Chancellor Sajid Javid has said Boris Johnson should allow the MPs he purged from the Conservative Party a way back in.
The prime minister stripped 21 backbenchers of the whip after they voted in favour of a move to block a no-deal Brexit on October 31.
Those kicked out included former chancellors Philip Hammond, former justice secretary David Gauke, party grandee Ken Clarke and Winston Churchill’s grandson Sir Nicholas Soames.
Asked if there should be a road to redemption for the MPs who have also been banned from standing for election as Conservatives, Javid told LBC on Thursday morning: “I would hope so.”
“I would like to see them come back at some point,” he said. “But right now the prime minister had no choice.”
He said: “They are not just my colleagues these are my friends, they are good Conservatives, they have done so much in public service for our country.”
According to The Sun, several cabinet ministers including no-deal planner Michael Gove, Health Secretary Matt Hancock, Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan and Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd all raised concerns with Johnson over the expulsions during yesterday’s cabinet meeting.
Tory MP Simon Hoare said this morning there was “deep disquiet” about Johnson’s decision to purge the parliamentary party. “I think we are better being like Churchill and not Stalin,” he tweeted.
Johnson will deliver a speech later today, after MPs last night rejected his call for a snap general election to help break the Brexit deadlock.
No.10 said he would “speak directly to the public, setting out the vital choice that faces our country” - as he sets up a people versus parliament election campaign.
“It is clear the only action is to go back to the people and give them the opportunity to decide what they want: Boris to go to Brussels and get a deal, or leave without one on October 31 or Jeremy Corbyn arriving in Brussels with his surrender bill begging for more delay, more dither and accepting whatever terms Brussels imposes over our nation,” a Downing Street spokesman said.
Labour abstained on Johnson’s call for an election on October 15, claiming it was worried the PM would then move the date of the election until after October 31 leaving parliament powerless to prevent a no-deal Brexit on that date.