Canada's prime minister has thrown two MPs from his party's party presidency after accusing him of involvement in a criminal case involving an influential corporation.
Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott had already resigned from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's cabinet, citing their concerns over the SNC-Lavalin affair.
Now they were expelled months before the parliamentary elections from the liberal party of Trudeau.
The SNC-Lavalin controversy has cast a shadow over Mr. Trudeau's leadership.
Oppositional Conservative leader Andrew Scheer said Tuesday that the prime minister betrayed the judiciary by removing two corruption pipers.
Trudeau repeatedly spoke about the collapse of trust between Ms. Wilson-Raybould and Ms. Philpott and his associates.
"The trust that has been between these two people and our team has been broken," Trudeau told the media shortly afterwards
"If they can not honestly say they have confidence in this team … then they can not be part of this team. "
Ms. Philpott vocalized her concerns about the government and gave an interview in a national magazine last month, in which she said, "There is much more to the story that needs to be told."
Mr. Trudeau said his decision was prompted by the revelation that Ms. Wilson-Raybould had secretly conconverted herself. She had teamed up with Canada's former top critic, who had publicly released her on Friday.
Ms. Wilson-Raybould said the tapes supported her claim that government officials had unduly pressurized her to protect SNC-Lavalin from persecution.
What is the SNC-Lavalin affair?
The Canadian company is accused of bribing officials in Libya to win contracts under Muammar Gaddafi's regime.
SNC-Lavalin has openly committed to an agreement that will allow them to avoid prosecution or take measures such as a fine.
Ms. Wilson-Raybould said members of Mr. Trudeau's circle urged her to make a deal, and when she did not, she was removed from her position as Minister of Justice.
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Mr Trudeau has repeatedly denied that he or his officials have committed misconduct.
How will this affect the autumn election? 1
9659018] The political controversy that has been dragging on for weeks has meant that the popularity of Mr Trudeau has declined sharply in the polls a few months before the parliamentary elections.
He said he rejected the women from the caucus to put an end to bouts he had sworn when he was elected in 2014.
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"Civil wars within the parties are harmful because they signal to Canadians that we care more about them than about them," he said he on Tuesday.
How did the two MEPs react?
Both women had said that they would run for the next parliamentary election once again under a liberal banner, and expressed their dismay that they will no longer be part of the party.
Ms. Philpott said she would be an Independent until her term in office
She reaffirmed her belief that the government was putting undue pressure on Ms. Wilson-Raybould and criticized the government for attacking the credibility of Ms. Wilson-Raybould.
"It's not about lack of loyalty," she said Tuesday evening in a statement. "On the contrary, I recommended that the government acknowledge what is happening to move forward, which was an expression of loyalty, not fidelity."
Ms. Wilson-Raybould said she had "no regrets".