A pro-Remain Cabinet minister is to face a no-confidence vote by his local Conservative Association.
Justice Secretary David Gauke, who represents South West Hertfordshire, is one of the Cabinet’s most prominent opponents of a no-deal Brexit.
Political campaign group Leave.EU said they wanted to “claim our first Cabinet scalp”, with Mr Gauke up for “deselection” on Friday evening.
They tweeted: “Tomorrow we claim our first Cabinet scalp as @DavidGauke is up for deselection in South West Herts.
“With a new leader and potential election, now is the time to make the Conservative party conservative again. If we fail? The Brexit Party wipes the floor with them. Win win!”
Tomorrow we claim our first Cabinet scalp as @DavidGauke is up for deselection in South West Herts.— Leave.EU (@LeaveEUOfficial) June 27, 2019
With a new leader and potential election, now is the time to make the Conservative party conservative again. If we fail? The Brexit Party wipes the floor with them. Win win! 👍
But he swiftly won support from his Cabinet colleagues, with Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd tweeting: “Tonight’s motion of no confidence in @DavidGauke is ludicrous.
“Rounding on colleagues in this way is the type of behaviour you’d expect from the hard left.
“He has my full support, and I hope this is shared by @Jeremy_Hunt and @BorisJohnson.”
Leave.EU replied to Ms Rudd’s tweet saying: “Thanks for your feedback, Amber. You’re next.”
Energy Minister Claire Perry likened the move to the left-wing grassroots Momentum group.
She said on Twitter: “It’s a @LeaveEUOfficial “momentum moment”.
“Their 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.”
Pro-Remain Tory former minister Phillip Lee and Conservative former attorney general Dominic Grieve suffered votes of no confidence by their local associations earlier this year.
The result is expected late on Friday evening.