Tories restore whip to MPs suspended over claims of sexual misconduct so they can take part in Theresa May no-confidence vote
The Conservatives reinstated the party whip for two MPs who were suspended over allegations of sexual wrongdoing, just in time for them to take part in tonight’s vote of no confidence in Theresa May.
Charlie Elphicke, suspended over what Tory leaders called “serious allegations”, and Andrew Griffiths, who had the whip removed after bombarding a female constituent with explicit messages, were allowed to take part in the ballot.
Mr Elphicke, who was referred to police over the allegations against him, strongly denies wrongdoing.
The pair were readmitted by the Tories on Wednesday as party whips attempted to secure every possible vote to guarantee Ms May’s future. Government sources denied it was an attempt to influence the outcome of the vote, which Ms May won by a margin of 200 to 117.
The contest was triggered after 48 Conservative MPs wrote to Sir Graham Brady, chair of the 1922 committee of Tory backbenchers, to express no confidence in Ms May.
While Mr Elphicke did not say how he intended to vote in the secret ballot, Mr Griffiths revealed that he would back the prime minister.
He said: “Theresa May has shown huge determination and bravery in negotiating and arguing for her deal.
“I believe she remains the best person to deliver the Brexit people in Burton and Uttoxeter voted for, and I will be supporting her in tonight’s ballot.”
Last month, Mr Griffiths said he had contemplated suicide after being caught sexting barmaid Imogen Treharne and her friend.
The married MP, 48, apologised and resigned as a business minister after it was revealed that he had sent the 28-year-old 2000 texts in just three weeks, including many of an explicit nature.
Mr Elphicke, meanwhile, confirmed he had had the whip reinstated more than a year after being suspended in November 2017.