MP hopes to be taken back into the parliamentary party after losing whip
12th September 2019
TUNBRIDGE WELLS MP Greg Clark hopes he will eventually be accepted back into the Parliamentary Conservative Party after being ousted.
The former Business Secretary was kicked out after defying Boris Johnson and voting to block a no-deal Brexit last week.
Mr Clark, who has represented Tunbridge Wells in Parliament since 2005, defied the party whip— that tells MPs which way to vote – along with 20 other EU rebels who all had the whip removed.
Boris Johnson’s chief advisor, Dominic Cummings, had clashed with Mr Clark just before the big vote, with Mr Cummings telling the former Business Secretary he would be ‘purged’ if he voted against the Government.
However, Mr Clark, told the Times he felt had no choice.
He said: “My view is that if you are in public life, you have to be honest in your judgement.
“I want to see a deal and I think there is a great danger of leaving without a deal and it would not be honourable to lie about that and say actually it will be fine.”
While the MP remains a local Conservative Association member, he said losing the whip last week was ‘painful’ but he had no regrets.
“Obviously it was very painful that it required the loss of the party whip in the House of Commons, but it would be wrong to say something that is against my judgement just to save my position in the Parliamentary party.”
He added that he hoped the Conservative Party would eventually reinstate the whip, allowing him to run as a future Parliamentary candidate in Tunbridge Wells.
“It is too soon to know what is going to happen. We don’t know if there will be a General Election and when it will happen, and if there is it will be very difficult to predict.
“But any election will come down to whether you want to see Jeremy Corbyn in Downing Street or not.
“I would like the whip to be reinstated, and in time, I hope it will be reinstated as has happened on previous occasions such as with the Maastricht Rebels [under John Major].
“But this is a matter for the Prime Minister and I have no complaints about that.”
Mr Clark insisted he was on ‘cordial’ terms with Brexiteers in the Conservative Party and ruled out joining the Liberal Democrats as Conservative colleague, Phillip Lee had done during Mr Johnson’s speech to MPs last Tuesday.
He also ruled out becoming part of any ‘Independent Conservative Group’.
“There are a lot of decisions taking place over the last few days, but I have no appetite to be part of a new party.
“The Conservative Party has been a force for good in this country for decades, and I am a Conservative through and through with a capital C.
“I respect a range of views of people including the Brexiters in Tunbridge Wells with whom I have a great relationship and share cordial respect.
“I have a very good relationship with the party and I hope I will be considered to be a future candidate for them,” said Mr Clark.
After the ‘tumultuous’ events of last week, Mr Clark said he felt ‘touched’ by the reaction from local people.
“I was out running with the dog at the weekend and the number of people who beeped their horn and people on bikes shouting positive things was quite touching.”
He added that by New Year, he believed Brexit would be finally solved.
“I think on New Year’s Eve, we will have finally solved Brexit after all these years, and I hope I will be celebrating New Year on The Pantiles as your Member of Parliament for Tunbridge Wells.”