US Republicans have voted to oust a top lawmaker, Liz Cheney, from her leadership post over her criticism of former President Donald Trump.
The Wyoming lawmaker, daughter of ex-US Vice-President Dick Cheney, has held the third-ranking post in the House of Representatives since 2019, reports the BBC.
On Tuesday she said her party could not stand for truth if it upheld Trump’s false claims he won the 2020 election.
House Republicans will probably replace her this month with a Trump loyalist.
The move is seen as a sign Trump’s grip on the party is stronger than ever six months after he lost the election.
What happened at the vote?
Ms Cheney’s fate was decided in less than 20 minutes by House Republicans behind closed doors on Wednesday morning.
Colleagues reportedly applauded her leadership tenure, but Ms Cheney drew boos when she spoke during the session and said: “We cannot let the former president drag us backward and make us complicit in his efforts to unravel our democracy.”
The ballot was not recorded but lawmakers cast an overwhelming voice vote in favour of removing Ms Cheney from her post.
Immediately following her removal, she told reporters: “I will do everything I can to ensure that the former president never again gets anywhere near the Oval Office.”
Ms Cheney has repeatedly condemned Trump over his unfounded claims the 2020 vote was stolen from him.
Fellow Republican lawmakers say she is relitigating the past while they want to move on and focus on the next election.
Reacting to the news of Ms Cheney’s removal from leadership, Trump released a statement attacking her as “a bitter, horrible human being” and “a talking point for Democrats”.
Revelling in the Republican strife, the Democratic leader of the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, lavished praise on Ms Cheney as a leader of great courage, patriotism and integrity”.
Why was Cheney in trouble?
Her political fall from grace stems from the aftermath of the Capitol riots on January 6, when Trump supporters stormed Congress.
She was one of 10 members of her party who voted days later with Democrats to impeach the then-president for incitement of insurrection. He was acquitted in the Republican-controlled Senate.
Accusing her of disloyalty, rank-and-file House Republicans held a vote a month later on unseating Ms Cheney from her role as party conference chair.
But the party’s leader in the lower chamber, Kevin McCarthy, advised colleagues at the time against removing her. She survived the secret ballot by 145-61. Since then she has continued to upbraid Trump.
The final straw for many party colleagues seems to have been her anti-Trump broadside last week in a Washington Post op-ed. After its publication, McCarthy and his deputy, Republican whip Steve Scalise, began taking steps to oust Ms Cheney.
McCarthy was recently caught on a hot mic telling a Fox News presenter: “I’ve had it with her. You know, I’ve lost confidence.”