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Tobias Ellwood stripped of the whip

19 July 2022

7:11 PM

19 July 2022

7:11 PM

Oh dear. It seems that not all Tory MPs got the memo about last night’s no-confidence vote. Tobias Ellwood, a longtime Johnson critic, skipped out on the vote – despite a three-line whip for all Conservatives to stay and support the government. The opposition parties ended up losing by 349 votes to 238 but Tory whips aren’t happy with the Defence Select Committee chairman.

Ellwood was on a trip abroad to Moldova on committee business, a decision he made despite being warned of the consequences last Wednesday, according to Tory party sources. One told Henry Zeffman of the Times: ‘Other Conservative MPs cancelled foreign trips, left poorly relatives and one MP’s mother died on the morning of the vote and still attended and voted.’ For Ellwood, visiting Eastern Europe is presumably more important at the moment than staying in Westminster for a confidence vote where the result was a foregone conclusion.


Few tears will be shed in No. 10 about the decision – especially when one considers this afternoon’s leadership ballot to elect Johnson’s successor. The race for number two behind Rishi Sunak is extremely tight, with eleven votes separating Penny Mordaunt and Liz Truss yesterday. Many of Johnson’s allies like Nadine Dorries and Jacob Rees-Mogg are loudly backing Truss; Ellwood was a public backer of Mordaunt.

In such a close race, every vote matters. Roll on 3 p.m when the ballot results are announced…

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