Tobias Ellwood has resigned as chairman of the defense committee ahead of an expected no-confidence vote, citing comments about Afghanistan that were “understandably criticized”.
The conservative former defense minister faced a backlash from members of the group in the summer after he claimed that security in the country had “significantly improved” and “corruption had declined” following the return of the Taliban.
He has called on Britain to reopen its embassy in Kabul after the European Union re-established a physical presence in the area last year.
A subsequent apology did not stop members of the cross-party committee from removing him from the senior role with a motion of no confidence on July 19.
In a resignation statement, Mr. Ellwood said he believed he retained the support of the majority of the committee, but a lack of unanimous support would prove distracting from his work.
Fellow Tory MPs Mark Francois and Richard Drax tabled the motion alongside Labour’s Kevan Jones and Derek Twigg.
In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, Mr Ellwood said: “It is with great regret that I have tendered my resignation as Chair of the Defense Committee. I believe I have a strong voice when it comes to defense and security. I stand up, speak out, try to see the bigger picture and offer solutions, especially on the international stage as our world faces a dangerous turn.”
He added: “I don’t always get it right – so it’s right that I raise my hand when I don’t get it right. The poor communication in the summer calling for greater international engagement in Afghanistan was understandably criticized at the time and had a negative impact on the committee.
“While I believe I am losing the support of the majority of the committee, its momentum and effectiveness simply would not be the same and would be a distraction if everyone in the room did not support the chair.”
A 10-day meeting deadline for confidence motions was due to expire on Thursday and Mr Ellwood had expected he would come under pressure to retain his chairmanship.
He said he was “proud of the powerful investigations” the committee had produced and described leading its review as a “huge privilege”.
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Source : www.thelondoneconomic.com