Ashfield Conservative MP Lee Anderson withdraws support for prime minister Boris Johnson

'We can't go on like that, we've got to set an example for the rest of the country.'

Tory MP Lee Anderson has withdrawn his support for a beleaguered Boris Johnson saying "integrity should always come first and sadly this has not been the case over the past few days".

Mr Anderson, MP for the so-called Red Wall seat of Ashfield in Nottinghamshire since 2019, said in a letter that he had been loyal to the prime minister but events over the last few days left him little option but to change his mind.

In the letter, Mr Anderson highlights the changing position from No10 over the issue of Chris Pincher, the former deputy chief whip appointed by the PM, despite concerns about inappropriate behaviour.

In a statement published today, Mr Anderson has questioned Mr Johnson's integrity.

He writes: "I have remained loyal to the Prime Minister since being elected in 2019.

"I do not hold a position I can resign from so the only thing I can do is make my feelings known to my constituents and party members.

"This statement may upset some people and I am sure some people will be delighted with the demise of our PM but I have a job to do and I must do it with a clear conscience.

"However my position has changed over the past few days since the incident which led to the deputy chief whip (Chris Pincher) losing the party whip."

He said giving Mr Pincher the job, having been told about earlier inappropriate behaviour, was "not a good appointment" by Mr Johnson.

He highlighted the initial denial that the prime minister had been told about earlier allegations and then the change in the government’s position to state that Mr Johnson simply forgot.

"I cannot look myself in the mirror and accept this. It is my belief that our PM has got all the big decisions right and guided us through the most difficult time in my life time and I have always backed him to the hilt.

"That said, integrity should always come first and sadly this has not been the case over the past few days."

It comes as a number of cabinet members switched their jobs on Tuesday night, including Bromsgrove MP Sajid Javid, who resigned as the Health Secretary.

MP for Meriden Saqib Bhatti has resigned from his government roll as a PPS to Mr Johnson.

The vice chair of the Conservative party has also resigned, amid a row over the handling of misconduct claims against ex-Deputy Chief Whip and Tamworth MP Chris Pincher.