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Reading a biography of Lord Michael Heseltine is like reading a history book of post-War Britain. His contribution as a Member of Parliament from 1966 to 2001, leading roles in the Government of Thatcher and Major, and rising to the rank of Deputy Prime Minister, are all worthy of note and praise.

His views on Brexit have been perfectly acceptable within the broad church which is the Conservative Party, where views extend from the centre rightwards. However, this week Lord Heseltine said that a Government under the Premiership of Jeremy Corbyn would be preferable to Brexit. Sadly, a line has been crossed. Dissenting opinion has become inciting disaffection. It has become clear that Lord Heseltine should have the Conservative Whip removed.

Political parties are there to win elections and to govern. As part of a government which withdrew the Conservative whip from nine MPs who voted against the Maastricht Treaty (part of the group known as “the Maastricht Rebels”), Lord Heseltine is sure to understand the need for party discipline. Indeed, this period almost brought down the Major Government. In local government and Associations across the country Party Members have had their Membership suspended and cancelled where they have made comments supportive of UKIP. Indeed, there is no shortage of precedent for this move.

Removing the whip from Lord Heseltine would only be enacting a doctrine of fairness, making all in the party aware that they are subject to the same rules.

Lord Heseltine, should of course be given the opportunity to clarify his comments, in case they have been misinterpreted, and to make a statement in support of a Conservative victory at the next election.

However, should he wish to make statements which undermine this Conservative Government and the Conservative Party, it is better that he do so as a Crossbench peer.

Cllr. Dr. Peter Hill is a Conservative Councillor and Director of Policy for Parliament Street

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