went on to lecture at Harvard University and ran Turquoise Mountain, an Afghan charity he founded.

After becoming an MP in 2010, Mr Stewart has served in cabinet posts including, most recently, secretary of state for international development under Mrs May.

While accepting the award for GQ's politician of the year, Mr Stewart found out by text that he had been sacked.

He has called his deselection “astonishing”.