OXFORDSHIRE'S Conservatives were split on whether the next prime minister should be able to suspend parliament.

Wantage MP Ed Vaizey voted in favour of blocking the country's next leader from 'proroguing' the institution, in order to force through a no deal Brexit.

As well as Oxford's Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs, Layla Moran and Anneliese Dodds, Mr Vaizey was joined by 17 Conservatives – including three cabinet ministers and, remarkably, the Chancellor - in rebelling against the government.

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The motion, which aimed to block suspension between October 9 and December 18, was opposed by Witney's Robert Courts and Henley's John Howell, but still passed by 41 votes.

The front runner to be the next prime minister, Boris Johnson, has not ruled out suspending Parliament, as part of his pledge to push Brexit through 'come what may' on October 31.

There are concerns amongst his supporters that MPs could block no deal, delaying Britain's departure - which is still plausible, despite this latest government defeat in the House of Commons.

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Banbury's Victoria Prentis was one of 30 Tory MPs absent from the vote last Thursday.

Mr Vaizey retweeted a series of sympathetic responses to his decision to vote against the party whip, and the resignation letter of one government minister.

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The Chancellor, Phillip Hammond, added in a tweet: "It should not be controversial to believe that Parliament be allowed to sit, and have a say, during a key period in our country's history."

The other leadership contender, Jeremy Hunt, has said he would not prorogue parliament.