Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries was removed from a Tory WhatsApp group after defending Boris Johnson during an exchange about the Brexit minister’s resignation.
Messages from a 100-strong group called Clean Global Brexit show a discussion among a handful of Tory MPs after a week widely seen as the worst in Mr Johnson’s reign.
Theresa Villiers, the former Northern Ireland secretary, calls Lord Frost’s exit “very worrying” – with MP Andrew Bridgen upping the ante and calling it a “disaster”.
“Lord Frost was concerned about the policy direction of the Gov. So are most of the Conservative backbenchers,” he adds.
Yeovil MP Marcus Fysh calls Lord Frost a “hero” for his tough stance on Brexit, while Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, The Cotswolds MP, replies that it’s a “further hammer blow to the PM”.
The culture secretary then intervenes to stick up for Mr Johnson.
She writes: “The hero is the Prime Minister who delivered Brexit.
“I’m aware as someone said today that regicide is in the DNA of the Conservative party, but a bit of loyalty to the person who won an 83 majority and delivered Brexit wouldn’t go amiss.”
Her response does not go down well with MP Steve Baker, former chair of the Brexit-supporting European Research Group.
The screenshots – obtained by Sky’s deputy political editor Sam Coates – appear to show him immediately removing Ms Dorries from the group, following with “Enough is enough” and a thumbs-up emoji of himself after another MP says it was “about time”.
However, there appears to have been some support for the culture secretary.
Another excerpt shows Bournemouth West MP Conor Burns replying to her message: “Absolutely right Nadine. Memory seems to be very short.”
Mr Baker hits back – suggesting the PM was fortunate to win his big majority – and adds: “But I suggest we not argue in this group. We have troubles enough in our immediate future.”
The rowing in the WhatsApp group is a taste of the disquiet and anger among many in the Conservative Party.
Lord Frost is understood to have quit due to unease over the direction of the party and factors such as high taxes, the push towards net zero and new COVID restrictions.
A torrid few weeks have seen the Tories lose the rock-solid seat of North Shropshire and continue to be dogged by questions over lockdown parties.
The man tasked with investigating the scandal, Simon Case, stepped down this week after he himself was accused of attending a party.
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