By Jon Waller
Lymington Times Online — 30 December 2020
A delighted Julian Lewis has been welcomed back into the Parliamentary Conservative Party fold – having been effectively kicked out following a controversial committee vote. Dr Lewis, the New Forest East MP, confirmed the news this morning and shared with the Advertiser & Times a message he had sent to his colleagues in the Party.
“I’m pleased to let you know that, following a rather gracious letter from the Chief Whip shortly before the Recess, the Conservative Whip has been restored to me.
“It’s good to see that the Season of Goodwill is alive and thriving in the Government Whips’ Office – and that I shall be able to vote for a real Brexit under the banner of our Party.”
Dr Lewis is an experienced Conservative MP and former [shadow] defence minister who has held his current seat since 1997. However, he fell out with its leaders in July this year and was removed from the parliamentary Tories for thwarting the government’s plan to install its preferred candidate as chair of a key House of Commons committee.
According to reports, Dr Lewis voted for himself along with four Opposition members of the nine-strong Intelligence and Security Committee to take the key role ahead of former cabinet minister Chris Grayling. Mr Grayling had been seen as Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s choice to lead the prestigious body which [was] responsible for releasing a long-awaited report into alleged Russian interference in UK politics.
Although Dr Lewis remained a member of the Tory Party, he lost the whip in the Commons, meaning he effectively became an Independent member of parliament. He was thought to be the first non-Conservative MP for more than 100 years to represent a New Forest constituency in their various forms.
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'BACK IN THE FOLD: JOHNSON RETURNS WHIP TO REBEL TORY'
Daily Telegraph – 30 December 2020
Boris Johnson has restored his 80–seat Parliamentary majority after returning the whip to an MP who defied orders when he was elected to chair a key committee.
Julian Lewis, the MP for New Forest East, has been sitting as an independent since falling out with Downing Street in July. He stood against – and defeated – Chris Grayling, Number 10's preferred choice for the role of chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee.