REMAINER David Gauke has survived a no confidence vote by his local constituency Conservative Association.
The Justice Secretary, 47, who has been the MP for South West Hertfordshire since 2005, has been a strong opponent of a no-deal Brexit.
The no-confidence vote was defeated 123 votes to 61 after the motion had been backed by the pro-Brexit campaign group Leave.EU.
Mr Gauke tweeted he was “grateful to the members of my association for their support”.
He said: “Tonight, I argued that: We should not allow the Party to be taken over by entryists.
“We should be a broad church. No deal would be immensely damaging to the UK.
“I defeated a motion of no confidence 123 to 61. I am grateful to the members of my association for their support.”
Leave.EU had hoped to “claim our first Cabinet scalp” with Mr Gauke being deselected.
The campaign group 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!”
Mr Gauke had warned Brexiteers were turning the Tories into a “narrow sect” – as he faced a no confidence vote.
For the Conservative Party to succeed it must have a broad church and have wide appeal. There’s a risk, instead, that we become a narrow sect and out of touch with the voters we need to win a majority.
Justice Secretary David Gauke
Ahead of a challenge from his own association, the Tory said the actions of arch-Brexiteers would leave the party “out of touch” with millions of voters.
Mr Gauke said yesterday: “For the Conservative Party to succeed it must have a broad church and have wide appeal. There’s a risk, instead, that we become a narrow sect and out of touch with the voters we need to win a majority.
“If we are going to start deselecting those who have supported government policy and voted to leave the EU, I really fee for the future of the party.”
But Mr Gauke had some high profile supporters within the party, including the Home Secretary Sajid Javid and leadership contender Jeremy Hunt.
Mr Hunt wrote on Twitter: “@DavidGauke is an outstanding cabinet colleague and we need him to carry on doing such a great job!”
Mr Javid, who was knocked out of the leadership race earlier this month, wrote: “@DavidGauke an outstanding colleague and Minister. Has consistently backed Government & manifesto commitments. I hope his local association back him tonight”
Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd also put her weight behind Mr Gauke, writing: “Tonight’s motion of no confidence in David Gauke is ludicrous.
“Rounding on colleagues in this way is the type of behaviour you’d expect from the hard left.”
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Leave.EU replied to Ms Rudd’s message, saying: “Thanks for your feedback, Amber. You’re next.”
Mr Gauke had backed Theresa May’s Brexit deal three times, he has called for a customs union with the EU and helped to take No Deal off the table.
The move follows fellow Tory MP and arch-Remainer Dominic Grieve who is now facing a de-selection battle in his Beaconsfield, south Bucks, constituency.
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