Cumbrian Conservatives split over Prime Minister’s future

Mark Jenkinson, Trudy Harrison, Dr Neil Hudson and John Stevenson Credit: ITV News/PA Images (Trudy Harrison)

Cumbrian MPs are split over the future of Boris Johnson following the Conservative Party's vote of no-confidence.

Mark Jenkinson, the MP for Workington, voted in support of the Prime Minister in the vote on Monday 6 June, saying it was now time to 'draw a line' under Partygate.

Mr Jenkinson's seat was one claimed from the 'Red Wall' in the 2019 General Election.

He tweeted: "It’s time to draw a line. Boris Johnson retains the support of the Conservatives parliamentary party and now must be allowed to govern.

"We’ve lost two years due to Covid, it's time to come together to deliver on the promises we all made in 2019."

His backing differs from other MPs, such as Bishop Auckland MP Dehenna Davison, who won seats in the northern Red Wall during the last General Election.

The Conservative MP for Copeland, Transport Minister and former Boris Johnson PPS (Parliamentary Private Secretary), Trudy Harrison, also supported the PM.

In a statement released before the vote, she said: "I will be supporting the Prime Minister in this evening’s vote and he continues to have my full confidence as we continue to build back from the pandemic.

"We have already achieved the fastest vaccine roll-out in Europe, the swiftest economic recovery, and the lowest unemployment since 1974.

"There is so much to continue getting on with across Copeland; to tackle the cost of living, create high quality and well paid jobs, complete Towns Fund deals, support farming as we transition from EU rule, and to make sure that Rolls-Royce SMRs come to Copeland."

"On the major issues that are affecting us as we look ahead - Covid recovery, Brexit, UK security, our new nuclear future, multi-million town centre investments, flood prevention and levelling up - it's the PM's bold leadership that is securing a better future for Copeland."

The PM won with just 59% of the vote as a significant 148 Tory MPs said they wanted him replaced - a damaging result for the PM.

A total of 211 Tory MPs supported him out of all 359 who cast their ballots.

John Stevenson, MP for Carlisle voted against the PM, and last week submitted a letter of no-confidence in the PM, which helped trigger the vote.

Speaking to ITV Border's political correspondent he said: "Last night the Prime Minister did win that vote.

"He has the right to carry on as Prime Minister, and I think he will acknowledge that there are concerns on the Parliamentary benches.

"I'm sure he will look to address those, and if he does I think he could unite the party and take us into the next general election, but that's very much for the Prime Minister to decide what he wants to do."

Dr Neil Hudson who represents Penrith and The Border also voted against Boris Johnson.

In statement released on his website he said: "I fully share the country’s and my constituents’ outrage and upset about the Downing Street parties, when people up and down the land were making huge personal and sometimes tragic sacrifices to do the right thing and obey the public health rules. "

He said his decision last night was based on the "honesty and integrity" of politics, but that he respected the outcome of the vote.

Dr Neil Hudson finished his statement saying: "We now need to move forward to do what is best for our country."

Boris Johnson won by a smaller majority than Theresa May received during her no-confidence vote back in 2018.

Despite the narrow victory, the PM claimed his win was "decisive" when speaking to broadcasters after the result was announced.

History shows MPs from Theresa May to John Major and Margaret Thatcher have stepped down following votes of no-confidence, despite having won them.

Cumbria's only non-Conservative MP is the Liberal Democrat Tim Farron who represents Westmorland and Lonsdale.

He thinks this is unlikely.

He said: "A person with a sense of shame would see 41% of his colleagues voting against them as a sign that it’s time to leave… but he’s no sense of shame so I reckon Johnson will be encouraged by this and see the result as licence to keep going."

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