Maldon MP Sir John Whittingdale rules out possibility of general election amid 'shambles' at Westminster, as PM Liz Truss resigns

By Ben Shahrabi

20th Oct 2022 | Local News

Sir John Whittingdale told Nub News there was 'no question' that Liz Truss had lost the confidence of the Parliamentary party.
Sir John Whittingdale told Nub News there was 'no question' that Liz Truss had lost the confidence of the Parliamentary party.

Maldon's Conservative MP, Sir John Whittingdale, has said he felt the resignation of Prime Minister Liz Truss this afternoon (October 20) had become 'inevitable'.

The embattled PM resigned just 45 days into the job, following controversy over her mini budget, ministerial resignations, and accusations of 'intimidation' in Westminster.

Sir John told Nub News: "I supported her in the latter stages of the contest [but] I think she made some very serious mistakes."

When Liz Truss took charge in September, Sir John said he was 'pleased' she had been elected and believed she had "the right approach for this country".

Today, however, the MP said: "The decision to essentially appoint people who had supported her - but had little experience – and to exclude a large number of the more experienced and senior figures, simply because they voted for Rishi [Sunak], was a big mistake."

"That did not unite the party, which - normally - new leaders do."

Sir John arrived in the UK yesterday, following a trip to Rwanda for the 145th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly.

He was 'instructed' by the whip's office not to take part in a vote last night, which was originally about fracking but turned into a confidence vote in the government.

The chaotic scenes in Westminster led Commons Speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, to call for an investigation into alleged intimidation during the vote.

Sir John described the 'shambles' of yesterday's events, saying: "The day began with the dismissal of one of the senior aides in Number 10, the Home Secretary resigning by the afternoon; and then, in the evening, we had this incredibly damaging display.

"MPs were bound to react very badly.

"There is no question that the Prime Minister had lost the confidence of the Parliamentary party, which is why she reached the conclusion that she couldn't continue."

"There is no question that the Prime Minister had lost the confidence of the Parliamentary party, which is why she reached the conclusion that she couldn't continue."

Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson is said to be considering a comeback, after he resigned last month.

Sir John said: "I was always a supporter of Boris and I think that one of the causes of our present position was the panic which led to his departure.

"I've already had a number of contacts from my constituency, with people saying, 'He should never have gone – bring him back'."

"Maldon has always been a strong Boris-supporting area, as they were with Margaret Thatcher, so I'm not surprised by that."

"Maldon has always been a strong Boris-supporting area, as they were with Margaret Thatcher, so I'm not surprised by that.

"I think Boris is a person of great talent, whose record on issues like the war in Ukraine and the COVID pandemic show he's actually pretty good."

In July, Sir John told Nub News there was 'absolutely no alternative' to Boris Johnson resigning, saying it was "clear he simply couldn't continue".

Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, has called for an 'immediate' general election, as it looks as though the Conservative Party membership will elect the country's second Prime Minister in as many months.

Sir John said there were 'absolutely' no calls for an election from within his party, saying: "The calls are coming from the Labour Party, the SNP and the Liberal Democrats.

"Of course they want an election – which opposition party is not going to say they want an election?

"There is no question that, if the party unites with whoever emerges from this, we have a majority and can deliver stable government."

Sir John conceded this was indeed the first time the UK had experienced two such changes in a short space of time but defended the 'very well-established' principle that the Prime Minister could be chosen without a general election.

     

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