Tobias Ellwood faces vote to oust him as Defence Committee chair within days after MPs branded him a ‘f***ing idiot’ over ‘Taliban propaganda’ video
Tobias Ellwood faces a vote to oust him as Defence Committee chair within days after sparking fury with a ‘Taliban propaganda video’.
The Tory MP is expected to make his case to colleagues for keeping the prestigious role at a meeting this afternoon.
But critics believe a ballot could go ahead from tomorrow – when a 10-day notice period for tabling a no-confidence motion will end.
Four members of the committee have called a formal vote on sacking the former minister despite him apologising and deleting extraordinary footage of a trip to Afghanistan this summer.
In the video posted on social media Mr Ellwood praised the ‘vastly improved’ security situation and urged the restoration of diplomatic ties.
Mr Ellwood admitted he ‘got it wrong’ and his positive messages about the new regime – which has stripped women of rights and been accused of persecuting opponents – could have been ‘better worded’.
However, members branded him a ‘f***ing idiot’ and said he could not continue as chair – as post which brings a £17,000 a year salary bump.
The motion was tabled on July 19 by Tories Mark Francois and Richard Drax, along with Labour’s Kevan Jones and Derek Twigg.
It is believed to be the first time the mechanism has been used since elections for chairs were introduced in 2010.
Under Commons procedural rules, 10 days has to expire between the no-confidence motion being tabled and being endorsed by members – either unanimously or through a vote.
If the motion is passed by the committee the Speaker declares the chair vacant and calls an election for a replacement, which must happen at least 10 sitting days later.
Opponents believe that several others on the 11-strong group would vote to remove Mr Ellwood.
In his apology, the former soldier said: ‘However well intentioned, reflections of my personal visit could have been better worded.
‘I am sorry for my poor communication. 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.’
Mr Ellwood said losing his brother in the 2002 Bali bombing drew him to visit Afghanistan ‘many times over the last decade’.
‘During my visit last week, I witness something I did not expect to see – an eerie calm and a visible change in security, corruption and opium growth which I felt obliged to report,’ he said.
‘But I also saw a very vulnerable economy that will soon collapse without international intervention, turning this country into a failed state with terrorist camps no doubt returning and triggering mass migration.
‘I also saw the increasing restrictions on women and girls. This suggests out current strategy; of shouting from afar, after abruptly abandoning the country in 2021, is not working. My simple call to action was to see our embassy reopen again and pursue a more direct strategy to help the 40million people that we abandoned.’