Tory no-deal critic Tobias Ellwood axed from government as Boris Johnson shake-up continues

Posted On: 
26th July 2019

A Conservative defence minister who has been highly critical of plans to leave the European Union without a deal has lost his job under Boris Johnson's ongoing Government reshuffle.

The Bournemouth East MP had indicated that he wanted to continue in government.
Credit: 
PA

Tobias Ellwood -  who campaigned to Remain in the EU in 2016 - said earlier this week that it was the "duty of every MP to support the Prime Minister", signalling that he wished to stay on in post. 

But he confirmed on Friday that he had been ousted from the Government, as he described his stint at the MoD as a "privilege".

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"As I support the new Prime Minister from the backbenches I am committed to furthering the case for increased defence spending and growing our defence capabilities," he said.

The Bournemouth East MP added: "We enter a new era of instability facing ever more complex and diverse threats.

"Britain must develop our hard power if we are too retain our influence on the international stage."

In a tweet announcing his departure, Mr Ellwood wrote the Latin phrase "Si vis pacem, para bellum" - which translatyes as "if you want peace, prepare for war".

Mr Ellwood's sacking comes after he repeatedly warned the candidates for the Conservative leadership against considering a no-deal exit from the European Union.

The new Prime Minister has insisted that he will be willing to leave the European Union with or without a deal on 31 October and this week ordered ministers to ramp up planning for such an outcome.

But Mr Ellwood said last Sunday: "The fact we keep talking about no deal fuels the small caucus of people who see that as their destination. 

"No deal is not a destination. You run away from the EU and say ‘fine we don’t want to have a deal’."

He told Sky News: "You will still have to crawl back literally moments later to say ‘how is our financial services going to operate? How is our operations with peace going to work? How is citizens rights going to work?’"

RESHUFFLE CONTINUES

The ousting came as Number 10 confirmed a string of junior ministerial moves and appointments, following a major clear-out of Theresa May's top team.

George Freeman - who briefly served as Mrs May's policy chief - has been made a minister of state at the Department for Transport, while Baroness Goldie moves from being a Lords whip to a minister of state at the Ministry of Defence.

Lord Ashton of Hyde moves from his role as a culture minister to become chief whip in the Lords.

Elsewhere Nadhim Zahawi will move from education to business, while Home Office minister Nick Hurd becomes a minister of state in the Northern Ireland Office.

Mr Hurd will retain his job as minister for London.

Transport minister Michael Ellis meanwhile steps up to become solicitor general.

Keep track of all the Government appointments with our constantly-updating liveblog