Richard Harrington said he believes he has done the right thing by voting to protect people from the "economic disaster" of a no-deal Brexit. 

The MP for Watford was among 21 MPs, which included South West Hertfordshire MP David Gauke, who were sacked by Prime Minister Boris Johnson after voting to block a no-deal Brexit. 

It means they will no longer be able to represent the Conservative party, although Mr Harrington had previously confirmed he would step down at the next general election.

Mr Harrington said he respects the wishes of people in Watford to leave the European Union, but could not bring himself to vote for Mr Johnson's no-deal Brexit.

Watford Observer:

Mr Harrington said he believes he did the right thing. Photo: Holly Cant

He said: “I believe in my view I voted in the interest of constituents and the country. I voted to protect local residents from the economic disaster of a no-deal Brexit.

“I could not accept this in good conscience and I feel I have acted in the interest of Watford.”

Mr Harrington has voted three times for the UK to leave the EU and said he would continue to do so in any such vote.

But he felt Mr Johnson’s reaction to MPs voting to block a no-deal Brexit was “misguided”. He also came to the defence of Kenneth Clarke, who was one of the MPs who had his Conservative whip removed meaning he has been expelled. 

Mr Clarke is Father of the House and has stood as a Conservative MP since 1970.

He said: “How can a part have any credibility after expelling Kenneth Clarke?

“I don’t accept the view of the Prime Minister that the threat of a no-deal will help get a better deal.”

Watford Observer:

Prime Minister Boris Johnson expelled 21 MPs who defied the whip. Photo: Holly Cant

William Berry, Brexit Party prospective parliamentary candidate for Watford, said he welcomes the fact the constituency's Tory MP Richard Harrington has been deselected and promises to offer local people a real, pro-Brexit alternative in the imminent general election. 

He said: "Richard has betrayed the people of Watford, who voted for Brexit like the wider nation, more than three years ago.

"We voted to leave the EU, not for a Withdrawl Agreement tying us to this failing bloc. 

"Richard knows he will not get re-elected and that is why he is not standing. It is a shame that he will be remembered as a traitor to democracy. 

"Let's hope that his Tory replacement is a proper Brexiteer committed to a clean-break Brexit. However, I am ready to hold the Tories to account if they continue to fail the people of Watford." 

Mr Gauke, who has also been expelled from the Conservative Party, has been contacted for comment.