Motion of no confidence filed against Tobias Ellwood for advocating for the Taliban

Four members of the British parliament’s Defence Select Committee have tabled a motion of no confidence on its chair, Tobias Ellwood, over his advocacy for the Taliban.

In a motion tabled on Wednesday, Labour MPs Kevan Jones and Derek Twigg, and Conservative MPs Mark Francois and Richard Drax, say they have no confidence in Tobias Ellwood’s chairmanship of the influential committee, which overseas the British Ministry of Defence.

On Thursday, after days of intense pressure and condemnations, Tobias Ellwood apologised for “poor communication” for claiming that the Taliban had “transformed” Afghanistan with “vastly improved” security, corruption “all but disappeared” and opium trade “seemingly gone”.

This is the first time a House of Commons Select Committee chair has faced a motion of no confidence.

Kevan Jones said: “This isn’t the first time that Tobias Ellwood has made statements which don’t reflect the committee’s stance. This one is beyond the pale”.

This is not the first time Ellwood has advocated for deeper engagement with the Taliban. In February 2022, he called for the Taliban to be formally recognised by the UK.

The British parliament is in summer recess until 4 September and the vote on Ellwood is expected to take place on 14 September.

Ellwood’s apology statement has been criticised by some.

Latika M Bourke, a journalist, said that Ellwood is not sorry for what he has done.

Ahmad Sarmast, the founder of Afghanistan National Institute of Music, called Ellwood an “indecent politician” despite his apology.

Louise Jones, a former British soldier who served in Afghanistan, accused Ellwood of “pathetic attempt to gaslight us”. She had earlier posted a video of Twitter challenging Ellwood to choose between being an MP or writing “puff pieces for the Taliban.”