BREXIT rebel Rory Stewart hopes the door will reopen for him to stand as a Conservative at the next general election.

The Penrith and the Border MP had his party’s whip removed last week after defying an order to vote with the Government to stop a no-deal departure being taken off the table.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered the action against Mr Stewart, who stood against him for the party leadership, and 20 other rebel MPs - a move which means he could not be selected as the Conservative candidate for his seat if a widely-anticipated snap general election is called.

Now sitting as an independent, Mr Stewart spent the weekend in his constituency as the Brexit debate continued and Tory divisions deepened, with Amber Rudd quitting her Cabinet post as work and pensions secretary and launching a broadside against the Government’s efforts to negotiate a leave deal.

Speaking before launching the Reiver Ride around parts of the historic debatable lands in rural north Cumbria, the former international development secretary said: “It’s marvellous to be back, but there’s a terrible sense of uncertainty.

“I have been deselected as a Conservative, which means I am not going to be allowed to stand as a Conservative, which is what I want to do.

“We’re doing our best to talk to Number 10 to try and sort this out.”

Mr Stewart described the reaction he has had from constituents as “very warm”, adding: “People came out to see me in Wigton and Penrith to say they’re supporting me.

“I also have support from some in the constituency Conservative association and there are some who have said they will resign if I cannot stand.”

Mr Stewart has said he may run as an independent if the Tory ban is not lifted, but added: “I want to run as a Conservative. I am grateful for the support I have had from the local association.”

The Penrith and the Border Constituency Conservative Association will meet this week to discuss candidate selection.

Members are understood to be split on personal levels about whether dismissing Mr Stewart as a candidate is a mistake, with high-profile figures including association president Robert Craig speaking out in support of him.

As things stand - with Mr Stewart not holding the party whip - they would be barred from selecting him.

No potential other potential Conservative candidates have yet made their intentions public.

Amid the debate on the rebels’ decision, Mr Stewart pointed out Mr Johnson’s own record in going against the party whip when Theresa May was trying to push her Brexit bill through Parliament.

“He himself voted three times against and nobody deselected him. We have voted against once and have been deselected,” he added.

Speaking in front St Cuthbert’s Church at Bewcastle - site of a former Roman fort north of Longtown - Mr Stewart pointed out the potential harmful impact of a hard Brexit on the farming industry and said: “I believe in delivering Brexit. I just want to deliver a sensible, moderate Brexit that works for areas such as this.”