Defence committee chair warns against Putin and does not rule out future Tory leadership candidacy

Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood has not not ruled himself out of a future party leadership contest.

Mr Ellwood, who chairs the Defence Select Committee, however stressed that he has not been blackmailed by a Government whip.

His remarks come after his fellow backbench MP William Wragg yesterday alleged that several MPs expressing opposition to Boris Johnson have received “pressures and intimidation” following the ongoing Downing Street parties scandal.

Ellwood is considered to be on the left of the Conservative Party. He supported Matt Hancock and Rory Stewart in the 2019 Conservative leadership election, and backed Remain in the 2016 EU referendum.

Speaking with TalkRadio this morning, Mr Ellwood explained: “There are all sorts of methods that they use to encourage people to act the right way,”

“I’m sorry to read what’s been happening here. I understand that the Cabinet Secretary recommended that these are looked into.

“I would just say that my party, the government, is going through a difficult time.”
He also affirmed that he had not sent a letter of no confidence to 1922 committee chair Sir Graham Brady.

While Ellwood said there was currently “no vacancy…”at the moment” for Tory leader, he did not rule out a future candidacy Adding: “I’m not going to speculate about that.”

He also spoke on the current build up of Russian forces on the Ukrainian border, saying that the UK’s opportunity to stand up to Russia has “come and gone”.

“It [Ukraine] is part of Europe and there are consequences if we allow a chunk of that to be taken,” Ellwood went on.

“The threat is genuine and this is all about Putin trying to look strong as a distraction from his own domestic issues,” he explained.