Ken Clarke and 20 Tory colleagues lost their voting right within the Conservative Party after disregarding instructions in a series of crucial Brexit votes in September. The Father of the House, who is set to step down after 49 years in the Commons, branded the decision to remove the whip as a "comic mistake" as he tore into "Number 10 extremists" trying to limit moderate voices within the party. Speaking to Sky News, Mr Clarke said: "It was a comic mistake to take away the whip from the 21 MPs. The people I’m really annoyed on behalf of are the people in mid-career, the younger people - these are good people.
"There are some of the zealots inside Downing Street who, I think, are purging the party of its moderate, One Nation members.
"Boris always uses that phrase but actually he has purged some leading people who he was serving in Cabinet with only a few months ago. I’m annoyed for them, to me, it doesn’t make a tuppence of difference."
The Rushcliffe MP also took a pop at Prime Minister Boris Johnson opting to call for a general election rather than pushing through the Commons with the withdrawal agreement he struck with Brussels last month.
Mr Johnson pulled the Brexit Bill after MPs rejected his proposed three-day timeline to debate the legislation, with parliamentarians lamenting they would have little time to scrutinise the Prime Minister's proposal.
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Brexit news: Ken Clarke launched a scathing attack on "zealots" in Number 10 (Image: SKY NEWS)
Brexit news: Ken Clarke claimed Boris Johnson has wanted a general election since he took over Number 10 (Image: SKY NEWS)
He continued: "From the moment he took over, he always wanted to have the election before we actually left.
"And Dominic Cummings always wanted to have the election on this Parliament versus the people process - they are both bogus. He could have gone with his deal and we could have left.
"Parliament has not been blocking things except Boris, Jacob and their friends stopped us leaving at the end