Tobias Ellwood MP stripped of Tory party whip after abstaining in confidence vote

19 July 2022, 10:02 | Updated: 19 July 2022, 10:26

Tobias Ellwood tweeted yesterday that he was in Moldova
Tobias Ellwood tweeted yesterday that he was in Moldova. Picture: Twitter

By Asher McShane

Senior MP Tobias Ellwood has been stripped of the Conservative Party whip after he abstained in the support of confidence vote in the Government, the Tory whips have said.

A spokeswoman for the Tory Whips Office said: "Tobias Ellwood MP has lost the Conservative Party whip following his failure to vote in support of the Government in the confidence vote last night."

Mr Ellwood tweeted yesterday that he was in Moldova, around 100 miles away from Odesa, Ukraine, to talk to the country's president.

Other MPs cancelled foreign trips to take part in the vote.

The act of vengeance means the long-time critic of the Prime Minister will no longer be able to vote alongside fellow MPs in the Conservative leadership election.

Mr Ellwood, the former minister who chairs the Commons Defence Committee, was kicked out of the parliamentary Tory party after abstaining in Monday's confidence vote.

Mr Ellwood said he is "very sorry" to lose the Tory whip but argued he was unable to return from a meeting with the president of Moldova due to "unprecedented disruption".

In a statement, the senior MP said: "Following my meeting yesterday with the president of Moldova I was unable to secure return travel due to unprecedented disruption both here and in the UK.

"I am very sorry to lose the whip but will now continue my meetings in Ukraine promoting the Prime Minister's efforts here and specifically seeking to secure the reopening of Odesa port - so vital grain exports can recommence."