Lord Heseltine suspended by Conservatives after declaring he will vote Lib Dem
Lord Heseltine has been suspended by the Conservatives for revealing he will vote Lib Dem in this week's European election.
The former deputy Prime Minister was told he was having the Tory whip removed in the House of Lords as a result of his remarks.
Writing in The Sunday Times, the Conservative grandee - a vocal advocate for a ssecond EU referendum - said his party had become "infected with the virus of extremism".
He added: "The reason for my experiment with the Lib Dems is, of course, the Government's position on Brexit.
"I cannot, with a clear conscience, vote for my party when it is myopically focused on forcing through the biggest act of economic self-harm ever undertaken by a democratic government."
But he refused to countenance quitting the Conservatives, adding: "I have no intention of being forced out - or resigning from - a party that has been such an important part of my life.
"I will remain a member of my local association and, unless told otherwise, will continue to take the Conservative whip in the Lords."
A Conservative spokesman said Lord Heseltine's comments were "not compatible with taking the Tory whip".
He said: "As a result, the Chief Whip in the House of Lords has informed Lord Heseltine that he will have the Conservative whip suspended. This will be reviewed if he is willing to support Conservative candidates at future elections."
Pro-Brexit Tory MPs had called for the former Cabinet minister to be suspended for his remarks.
Andrew Bridgen told the BBC: "There really is no place for someone with his views in the Conservative Party."
But veteran Tory MP Sir Nicholas Soames said the suspension was "a really stupid, bovine thing to do".