Tobias Ellwood has quit as defence committee chairman ahead of an expected vote of no confidence, he has confirmed.
In a statement posted on X, formerly Twitter, the MP wrote: “It is with deep regret that I have tendered my resignation as chairman of the defence committee.
“It has been a huge privilege to lead the scrutiny of the government’s defence and security policy in Parliament these last three years.”
He added: “I believe I have a strong voice when it comes to defence and security. I stand up, speak my mind, try to see the bigger picture and offer solutions, especially on the international stage, as our world turns a dangerous corner.
“I don’t always get it right – so it’s right I put my hand up when I don’t. Poor communications, during the summer, in calling for greater international engagement in Afghanistan was understandably criticised at the time and reflected poorly on the committee.
“I look forward to continue campaigning for my constituents in Bournemouth East and making the case for further UK statecraft on the international stage.”
The Conservative former defence minister had faced a backlash over the summer from fellow committee members after claiming that security in Afghanistan has “vastly improved” and “corruption is down” since the fundamentalists returned in 2021.
He has called for Britain to reopen its embassy in Kabul, following on from the European Union re-establishing a physical presence in the territory last year.
A subsequent apology had not prevented members of the cross-party committee seeking to remove him from the high-profile role, with a no confidence motion submitted on July 19.
A notice period of 10 sitting days for such confidence motions was due to expire on Thursday and Ellwood had expected to come under pressure to retain his chairmanship.
Fellow Tory MPs Mark Francois and Richard Drax had joined Labour’s Kevan Jones and Derek Twigg in submitting the motion.
Press Association – by Dominic McGrath