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Churchill’s grandson among 10 Tories to have whip restored after rebelling against no-deal Brexit

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Boris Johnson has restored the Conservative whip to 10 of the 21 Tory MPs expelled last month for rebelling to stop a no-deal Brexit, a party spokesman has announced. 

Among those restored to Tory ranks were Churchill’s grandson Sir Nicholas Soames and former business secretary Greg Clark.

But former chancellors Philip Hammond and Kenneth Clarke, ex-justice secretary David Gauke and second referendum campaigner Dominic Grieve were not among those allowed back.

Also not offered the Tory whip back was former home secretary Amber Rudd, who quit the cabinet and the party in protest at the expulsions.

The move leaves Mr Johnson 25 votes short of a working majority in the Commons, when support from Democratic Unionist Party allies is included.

Others returning to the Tory fold were Richard Benyon, Steve Brine, Alistair Burt, Stephen Hammond, Richard Harrington, Margot James, Caroline Cokes and Ed Vaizey.

A senior Conservative spokesman said that the decision should not be interpreted as a sign that the remaining Tory exiles have no prospect of returning to the party.

The spokesman said it was expected that all Tory MPs and candidates will in future support Mr Johnson’s efforts to implement his Brexit deal.

Philip Hammond (Reuters)

Mr Johnson restored the whip during a face-to-face meeting with the 10 MPs in his House of Commons office, as the debate on a 12 December election took place in the chamber nearby.

All are now eligible to fight upcoming elections as Conservative candidates, though Sir Nicholas, Mr Benyon, Mr Burt and Mr Harrington have previously indicated that they intend to stand down at the end of this parliament.

The return of the whip was welcomed by members of the Conservatives’ mainstream wing. Culture secretary Nicky Morgan said she was “very pleased to see this happen,” while Jo Johnson, who quit the government over the prime minister’s willingness to contemplate no-deal, said his brother had made a “good decision”.

The leader of the party’s centrist One Nation caucus, Damian Green, said: “Delighted that 10 good colleagues are rejoining the Parliamentary Conservative Party. Still hope for more.”

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