This is looking grim for Julian Smith and Brandon Lewis. Both the Sun and the Mail report that he ordered paired Tory MPs to break their pairs and vote anyway. The Sun quotes a paired Tory MP:
“Julian told me I was needed and told me to come in and vote. Of course he knew I was paired. I didn’t vote and honoured my pair, and he demanded to know why not afterwards. It then appears Julian told the Prime Minister it was all an innocent mistake. What happened was unacceptable. We cannot behave like this”.
The Mail confirms Smith did order MPs to break pairs, but says the order was withdrawn:
Tory sources confirm Chief Whip did send out instructions to break pairing and ‘vote anyway’ on crunch Brexit votes. Did not apply to pregnancy pairs + was (apparently) withdrawn before vote
— Jason Groves (@JasonGroves1) July 19, 2018
The whips office is refusing to deny to Guido the existence of a text from Julian Smith to a paired MP ordering them to break their pair.
The question is: why did Brandon Lewis then break his pregnancy pair? What was discussed in his conversation with the chief whip before he voted?
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