The outspoken British Columbian MLA who unleashed an unprecedented tirade earlier this week after being dismissed from the Liberal cabinet has been kicked out of the Liberal Caucus.

Caucus members voted unanimously to expel former energy minister Bill Bennett at a meeting in Vancouver Friday. Bennett, who was not at the meeting, will now sit as an independent MLA.

Caucus chairman Ron Cantelon says Bennett's statements "went over the line."

The longtime MLA was removed from the Liberal cabinet Wednesday after declaring that Premier Gordon Campbell should step down immediately instead of waiting for a February 2011 leadership vote.

After his firing, Bennett unleashed an almost 40 minute vitriolic diatribe against his former boss, calling Campbell an abusive bully who was patronizing and intimidating to his staff.

Former solicitor general Kash Heed said before today's meeting he would support the dissident minister even though he disagreed with his actions.

Heed added that Campbell likes to be in control but hasn't seen the outrageous behaviour described by the ousted minister.

Social Development Minister Kevin Krueger was less understanding about the situation, saying the Kootenay MLA was among the biggest management issues he ever faced while working as the party's whip.

Keeping a safe distance

Gordon Campbell was quick to distance himself from Bennett and his bullying claims Thursday, saying his longtime employee was "distraught and desperate."

Campbell said he no longer had the support of fellow ministers, and they made the ultimate decision to let him go.

"He's lost the trust of virtually all of his cabinet colleagues and they told him that."

As an independent MLA, Bennett will now join Blair Lekstrom, a former Liberal MLA who quit the party over the much-maligned harmonized sales tax. Vicki Huntington, MLA for Delta South, and Bob Simpson, MLA for Cariboo North, also sit as independents.