A Tory Brexiteer who said he rejects the government’s ‘entire strategy’ on coronavirus has said it is fine to show ‘dissent’ in the Commons – but said Remainers ‘had it coming’ when they were expelled by Boris Johnson.
Desmond Swayne, appearing on Sky News’ All Out Politics, said he accepted he was ‘in a minority in rejecting the entire strategy of the government’ but said that ‘in a democracy minorities consent to being governed by a majority’ because there ‘is a process in which they are included, their voices heard, and their vote is counted’.
Swayne is one of a number of Tory MPs rebelling against the latest restrictions, which includes restricting the number of people meeting in a household to six or below.
‘As an elected representative, it is my right-hand duty to vote on these matters in making laws which affect all of our lives’.
It prompted Sky News’ Adam Boulton to point out ‘that is not the modern way’ and that Johnson does not ‘take notice of minorities’.
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‘He tends to expel them from the party,’ said Boulton.
‘I don’t think that is the case,’ laughed Swayne. ‘They had it coming’.
The presenter responded: ‘Exactly, so it’s OK to expel people you disagree with, but when you disagree with Boris Johnson you need protection?’
Swayne said: ‘It wasn’t a case of just disagreement, it was a case of breaching a three-line whip when they’ve been told in terms that would be the consequence.
‘Furthermore, the prime minister had just won the leadership on the basis of an explicit to commitment to the party to do what it did.
‘The chief whip at the time had no alternative.’
‘Dissent is fine, and I’m quite prepared to express descent – indeed I am now, but what I’m saying is there should be a process in parliament.
‘The fact is those who were expelled from the party at least had the opportunity to enter into debate in parliament, and to cast their votes accordingly, but we haven’t had that process at all.’
Swayne went on to point out there would be no vote on the new restrictions but he ‘certainly’ would be voting against the renewal of the Covid-19 act.