MINISTERS who broke constitutional convention and abstained on Wednesday night’s no-deal vote should be ashamed of themselves, North Wiltshire MP James Gray has said.

He name-checked Devizes MP Claire Perry as one of the “gang” of 12 ministers not to vote on the motion, opposed by the government, that the UK should under no circumstances leave the EU with no deal.

In his latest letter to constituents, the Conservative politician branded former work and pensions minister Sarah Newton as honourable for resigning her government role after voting against the prime minister.

Mr Gray added: “The rest should be ashamed of themselves. The end result of their culpable disloyalty is that Brexit is suddenly starting to look increasingly unlikely.”

The MP campaigned in 2016 for Britain to leave the European Union. He is a member of the Jacob Rees-Mogg-led European Research Group, a group of Eurosceptic Tory backbench MPs.

Following this week’s votes, Mr Gray said he planned to vote for the prime minister’s Brexit deal if it were brought before the House of Commons next week.

“There comes a time in any war when the losing side has to recognise defeat and seek to extract the best possible terms for their troops. The End Game, as it is known in chess,” he told constituents.

“My expectation is that when the same old deal is brought back before us next week, I for one, and I hope enough of my ERG colleagues to make it pass, will march through the Ayes lobby in support of the deal, with our heads held high having fought a good fight. It’s not what we wanted, but it now looks like the best we can actually get.”

NOT often seen in the same sentence, Labour MP candidate Sarah Church and Wiltshire Tory James Gray find they have something in common.

Ms Church, Labour's prospective parliamentary candidate for South Swindon, dismissed as farce Wednesday night's no-deal Brexit votes. 

“Surely it’s time for the political game-playing to stop," she said. "I thought the so-called moderate Tories would rather resign than countenance a no-deal Brexit - only one had the backbone.”

That minister, Sarah Newton, stepped down from her department for work and pensions role. Fellow DWP minister Justin Tomlinson, North Swindon MP, called Ms Newton "a friend and a good minister".

"While I don't share her view, she has as ever acted honourably to reflect her strongly-held beliefs," he added.

Devizes MP Claire Perry said she had abstained from voting on the main no-deal motion after speaking to government whips.  In a message to constituents, she said: "If Brexit is is entirely because so-called Brexiteers in the Commons have refused to join those of us who have consistently voted for the prime minister’s good deal."