MICHAEL Heseltine has had the Tory whip suspended after saying he would vote Liberal Democrat in this week's European elections, the Conservative Party has announced.

The former Deputy Prime Minister’s declaration led to Tory colleagues to call for him to be expelled from the party.

Conservative Brexiteer Andrew Bridgen said backing another party broke his party’s rules while his colleague Conor Burns insisted that "discipline needs to be enforced".

The Europhile peer defended his decision to vote for the Lib Dems in this week’s Euro-poll, saying it was a "matter of conscience".

A spokesman for the Tories said: "Lord Heseltine has given more than half a century of service to the Conservative Party and his longstanding and sincerely held views on Europe are well understood.

"But, with his long experience, he will know that publicly endorsing the candidates of another party is not compatible with taking the Conservative whip in Parliament.

"As a result, the Chief Whip in the House of Lords has informed Lord Heseltine that he will have the Conservative whip suspended. This will be reviewed if he is willing to support Conservative candidates at future elections."

The 86 year-old politician, who served in the Thatcher and Major governments, said he would resist any attempt to force him out of the party.

"I said quite clearly that I'm lending my support to the Liberal Democrat candidate," Lord Heseltine told the BBC.

"I'm not going to leave the Conservative Party and I'm not going to resign the Conservative whip; that's where my natural home is.

"But I'm not prepared to indulge in this act of national sacrifice by voting for Brexit," he added.