Northampton South MP Andrew Lewer: Why I joined 148 Tories wanting to oust Prime Minister Boris Johnson in confidence vote

‘Everyone makes mistakes and often they should be allowed to move on... but an ingrained pattern of behaviour and a culture that has developed around it is a different matter’

Tuesday, 7th June 2022, 8:53 am

Northampton MP Andrew Lewer says he voted to oust Prime Minster Boris Johnson because “public trust and integrity must be restored.”

In a statement after the PM won a confidence ballot among Conservative MPs on Monday night (June 6), Mr Lewer added: “I have been bitterly disappointed and dismayed at the erosion of public trust” following the Partygate scandal.

He told his Northampton South constituents: “The issues of being straight with Parliament and of adhering to the Ministerial Code have also had a significant bearing.

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“It is not just about ‘a Party’ or ‘work related events.’

"Everyone makes mistakes and often they should be allowed to move on.

"But an ingrained pattern of behaviour and a culture that has developed around it is a different matter."

Mr Lewer was among 148 Tories — 41 percent — who voted against the PM in a secret ballot.

Northampton South MP Andrew Lewer revealed he voted to oust Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Monday's confidence vote

He added: “Although it is a secret ballot, I have taken the view that I ought to be open and clear about my decision.

■ Read Andrew Lewer’s statement in full HERE

“I was not willing to vote for the Prime Minister in today’s Confidence vote.

“It has been over six months since the Partygate allegations first emerged and then the Civil Service inquiry led by Sue Gray was announced.

"Although, like most people, I formed a view over the allegations, I stated that I would not make any public pronouncements about the PM’s future until the completion of the report when all the facts could be fully established.

“The Sue Gray Report has now been published in full and my initial conclusions were unfortunately confirmed in it.

“I have been bitterly disappointed and dismayed at the erosion of public trust in government and the civil service that this sorry affair has caused, especially with the great pressing problems of inflation, rising energy costs and a major war in Europe to contend with.

"It is clear to me that this issue in terms of its wider implications will not go away and so I was not able to support the Prime Minister in the confidence vote today, even in the knowledge that he would probably win the vote.

“I took the view that public trust and integrity must be restored and the Prime Minister should consider his position in light of this.”

Among other county MPs, Northampton North’s Michael Ellis and Wellingborough’s Peter Bone both indicated ahead of the ballot that they would side with Mr Johnson.

Mr Bone tweeted on Monday: “The Prime Minister has my 100 percent support. He has got all the big calls right.

“I have spoken to my Conservative association chairman, Deputy chairman, voluntary agent and CWCC chairwoman all are fully behind Boris!”

South Northamptonshire MP Dame Andrea Leadsom issued a statement last week blaming the PM for "unacceptable failings of leadership that cannot be tolerated" over Partygate.

The former business secretary stopped short of calling for a leadership contest but warned: “Each of my Conservative MP colleagues and I must now decide individually on what is the right course of action that will restore confidence in our government.”

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