Justice Secretary David Gauke defeats Tory no-confidence motion backed by Leave.EU
Justice Secretary David Gauke has seen off a vote of no-confidence from his local party that was backed by hard Brexit campaigners.
The South West Hertfordshire MP, who opposes a no-deal Brexit, had been one of the senior Tory figures in Leave.EU's sights.
The pro-Brexit campaign group had said it intended to claim Mr Gauke as its "first cabinet scalp".
However, the motion was defeated 123 votes to 61 in a Friday night meeting of his local Conservative association which lasted over two-and-a-half hours.
Following the vote, Mr Gauke tweeted that he had "argued that: We should not allow the Party to be taken over by entryists. We should be a broad church. No deal would be immensely damaging to the UK."
He said he was "grateful to the members of my association for their support."
The Justice Secretary was backed by Cabinet colleague Amber Rudd in the run-up to the vote.
The Work and Pensions Secretary said the vote was "ludicrous" and "rounding on colleagues in this way is the type of behaviour you'd expect from the hard left”.
Following the vote, former Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt tweeted his "total support for a great colleague, and strong, decent Conservative”.
Energy Minister Claire Perry meanwhile said the Leave.EU "hit list ignores the fact that MPs like David have voted repeatedly for a firm EU exit - if other MPs had joined us rather than indulging in their Brexit fantasies we would be out by now”.
Former leadership contender Rory Stewart also offered his support.
The International Development Secretary tweeted that the victory was "a tribute to the power of truth, to his association and a tribute above all to David Gauke.”
He added: “Honesty. Courage. Vindicated."