Tobias Ellwood, the head of the defense committee, lost the Conservative whip after failing to vote in favor of the government in a vote of confidence, according to Boris Johnson.
Ellwood, a vocal opponent of Johnson’s actions as prime minister and the MP for Bournemouth East, informed whips that he planned to continue his international travel throughout the vote.
Ellwood will no longer be recognised as a Conservative MP, making him ineligible to vote in the party’s leadership race. In the most recent round of voting on Monday night, Penny Mordaunt, who finished behind Rishi Sunak, received his support.
Following his refusal to back the government in the confidence vote last night, Tobias Ellwood MP has lost the Conservative party whip, according to a representative for the whips office.
Ellwood claimed in a statement that he was unable to get back because of transportation problems. He explained: Due to unprecedented disruption both here and in the UK, I was unable to arrange return travel after my meeting with the president of Moldova yesterday.
Regardless of whether Johnson was leader, a source in the whips office stated that confidence votes needed to be taken very seriously by all MPs and that failing to vote in favor was viewed as failing to support the Conservative party objective.
Despite being slipped—permission given by whips not to attend—Ellwood was warned he may lose the whip if he skipped the vote. Ellwood’s invitation was canceled, but the source claimed that he refused invitations anyhow.
The source claimed Ellwood was advised of the upcoming vote of confidence’s timing and the consequences of his absence.
The source claimed that he had repeatedly been requested to come back and threatened with losing the whip.
Other Conservative MPs postponed overseas travel, stayed with sick family, and one MP continued to show up and cast a ballot despite their mother passing away that morning, according to the source.
However, it remained a mystery as to why 11 other Conservative MPs skipped the vote with no obvious consequences. John Baron, Nusrat Ghani, Tom Hunt, and Johnny Mercer, the recently appointed minister for veterans affairs, were among the lawmakers for whom no vote was recorded.
It is believed that some of the absent Tory MPs were abroad, like Ellwood, but were permitted to be partnered with opposition MPs while they were away.
A government whip source, however, said that those who missed the vote but weren’t on vacation were ill. They noted that Ellwood had not requested authorization to take the trip.
Johnson gave a forceful speech in the discussion before the vote to defend his three years in government and made allusions to a deep state scheme to keep the UK in the EU after he leaves office.
By a margin of 111 votes—349 to 238—the government prevailed. After rejecting a Labour resolution that singled out Johnson, No. 10 made the exceedingly unprecedented decision to call the vote of confidence in itself.
After Johnson indicated that he would continue serving as prime minister until the fall and a new Conservative leader had been appointed, Labour had first stated that it would attempt to arrange a confidence vote.
The Labour proposal’s wording, which indicated disapproval for the administration and the prime minister, was rejected by the government, therefore ministers put out their own motion.