Former PM John Major has endorsed three ex-Conservative independent candidates running against Boris Johnson’s party in the general election.
Major said he would vote for ex-ministers David Gauke, Dominic Grieve and Anne Milton – who all lost the party whip earlier this year after rebelling on Brexit – if he lived in their constituencies.
In an extraordinary intervention, he will tell a rally demanding a second EU referendum in London: “Let me make one thing absolutely clear: none of them has left the Conservative Party, the Conservative Party has left them.
“Without such talent on its benches, Parliament will be the poorer, which is why – if I were resident in any one of their constituencies – they would have my vote.”
Major is set to describe Brexit as the “worst foreign policy decision in my lifetime”, and will say leaving the EU will affect “nearly every single aspect of our lives for many decades to come”.
He will say: “It will make our country poorer and weaker. It will hurt most those who have least. Never have the stakes been higher, especially for the young. Brexit may even break up our historic United Kingdom.”
And he will urge voters to “choose the future you believe in”, telling young people in particular: “Your vote is absolutely crucial – for you have the longest lease on our country’s future, and our place in the wider world.
“Don’t wake up on Friday 13 December and regret not making a choice.”
Since you're here ...
We know you don't need a lecture. You wouldn't be here if you didn't care.
Now, more than ever, we need your help to challenge the rightwing press and hold power to account. Please help us survive and thrive.