A senior Tory minister has insisted it was ‘right’ to un-suspend two MPs in time for the vote of confidence in Theresa May.
Hours before the Prime Minister faced a vote of no confidence, Tory MPs Andrew Griffiths and Charlie Elphicke were told by the Conservative Party they were now allowed to take part in the vote.
The whip had been withdrawn from Mr Griffiths in July after he bombarded barmaid Imogen Treharne and a friend with 2,000 sexual texts.
Mr Elphicke was suspended by the Tories 13 months ago after “serious allegations” made against him were referred to the police. He has always denied any wrongdoing.
Asked whether he was “proud” that they’d been allowed back into the Tory fold ahead of the vote, Education Secretary Damian Hinds told Sky News: “In those two cases, those two colleagues were elected as Conservative MPs and they’re there to represent their constituents.
“And so I think it’s right that in the confidence vote that there was, that they be able to be part of that vote as their constituents expect.”
It sparked fury this week, with Labour MP Jess Phillips reading out in the Commons some of the messages Mr Griffiths had sent “about women being beaten”.
During Thursday’s Business Questions to Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom, she started by saying: “She’s so cute, so sweet, I can’t wait to beat her. Can she take a beating?
“Not my words, but the words of the MP for Burton, as he was barraging two of his female constituents with thousands of sexual text messages.
“Last night Mrs Leadsom’s party gave him and the MP for Dover (Mr Elphicke) the whip back without any due process.
“What message does this send about how any process here in this place can ever be trusted?”
Sleazy messages of Tory MP Andrew Griffiths
- “I’m going to bring you to London and do whatever I want to you.”
- “I’m thinking maybe we need a flat for Daddy’s girls. I’m taken by you both. You girls are spectacular.”
- “I’m the daddy with power. I’m the daddy with the naughtiest streak.”
- “I want to be able to lift your skirts over dinner and show my friends.”
- Sent with a selfie outside Buckingham Palace: “Daddy met the future king tonight: but thought of you.”
- “A horny daddy is a generous daddy.”
“If you need money you just need to ask….it’s fine baby, tell me what you want and I will arrange something. But I’m going to need something f**king filthy to put a smile on my face first, I want to see you both naked.”
Would you have thought I was such a naughty man?”
Mr Griffiths, 48, who also resigned as small business minister after the scandal, said he would be backing Mrs May in the vote.
Mr Elphicke, who is believed to have voted against the PM, tweeted on Wednesday: “Important for my constituents to know that, 13 months after having it withdrawn, I have been given back the Conservative Whip.
“I remain as confident as I always have been of clearing my name and will continue to work as hard for Dover & Deal as I always have done.”