Sir Nicholas Soames, who is the grandson of British war-time Prime Minister Winston Churchill, used the opportunity in Parliament to deliver a speech declaring that he will not be standing at the next general election in order to slam Boris Johnson and his cabinet on Wednesday.
Sir Soames, who has served 37 years as a Tory MP for Mid-Sussex, was removed from the Conservative Party whip after voting against the government this week.
— Lewis Goodall (@lewis_goodall) September 5, 2019
He subsequently launched a visceral attack during a Commons address against Boris Johnson and his front bench for their "disloyalty" towards former Prime Minister Theresa May.
The 71-year-old Commons veteran began his speech by declaring that his intention was always to deliver the Brexit result and had always voted in favour of Theresa May's thrice-defeated withdrawal agreement.
"I want to make clear that I have always believed that the referendum result must be honoured, and indeed I have voted for the withdrawal agreement on every occasion that it has been presented to the house.
Which is more than can be said for my right-honourable friend the prime minister, the leader of the House and other members of the Cabinet whose serial disloyalty has been an inspiration for so many of us".
— Nicholas Soames (@NSoames) September 4, 2019
Twitter exploded the following day across the political spectrum. From those who found themselves in agreement with the Mid Sussex MP, including former Scottish Conservative MP Ruth Davidson, to those who traditionally would oppose Conservative policy.
— Ruth Davidson (@RuthDavidsonMSP) September 4, 2019
— Davey T (@DaveTilley2) September 4, 2019
— Tom Peck (@tompeck) September 4, 2019
EU official Guy Verhofstadt recalled Winston Churchills role in support for European unity.
— Guy Verhofstadt (@guyverhofstadt) September 4, 2019
Some users noticed the hypocrisy between the Commons developments and mainstream reporting.
— Brian Tweedale (@BrianHTweed) September 5, 2019
Others were not so sympathetic however, saying that the PMs decision had rid him of problems post-Brexit.
— Alexander Nekrassov (@StirringTrouble) September 5, 2019
— Rich Slurp (@Rich_Slurp) September 5, 2019
— Ian LUFC Ward (@ianward65) September 5, 2019
— Ryan Bourne (@MrRBourne) September 5, 2019
— Robert Wilkin (@robertwilkin) September 5, 2019
The speech coincided with the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War, through which his grandfather led the UK as a war-time prime minister.
Throughout, Soames appeared close to tears, poignantly declaring his intention not to stand for re-election.
"I am not standing at the next election and I am thus approaching the end of 37 years' service to this House, of which I have been proud and am honoured beyond words to have been a member.
I am truly very sad that it should end in this way.
I hope this House can rediscover the spirit of compromise, humility and understanding that will enable us finally to push ahead with the vital work in the interest of the whole country which has inevitably had to be so sadly neglected whilst we get on with Brexit".
He gave way to fellow Tory Sir Oliver Letwin, who paid tribute to Sir Soames, saying that his exit “will be a great loss to our party”.
The accusation of disloyalty is directed towards frontbench Brexiteer MPs such as House Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg, who opposed Theresa May's Withdrawal Agreement, thus facilitating a no-deal Brexit.
The 21 Tory MPs who were removed from the party include Father of the House Ken Clarke, former Chancellor of the Exchequer Phillip Hammond, and former Tory-leadership contender Rory Stewart.
Boris Johnson claims that taking no-deal off the table in negotiations with the EU harms the UK's position to get a deal. He declared prior to the vote in Parliament on Tuesday that all MPs voting for legislation to remove the no-deal option would be withdrawn from the whip.
The consecutive defeats in Parliament, as well as the loss of the Conservative majority after Phillip Lee defected to the Liberal Democrats, has led to a situation of an impending general election in coming months.