Sir John Major calls on voters to back candidates running against the Conservatives
Sir John Major has called on voters back candidates standing against the Tories in a bid to stop Boris Johnson winning a Commons majority.
The former Conservative PM said he would personally back David Gauke, Dominic Grieve and Anne Milton - who all left the party over Brexit - if he lived in their constituencies.
Addressing a 'Stop The Brexit Landslide' rally in London, he said: "Let me make one thing absolutely clear: none of them has left the Conservative Party, the Conservative Party has left them."
Sir John's bombshell intervention is the first time a former Prime Minister has urged voters not to support the party they used to lead.
Mr Gauke, Mr Grieve and Ms Milton all lost the Tory whip for voting against the Government to stop a no-deal Brexit.
Each of them is now standing for re-election as indepenedent candidates in the seats they used to represent for the Tories.
In a video address to the rally, Sir John said: "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."
He said Brexit would "affect nearly every single aspect of our lives for many decades to come".
It will make our country poorer and weaker," he said. "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."
The former Tory leader added: "When the nation voted on Brexit they did so on a diet of fiction and undeliverable promises. As the facts become known, it is extraordinary that a new vote is denied: extraordinary, and undemocratic.
"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. So choose the future you believe in – for your own generation and the next."
Tony Blair - who defeated Sir John to become Prime Minister in 1997 - also called on people to vote tactically in their seats to defeat the Tories.
He said: "This Conservative Party which now expels the likes of Michael Heseltine, disowns the statesmanship of John Major, a party whose Chancellor as of July this year is now exiled in the wilderness for having the temerity to say what he knows to be true, namely that a no deal Brexit is a risk no responsible government would take, such a Conservative Party does not deserve to govern unchecked and the country would not be wise to let them.
"It's not Brexit that's getting done. We're getting done. This is the final chance for a final say. It's not one general election but 650 individual ones. Think long. Think hard. Time to choose. Choose wisely."