Wendy Morton has finally spoken publicly about that fateful night in the division lobby the night before Liz resigned, when both she and then-Deputy Chief Whip announced they’d resigned then un-resigned in the space of about ten seconds, and the government fell apart for the second time in three months. It might feel like a lifetime ago. It’s actually only been a month.
Appearing on Politics Live, Morton relived the carnage in full, explaining that she had offered her resignation after Number 10 “interfered” in the vote at the eleventh hour by insisting it wasn’t a confidence motion, despite Morton insisting it was:
“It was one of those nights that I’ll probably never forget… it was a confidence vote… we were expecting colleagues to be in the lobby with us, so when the exchange came at the despatch box that it wasn’t [a confidence vote], you can see what ensued, which was chaos… I offered my resignation on the basis that Number 10 were interfering and I feel so strongly about the integrity of the Chief Whip and the red lines that I have. But the Prime Minister would not accept my resignation, so I continued…”
She didn’t mention that there was an outside chance of losing a confidence vote on the issue of fracking and causing a general election – an odd risk for a chief whip to take, for no observable gain
She then claimed to have somewhat mended her relationship with Truss – they’re getting on “fine” – and insisted Liz was dealt a rough hand from the start of her premiership.
The performance of the Whips office at a critical point in that premiership certainly didn’t make it any smoother.