Boris Johnson to expel conservative lawmakers who voted against government in Brexit vote, spokesman says

United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson is moving to expel a group of conservative lawmakers who defied the government and voted in favor of an attempt to thwart a potential no-deal Brexit, a spokesman from Johnson's office told Reuters. 

“The chief whip is speaking to those Tory (Conservative) MPs (members of parliament) who did not vote with the government this evening. They will have the Tory whip removed,” the spokesman said, Reuters reported

The stated plans arrived just hours after lawmakers in Britain passed legislation designed to stop Johnson from taking the UK out of the European Union without a formal deal.

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The House of Commons earlier Tuesday passed a bill allowing members of Parliament to introduce legislation forcing Johnson to ask for a three-month extension from the EU if a deal is not made by Oct. 31, the Brexit deadline. 

The bill passed in a 328 to 301 vote, with 21 members of the governing Conservative Party defecting and joining the opposition party, The Guardian reported

Johnson responded to the bill's passage by telling Parliament that he planned to call for snap general elections. The formal request would have to be approved by a two-thirds majority in the House of Commons.

“I don’t want an election, the public don’t want an election, but if the House votes for this bill tomorrow, the public will have to choose who goes to Brussels on Oct. 17 to sort this out and take this country forward,” he said, referring to the possibility that lawmakers could vote on the bill as soon as Wednesday. 

Fifty-two percent of British voters supported a referendum in 2016 to leave the EU. But the government has struggled to formulate a transition plan. 

Johnson, a staunch advocate of Brexit, came into power vowing to leave the EU even if lawmakers didn't agree to a formal exit plan. But many lawmakers have come out against that possibility, saying that leaving the EU without a deal could be catastrophic for the economy.