Tobias Ellwood U-turns on decision to abstain on Partygate vote after hearing messages from LBC listeners

18 June 2023, 14:44 | Updated: 18 June 2023, 15:38

Tobias Ellwood changes his plans and will no longer abstain from Partygate vote

By Alice Bourne

Tory MP Tobias Ellwood has changed his plans and now intends to vote in support of the Partygate inquiry tomorrow following a frank discussion with Sangita Myska and hearing messages from her listeners.

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Tobias Ellwood defended his position to abstain from tomorrow’s vote saying: "Many MPs just want to get back to the bigger issues, Boris Johnson has gone, we want to get back to work."

He elaborated that his abstention was to avoid “this pantomime from dragging on.”

Sangita, unimpressed by this, responded: “You can move on on Tuesday, tomorrow you’re all expected to turn up and debate it, aren’t you?”

She concluded: “This is a story that we are all talking about, because it is a major piece of political choreography. Tomorrow what will you be doing Tobias?

He said: “I am actually taking the defence committee on an important visit to Portsmouth, if I’m back in time I’ll support the report but I’m not going out of my way.”

Sangita then passionately: “Why not? You are a man that has come on this radio station and stood up for integrity in politics. Many people look up to you and the moment you need to be in the House of Commons tomorrow and ensure that the public sees that Conservative MPs are standing up for standards in political life by being there when this debate takes place… you're saying you can’t guarantee that you’ll be there.

READ MORE: Michael Gove apologises for 'terrible' Partygate video showing staff dancing and mocking lockdown rules

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John Stevens predicts Rishi Sunak will steer clear of the Commons for partygate motion

Sangita then read out some messages from her listeners.

- Simon: “I cannot believe what I’m hearing from Tobias Ellwood, this pantomime will end tomorrow with the damning vote on the practices of Boris Johnson. He’s casting a feeling of doubt over the vote by abstaining, I’m extremely disappointed.”

- Jules: “Please let Tobias know he has lost my vote if he does not turn up tomorrow.”

Sangita then asked again: “This is not something that is being constructed by the media, I’ll ask you once again - do you think it is in the interest of the Conservative Party for the Prime Minister to turn up and look as though he meant what he said when he stood on the doorstep of number ten and asked for trust?”

Tobias Ellwood then said: “I’m moved by what I hear I will now change my plans for tomorrow, I will change my plans and come back early and vote to support the privileges committee.

“I’m happy to be persuaded by good people that listen to your show and who expect high standards and you’re right if I can’t emulate those high standards where do we go.”

Listen to Sangita Myska every weekend 1pm to 4pm on Global Player

This comes after Cabinet minister Michael Gove has said he will abstain from voting on the report which found Boris Johnson lied to MPs over Partygate because he disagrees with its conclusion.

The Levelling Up Secretary claimed the Privileges Committee's finding that the former Prime Minister should have been suspended from Parliament for 90 days was "not merited".

Sangita Myska says it's 'undoubtedly' in public interest to pursue people who broke lockdown rules.

He refused to be drawn on whether he believed the Prime Minister should back the report, saying it is a matter for "each individual" MP to decide for themselves.

However, former Conservative minister Justine Greening urged MPs to "get behind" the committee's work and recognise that political leaders cannot be "allowed to get away with" misleading the Commons.

READ MORE: 'They've shattered everybody's trust': Andrew Castle says Tories 'should be out for at least two terms'

The report recommended that Mr Johnson should have faced a 90-day suspension for committing repeated contempt of Parliament had he not resigned before its judgment.

Though he cannot now serve that penalty, the cross-party group of MPs chaired by Labour's Harriet Harman also recommended that he be banned from holding a pass to access Parliament following a series of offences.