A pro-Remain Cabinet minister has survived 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.
The victorious MP tweeted his thanks to members, who voted two-to-one against the motion, which had the backing of pro-Brexit campaign group Leave.EU.
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 failed in its aim to “claim our first Cabinet scalp”, with Mr Gauke being put up for “deselection” on Friday evening.
They had 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 won strong public support from Cabinet colleagues, including leadership candidate Jeremy Hunt.
Mr Hunt tweeted: “@DavidGauke is an outstanding cabinet colleague and we need him to carry on doing such a great job!”
Home Secretary Sajid Javid, who also stood in the leadership contest, also offered his support.
Mr Javid tweeted: “.@DavidGauke an outstanding colleague and Minister. Has consistently backed Government & manifesto commitments. I hope his local association back him tonight”
Following the defeat. Leave.EU tweeted: “BREAKING David Gauke survives his confidence vote. Can’t win them all!
“The Blue Wave rides on… Plenty of other petitions going in. We’re just getting started! @CCHQPress”
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.