Russia report: new intelligence committee chair loses Tory whip but gains respect

Coup: Julian Lewis.

This is very funny indeed – but we may all have cause to be grateful for what has happened.

You will recall that concerns were raised when Boris Johnson nominated Chris “Failing” Grayling – widely held to be one of the stupidest individuals ever to be voted into office – as the chair of Parliament’s important Intelligence and Security Committee.

This is the group that would be responsible for publication of the so-called “Russia Report” on interference by that country in UK politics. The concern was that Grayling would mess up publication of that report. He has a reputation for such things.

The nine-strong committee comprises five Conservatives, three from the Labour Party and one from the SNP.

With a clear Tory majority, it was expected that Grayling would be voted into the chair – but it seems there was a coup.

The Labour and SNP representatives nominated Julian Lewis – a different Tory – for the chair, and his own vote sealed his election. The other Tories voted for Grayling, including Grayling himself.

So Johnson has kicked Lewis out of the Parliamentary Conservative Party – in official language, he has withdrawn the Tory whip.


A senior government source told the BBC that Mr Lewis “has been told by the chief whip that it is because he worked with Labour and other opposition MPs for his own advantage”.

By voting for himself? But wouldn’t Grayling have been working for his own advantage because he voted for himself?

And – considering the concerns about Grayling – isn’t it possible that he was in fact acting in the national interest, rather than “for hiss own advantage”?

You have to be wary of the language these government types use, you know.

It’s clear that Lewis did the right thing. He’ll gain respect for it, in the long run. And he can’t be voted out; the choice has been made.

Perhaps Johnson is just spooked because now the “Russia Report” is likely to be published before Parliament goes into recess on July 22. He has gone to great lengths to keep it away from the public since it was written last October – nine months ago.

Labour committee member Kevan Jones seems to think so:

“There’s no reason why it shouldn’t be. It’s been through both the committee, it’s been agreed through the redaction process, and it’s been agreed by government,” he says.

So it seems Johnson has been foiled.

And Julian Lewis losing the Tory whip is a small price to pay to find out what’s in that report.

Source: Russia report: New intelligence committee chair loses Tory whip – BBC News

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  1. SteveH July 16, 2020 at 12:38 am - Reply

    It would be messy and risky (Boris could lose the vote) but “it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that Downing Street will now seek to put a motion to Parliament removing Lewis from the committee altogether.”

    • SteveH July 17, 2020 at 2:57 am - Reply

      On Thursday in parliament JRM refused, despite being directly challenged twice, to confirm that the Tories wouldn’t attempt to remove the new chair from his post in this way

  2. kateuk July 16, 2020 at 7:39 am - Reply

    As someone said, Failing Grayling can’t even win a rigged election.

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