Former UK Cabinet minister says he was expelled from Conservative Party by text

Former U.K. international development secretary Rory Stewart said Wednesday that he was expelled from the Conservative Party "by text" after Prime Minister Boris Johnson removed 21 members of parliament from the party. 

“It came by text,” Stewart said of his removal while appearing on the British Broadcasting Corporation Radio 4's "Today" program. “It was a pretty astonishing moment."


He noted that he had run weeks ago for the Conservative leadership against Johnson, who became Prime Minister after winning the party race to replace former Prime Minister Theresa MayTheresa Mary MayHold the Brexit Champagne U.K.'s Boris Johnson reverses, requests extension of Brexit deadline Boris Johnson urges UK parliament to approve Brexit deal MORE in July.

“It feels a little bit like something that one associates with other countries — one opposes the leader, one loses the leadership race, no longer in the Cabinet and now apparently thrown out of the party and one’s seat too,” Stewart said. 

Johnson sacked a group of 21 conservative lawmakers who voted for an attempt to block a possible no-deal Brexit. 

The measure passed 328-301, with the group of rebel conservatives joining the opposition party.

Johnson has also said he planned to call for a new general election, which would need the approval of a two-thirds House of Commons majority. 

The prime minister has been a staunch Brexit advocate and has said he wants the U.K. to leave the European Union with or without a deal.