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It wasn’t just Churchill’s grandson – the first openly lesbian Tory MP also booted out by Johnson

Emma Powys Maurice September 4, 2019

Margot James lost the Conservative whip after rebelling over Brexit. (WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto/ Getty)

Margot James, the first openly lesbian Tory MP, is among the 21 Conservative politicians who have been expelled from the party after voting against Boris Johnson’s Brexit plans.

She defended her decision to Birmingham Live, accusing Boris Johnson of making “erratic and reckless decisions” and of turning the Conservative party into “the Brexit Party”.

She said: “I do think his erratic and reckless decisions, such as proroguing parliament, provoking everybody, creating even more division, and finally the summary dismissal of over 20 of his colleagues — and the eradication overnight of his majority — I think is reckless in the extreme.

“And I’m afraid it really does underline all the reasons that I did not vote for him as our leader back in July.

“I’m absolutely deeply suspicious of the motives of his chief of staff, Cummings. Cummings couldn’t care less if we got a deal.”

Margot James speaking at a Westminster reception in 2016 (Nicola Tree/Getty)

The first out lesbian Conservative MP.

James was elected MP for Stourbridge in 2010. She was the first openly lesbian MP in the Conservative Party, and only the second out lesbian in the House of Commons after Angela Eagle.

She was made the minister of state for digital and the creative industries in January but resigned in July to vote against the government on an amendment that would force a no-deal Brexit.

She again voted against the government on Tuesday, September 3, in a bid to stop the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal on October 31.

In doing so she contributed to a parliamentary majority of 328 votes to 301, forcing through a bill that requires the prime minister to request an extension on Brexit talks to 31 January 2020.

The only exception to this scenario would be if Johnson secures either a Brexit deal with Brussels or parliamentary approval for no-deal by 19 October.

Margot James outside the Houses of Parliament (Leon Neal/Getty)

The prime minister warned MPs that they would have the whip removed if they stood against the government’s Brexit plans — but James and 20 other politicians defied him, and were expelled from the party as punishment.

Other high-profile politicians set to be kicked of the party include former chancellors of the exchequer, Philip Hammond and Ken Clarke, who have both served as Conservative MPs for decades.

The first-ever openly lesbian cabinet minister Justine Greening has also been expelled, as has the Tory leadership candidate Rory Stewart and Winston Churchill’s grandson Nicholas Soames.

All will be unable to stand as Conservative election candidates in the anticipated general election.

 

More: Boris Johnson, brexit, gay conservatives, Margot James MP, uk politics

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