Tory MP claims whip wanted ‘dirt' to ‘blackmail' him into backing May's deal

Johnny Mercer, appearing on BBC One's Have I Got News For You, claimed friends were approached about his Army record.

Conservative MP Johnny Mercer has claimed Army friends were approached in a “blackmail” bid to force him to vote for Theresa May’s Brexit deal.

The MP for Plymouth Moor View, speaking on BBC One’s Have I Got News For You, claimed his friends were asked by whips for “dirt” in order to coerce him into supporting the Prime Minister.

Mr Mercer claims he was told that whips merely wanted to “kick the tyres” and check his military background.

But the MP, who has toured Afghanistan in service, alleged that the deputy chief whip was looking for material to blackmail him.

Mr Mercer said: “The deputy chief whip has decided to go and ask friends of mine that I served with in the military whether or not things in my book were correct.

“When I confronted him about it, he claimed that was his job to ‘kick the tyres’.

“When I spoke to my friend, he hadn’t done anything like that at all – he’d tried to get some dirt and blackmail me to vote for the Prime Minister’s deal in January.”

Host David Tennant asked the MP: “So that’s why they did it – to try and force your vote?”

Mr Mercer replied: “Yeah. Nice place, politics. Why did I sign up?”

Deputy chief whip Christopher Pincher has been contacted for comment regarding the claims.

The Conservative Party has also been asked for comment.

Have I Got News For You is on BBC One on April 26 at 9pm.

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