As ERG Chairman his unyielding opposition to May’s Deal proved to be of great significance.
The Prime Minister falls 14 votes short – and says that the Bill will be paused while he speaks to EU leaders.
If it happens, he must not just win but keep the backing of the DUP, Spartans, Labour rebels and as many of the whipless 21 as he can – and stave off a referendum too.
Steve Brine and Greg Clark, who have also been deprived of the whip, voted with the Government – which lost by 289 votes to 306.
Seven voted for Grieve’s motion, six voted against, and the remaining eight did not vote.
Mark Spencer has reportedly rung round to inform them that they have lost the Whip.
Plus: I’ve never thought a national unity government is a runner, and I think it’s even less likely now.
He argues that all those who want No Deal to be stopped “must take seriously this kind of offer”.
Margot James resigned as a minister following her rebellion. Meanwhile, the Chancellor joined Gauke and Clark in failing to support the Government.
Also: Bebb to stand down as MP over Tory policy on Brexit; Bradley criticised for rushing ill-drafted Northern Irish legislation.
The Government won by 11 votes, 298 to 309, in a setback for Letwin – though the result doesn’t guarantee No Deal any more than a vote the other way would barred it.
Gove, Stewart and perhaps others too could see their standing and prospects damaged this afternoon.
He reproached the advocates of no deal for telling a fairy tale.
He is a candidate who offers radical yet practical solutions in the short-term and has the best chance to bring back a focus on unity and traditional Conservative values.
Plus: I’m still backing Brexit. The Independent Group’s Tory targets. And: it’s a disgrace that public money is being spent on the European elections.