MPs watch: PM resignation and a leadership contest


Aug 1, 2022

Every month the Stray Ferret tries to find out what our local MPs have been up to in their constituencies and in the House of Commons.

In July, Prime Minister Boris Johnson resigned and a leadership election was triggered in the Conservative party. Two of our MPs have backed Rishi Sunak, but Nigel Adams, who is a close ally of Boris Johnson, has yet to reveal his favoured candidate.

We asked our three Conservative MPs, Harrogate & Knaresborough’s Andrew Jones, Skipton and Ripon’s Julian Smith, and Selby and Ainsty’s Nigel Adams if they would like to highlight anything in particular that they have been doing this month, but, as usual, we did not receive a response from any of them.

Here is what we know after analysing their online presence.

Andrew Jones, Harrogate and Knaresborough MP, pictured at Prime Minister's Question Time.

Andrew Jones, Harrogate and Knaresborough MP.

In Harrogate and Knaresborough, here is what we found out on Mr Jones:

  • On July 6, Andrew Jones called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to resign. He said: “I think we have come to the end of the road with this Prime Minister”.
  • On July 11, Mr Jones was elected to the executive of the Conservative party’s 1922 committee, which can be influential in determining the fate of party leaders.
  • Mr Jones formally backed Rishi Sunak to be the new leader of the Conservative Party on July 13.
  • On July 20, he took part in voting on a series of amendments to the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill. 
  • Mr Jones spoke in the House of Commons to praise local agricultural shows on July 21. 
  • Mr Jones held a surgery at Bilton Community Day on Saturday, July 30.

Read more:

Julian Smith at PMQs

Julian Smith, MP for Skipton and Ripon.

In Skipton and Ripon, here is what we found on Mr Smith:

  • On July 7, Julian Smith heavily criticised Prime Minister Boris Johnson during an interview on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. He said Mr Johnson was causing a “constitutional crisis” by refusing to resign amid a series on ministers quitting his cabinet.
  • Mr Smith tweeted the same day that the civil service had been “attacked and maligned” and had “held the country together” during the resignations of the cabinet.
  • On July 10, Mr Smith tweeted that the European Convention on Human Rights was “key” to the Good Friday Agreement. He warned against the Conservative leadership contest undermining the agreement.
  • On July 18, Mr Smith voted with the government on a confidence vote held in the House of Commons.
  • Mr Smith met with local farmers in Boroughbridge to discuss agricultural, as well as food security and production.
  • Following the resignation of Mr Johnson, Mr Smith declared his support for Rishi Sunak in the Conservative leadership contest on July 20.
  • On July 24, Mr Smith was in attendance for Mr Sunak’s visit to Black Sheep Brewery in Masham as part of his leadership campaign.
  • Mr Smith tweeted on July 29 that he had been to Ripon Tennis Club to try the facility’s new padel tennis courts.
Nigel Adams, Mp for Selby and Ainsty which includes rural Harrogate.

Nigel Adams, MP for Selby and Ainsty which includes rural Harrogate.

In rural south Harrogate, here is what we found on Mr Adams:

  • Instead of tweeting about resignations in the government, Mr Adams posted a tweet on July 5 congratulating the England cricket team on defeating India by seven wickets.
  • Mr Adams, who sits in Boris Johnson’s cabinet, has remained silent throughout the leadership election and has not yet revealed who has backed for leader.
  • Reports emerged in the Observer on July 18 that Mr Adams could face a by-election as he could be offered a peerage by Boris Johnson.
  • On the same day, he voted with the government on a confidence vote in the House of Commons.
  • Mr Adams tweeted on July 27 that he had met AstraZeneca in Tokyo to “discuss innovation and partnerships”. He tweeted again the following day that he had met the 2025 World Expo organisers in Japan.

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