“Cream Tea” rebel MP ‘terrified’ for his political future

“I did not come into politics to lie to people, and I did not come into politics to be lied to by colleagues.”

Guy Henderson www.devonlive.com

Devon MP Anthony Mangnall, who submitted a letter of no confidence in Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday, has admitted he is “terrified” for his political future as a result.

But, he said: “I did not come into politics to lie to people, and I did not come into politics to be lied to by colleagues.”

The Conservative MP for Totnes and South Devon, whose constituency covers Brixham and parts of Torbay, was speaking on the Telegraph’s “Chopper’s Politics” podcast.

He became the 12th Conservative MP to submit a letter of no confidence in the Prime Minister to the influential 1922 Committee.

It takes 54 letters to trigger a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister, whose position is becoming increasingly fragile in the midst of claims of parties being held in Downing Street while the rest of the country was in lockdown.

Mr Mangnall announced his decision in a Tweet which said: “At this time I can no longer support the PM.

“His actions and mistruths are overshadowing the extraordinary work of so many excellent ministers and colleagues.”

A report into the so-called “Partygate” by senior civil servant Sue Grey pinpointed “serious failures of leadership and judgement” from the Prime Minister.

South West Devon Conservative MP Sir Gary Streeter has also penned a letter of no confidence in Mr Johnson. The actions of the Devon MPs have been dubbed the “Cream Tea Coup”

Mr Mangnall told the podcast: “I think we have to have a real conversation about standards in public life, about making sure our elected representatives are not just adhering to the rules but actually leading by example.

“Unfortunately I don’t see that to be the case at the moment.”

He said Mr Johnson’s handling of the Sue Grey report had been “below par”, and had been the latest in a series of problems to come out of 10 Downing Street.

He said he supported the Government and was a “Conservative through and through”, but the catalogue of problems around the leadership could not continue.

“It’s a question of the Prime Minister’s judgement, and whether he is the right man to be leading this, and I’m not sure that he is,” he said.

“I’m not questioning my place within the Conservative Party. I’m questioning how we are led.”

The Totnes MP admitted he was “terrified” and “incredibly emotional” about what his action might mean for his own political future, but added: “It is not about me. It’s about how we govern in this country.

“I’m sorry to him personally, but I’m not sorry for the course of action I have decided to take, because my party and my country matter.”

Mr Mangnall is one of the so-called “Class of 2019” who won their seats in the last General Election. He took over the reins at Totnes from another controversial MP, Dr Sarah Wollaston, whose strong opinions on Brexit led her to leave the Conservatives, stand briefly as an independent and then join the Liberal Democrats.

Mr Mangnall took the seat from her with a majority of almost 13,000 votes.