New Forest East’s Julian Lewis welcomed back after five months
By Jon Waller
Lymington Times – 8 January 2021
Local Conservatives have praised the reinstatement of New Forest East MP Julian Lewis into the Parliamentary Party after he was kicked out last year. After just over five months in the cold, ardent Brexiter Dr Lewis was welcomed back into the fold on the eve of the UK completing its departure from the EU on 31 December. He was given the boot in July after winning the chairmanship of [the] Intelligence and Security Committee against Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s pick, former cabinet minister Chris Grayling.
Dr Lewis confirmed the news of his return by sharing with the A&T [Lymington Times] a message he sent to his colleagues in the Party. It said:
“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.”
Losing the Party Whip made Dr Lewis an Independent MP, and he was thought to be the first non-Conservative to represent the constituency in its various forms for about a century.
New Forest East Conservative Association chair James Binns responded:
“The Association was both outraged and disappointed upon learning of the Whip being removed in July, giving Julian our full support throughout.
“We have endeavoured, in recent months, to have this remedied and are naturally now overjoyed with this news.”
Dr Lewis has held his current seat since 1997 and was previously chair of the Commons Defence Committee. But he fell out with Party leaders in July [last] year when, according to reports, he voted for himself, along with four Opposition members, to chair the nine-strong Intelligence and Security Committee. Mr Grayling had been seen as the Prime Minister’s choice to lead the prestigious body which, soon after, released the long-awaited report into alleged Russian interference in UK politics.