What will happen in the event of an early general election to the 21 former Conservative MPs who were deprived of the Whip? (Plus Amber Rudd.)
If they don’t have the Whip, they can’t stand as Tory candidates. And if they don’t stand as Tory candidates, they’re unlikely to be returned.
Our best guess is that the powers-that-be will deal with them on a case-by-case basis. So those who have tended to vote with the Government since their suspension may get the whip back.
One might therefore hazard a spectrum with, say, Steve Brine and Greg Clark at one end of it, and Dominic Grieve and Guto Bebb on the other.
The likes of Clark and Brine would, were the Whip returned to them, then have to heal any rift with their local Association. But there would be no reason for them not to right the election as Conservative candidates.
Either way, Philip Hammond may be ending his period in Parliament. He didn’t vote with the Government yesterday, and also opposed it on the Withdrawal Agreement programme motion.