Ludlow MP Philip Dunne voted against Prime Minister and says issue is not over

Shropshire Conservative MP Philip Dunne has revealed he voted against Boris Johnson, as the Prime Minister survived a damaging vote of confidence.

Philip Dunne MP
Philip Dunne MP

Mr Dunne, MP for Ludlow, told the Shropshire Star he had taken the decision to vote against Mr Johnson after colleagues pushed for the vote – and said he did not believe the issue was settled despite the Prime Minister winning by 211 votes to 148.

Mr Dunne's fellow Conservative, Mark Pritchard, who represents the Wrekin, had said he voted in support of the Prime Minister, while Shrewsbury & Atcham Tory MP Daniel Kawczynski could be seen banging the table as the result was announced by Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee, which administers the vote.

Despite appearing to cheer the result Mr Kawczynski has not confirmed how he voted on the matter.

Responding to the Shropshire Star he said: "A secret ballot prevents intimidation (or inducement) and ensures a more accurate reflection of opinion.

"Given the 1922 always affords a secret ballot of these leadership votes I believe its integrity should be kept."

Telford MP Lucy Allan has not yet confirmed how she voted but said the Prime Minister has a one year "grace period" before another leadership vote can be held, and has the opportunity to win back Conservative MPs and the public.

Montgomeryshire's Craig Williams said prior to the vote that he would support the Prime Minister.

However, former Tory leader, William Hague, who lives near Welshpool, called on Mr Johnson to step down.

Speaking to BBC Radio Shropshire, Mr Dunne had said he had not wanted the ballot to take place – but had decided to vote against Mr Johnson when pressed into a decision.

He said: "I had not wanted a vote to happen this time because I thought he was likely to win it. He did win it, he won it only just, only 32 MPs needed to vote a different way for him to have lost and for there to have been a leadership contest.

"I don't personally think the vote should have happened until after the current by-elections which are in progress, but the vote came, I decided - I have not made a statement about it before - but decided it was time to have a contest."

Mr Dunne had previously voiced concerns about Mr Johnson's leadership in the wake of the Partygate scandal, but had not gone as far as to call for him to step down.

He said: "What changed my mind was we had a vote and therefore I had to make up my mind.

"I thought it would have been better to have had such a vote in the light of the by-election rather than ahead of them but given that the vote was coming I took the view it would be better to try to provide the opportunity for integrity, for a new vision for the party, for a new degree of competence at the heart of government, and I felt that is what we should have had the opportunity to create, and it's not going to happen for now but we will have to see what happens in coming weeks and months, I think this is not over."

Asked if Mr Johnson could continue in the role the Ludlow MP said: "I think he could survive it. He's certainly shown his determination to survive ups and downs before but I think it will depend on events over the coming months.

"He has got some very difficult challenges ahead. I mentioned the by-elections, he's got this privileges committee investigation by parliamentarians into the issue that's triggered this, we have got some very difficult conditions ahead through the economy, we have got challenges with the Northern Irish protocol to resolve, there's some very choppy waters ahead and it is going to be very difficult to navigate."

Mr Dunne said he believed most people had not expected the scale of the rebellion.

He said: "I think it surprised everyone actually. Most people were feeling there were probably about 100 people who would vote against the prime minister but 150 was a surprise."

Writing in The Times, Lord Hague said: "While Johnson has survived the night, the damage done to his premiership is severe."

He added: "Words have been said that cannot be retracted, reports published that cannot be erased, and votes have been cast that show a greater level of rejection than any Tory leader has ever endured and survived."

Ms Allan said: "Following last night’s vote, the Prime Minister now has a one-year grace period before he can be subject to a further vote of confidence.

"That is a window to win back wavering Conservative MPs and win back the voters that delivered the PM a landslide in 2019. Unlike some colleagues, I do not believe that changing the confidence vote rules to enable further or repeat confidence votes is a sustainable way forward, nor would the electorate thank us for it.

"I want to see the Government prioritise a radical tax cutting agenda to relieve the pressure on my constituents’ household budgets. I am concerned that there is too much short-termism in policy-making and would welcome a return to a more conservative approach to the problems this nation faces and a focus on growth. Not every problem can be solved by tax and spend.

"It is also crucial that the Government finds a decisive solution to the issues around the Northern Ireland protocol and continues to support those most under pressure from the rising cost of living.

"These are not insignificant challenges, and it is important we see decisive action from number 10. We need a serious government for serious times.

"If at the end of the one-year grace period a significant number of MPs continue to have no confidence in the Prime Minister’s Leadership, then it would be right to put the matter to the people and hold a general election.”

Top Stories

More from the Shropshire Star

UK & International News