Devon MP Anne Marie Morris 'deeply disappointed' after Tory whip suspended

Tories remove whip from Anne Marie Morris over support for energy VAT cut motion

The Tories have removed the whip from Anne Marie Morris after she rebelled to support a move to cut VAT on energy bills.

Newton Abbot MP Anne Marie Morris says she is "deeply disappointed" at having the whip suspended for "simply standing up for constituents".

She now sits as an independent MP - but can still be a member of the Tory party.

The MP was the only Conservative to vote with opposition parties on Tuesday night to cut taxes on household energy bills throughout the winter.

The plans referred to cutting VAT to reduce the costs to families as energy prices are predicted to rise significantly during this year.

Many of our Conservative MPs actually agree with the suggestion of slashing taxes on energy bills, however, they did not vote for the motion last night because of the small print in it.

They argue the wording of the motion actually gave MPs the power to force business of the House of Commons to legislate on the tax cut - when in fact Commons rules say only the Government can control the business of the House of Commons and not backbench MPs or the opposition.

A similar style motion was used in the closing days of the Theresa May administration when MPs could not agree over Brexit policy.

That is the reason, Government sources argue is the reason why the Newton Abbot MP lost her whip.

In a statement, Anne Marie Morris said: "It is deeply disappointing to have had the whip removed by the Government, especially on a matter of simply standing up for what I believed to be the best interests of my constituents.

"Yesterday’s Opposition Day debate on removing VAT on household energy bills was an issue that I have voiced my support for a number of times, not least in my weekly column on Monday.

"I believe removing VAT is the right thing to do and I won’t apologise for supporting measures that would help my hard-working constituents at a time when the cost of living is rising.

Composite stills of Anne Marie Morris, MP for Newton Abbot speaking during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London Credit: PA

"I fully appreciate that the Government’s opposition to the motion was more to do with the way in which the Opposition worded the motion and parliamentary procedural technicalities of them taking over the order of business on a future day.

"To be clear, had that happened (unlikely given the Government’s majority) and the Opposition had tabled a Bill that I disagreed with, then I would have voted against it.

"Having said that, I’m afraid I believe that any disagreement over parliamentary procedure will always come second to standing up for the best interests of my constituents.

"People are struggling with their energy bills and action is needed and it’s needed now.

"I remain strongly committed to Conservative principles and supporting a Conservative government that acts in the best interests of the country.

"But I will always vote on the issues of the day, whatever they may be, in the best interests of my constituents in Teignbridge as well as the wider country.”

This is the second time Anne Maire Morris has had the Tory whip suspended.

She lost it back in 2017 when she was recorded using the 'N-word' during a discussion about Brexit, something she apologised for at the time.