Alistair Burt has defended his decision to vote against the government on an opposition Bill that would prevent a no-deal Brexit.
The former Conservative MP told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer he has “not defied” the referendum result and voted three times for the Withdrawal Agreement.
“The people who’ve defied the result of the referendum and have stopped us leaving are the opposition parties who have not voted to leave and a group of my colleagues in the Conservative Party for whom the Withdrawal Agreement just wasn’t good enough so they decided to stop it,” he said.
“You need to ask them why they haven’t followed the manifesto, why we haven’t left the EU and turn the guns on them not me.”
Mr Burt was among 21 Tory MPs including Kenneth Clarke and Philip Hammond who were barred from the party for voting against the government on Tuesday.
On Wednesday they will support an opposition Bill that would block a no-deal Brexit and demand the Prime Minister ask the European Union for an extension.
In retaliation Mr Johnson is expected to seek a snap general election – a move that would require a two-thirds majority in the House of Commons.
Mr Burt said if he were Mr Johnson he “wouldn’t fancy an election very soon at all”.
“I have no desire to see Jeremy Corbyn as the Prime Minister; I don’t want to help that in any way,” he said.
“Accordingly what my colleagues in the Conservative Party should do is persuade Boris Johnson to go for a deal which is available with the European Union, make sure they vote for that, avoid a general election.”
He confirmed he will not stand at the next general election and said he was “certainly not going to stand against my friends and colleagues who’ve been so supportive of me”.