Brexit rebel Caroline Nokes: Boris Johnson's Conservatives 'all over the place'

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By Orlando Crowcroft  & Jason N. Parkinson
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during debate in the House of Commons in London, Britain September 4, 2019
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during debate in the House of Commons in London, Britain September 4, 2019   -   Copyright  Parliament/Jessica Taylor/Handout via REUTERS

One of the 21 rebels that were kicked out of the Conservative Party for voting against the government this week believes UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is determined to "bulldoze through a no-deal Brexit".

Caroline Nokes, who has been MP for Romsey and Southampton North since 2010, said her decision to defy the party whip on Tuesday came as a result of Johnson's decision to suspend parliament in the critical weeks before the Brexit deadline on October 31.

"People have their members of parliament in order to hold the executive to account and parliament needed time in order to use that power. It felt like time was being taken away from us and that just felt wrong," she told Euronews from College Green in front of the Houses of Parliament.

Read more: ‘No to no-deal Brexit’: the 21 Tory rebels who defied Boris Johnson

Nokes said that it would be "dangerous" for the Conservatives to fight an election with the party so divided, but said Johnson seemed determined to do so.

"The Conservative Party is all over the place: kicking out people like Ken Clarke, the father of the house, a man who was elected before I was born, kicking out the grandson of Winston Churchill," she said. "That’s not a united Conservative Party."

'The party has abandoned me'

Nokes said that she had received thousands of letters of support from constituents over her stance, and around 50 that were critical of her decision. She said she would like to stand for her seat at the next election as a Conservative.

"I was born and brought up in the Conservative Party, I have worked really hard for my constituency and it just feels for me as if the party has abandoned me, not that I have abandoned the party," she said.

Nokes joined party veterans like Clarke, Soames and Sir Oliver Letwin, as well as former Chancellor Philip Hammond, in voting against the government to allow the opposition to gain control of the parliamentary timetable, known as the Order Paper, on Tuesday.

In a series of crushing defeats for Johnson, MPs voted through a bill that would require Johnson to ask for an extension of Article 50 — effectively delaying Brexit — and then denied the prime minister's call for a general election on October 15.

The bill is now with the House of Lords, which has committed to passing it before Friday, September 6. On Monday, September 9, parliament could be suspended until October 14, the date that Johnson intends to hold a Queen's speech and layout his parliamentary agenda for the year.

Video editor • Ivan Sougy