Ex-Chancellor Seeks Legal Advice Over Ejection From Tory Party

(Bloomberg) -- Philip Hammond, the former chancellor of the exchequer, is taking legal advice after he and 20 other Conservative lawmakers were effectively thrown out of the party for rebelling against the government.

As chancellor until July of this year, Hammond has the highest profile of the 21 members of Parliament purged from the party by Prime Minister Boris Johnson after they voted against the government over Brexit. Along with Hammond, Kenneth Clarke, a Tory MP for almost half a century, and Winston Churchill’s grandson, Nicholas Soames, were also ejected.

“I am currently taking legal advice with regard to the lawfulness of the actions taken against me and my colleagues last week,” Hammond wrote in an article for the The Surrey Advertiser, a local newspaper based in Guildford, southern England. Hammond also appeared to criticize Johnson’s senior aide Dominic Cummings, writing that he would not be pushed out “by unelected Downing Street advisers who are not Conservatives.”

Johnson took a hard line against dissent within his party, as he tries to bring the protracted Brexit negotiations to a close by Oct. 31. The rebels helped pass an emergency law to stop the U.K. leaving the European Union without a deal, with the government losing the vote by 328 to 301 votes. The expulsions leave Johnson well short of a majority, even with the help of the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist party.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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