The Tory MP Andrew Bowie MP has resigned as Vice-Chairman of the Conservative party, according to several of his colleagues.
“He doesn’t want to make a fuss but he’s unable to support the government after the events of recent days,” says a friend of the MP. This is a reference to the fury among Tory MPs over Number 10’s conduct in the Owen Paterson scandal. They are angry at having been whipped to support an overhaul of the rules on Commons standards. The government position collapsed and a u-turn has since followed.
He may not be a household name, but Bowie is a rising Tory starman. He won the West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine seat in the 2017 general election, when he defeated the SNP MP Stuart Donaldson.
Bowie has been tipped for promotion, and is conceivably a future Secretary of State for Scotland or Scottish Tory leader. That may have to wait now…
“I don’t know why he’s done it,” says another colleague. “He was always a cheerleader for Number 10.”
“Good for Andrew,” says another MP. “He’s decided enough is enough.”
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Andrew Bowie did not respond to requests for comment.
UPDATE: It is confirmed, Bowie is stepping down. But not before he was put under pressure by the Tory chief whip. News outlets sympathetic to the government (a very short and shrinking list) have been briefed the compromise position for public consumption: he will stay for a few days until someone else is appointed or until December, that’s three weeks away, whichever is sooner. The chief whip Mark Spencer has enough on his plate and sought to calm the situation. He will be wary of a domino effect. Once Tories start resigning in protest, who knows where it leads?