Julian Lewis has claimed Boris Johnson issued an "improper request" when he asked MPs to vote for a particular candidate for the security committee chair. 

The MP, who has the Conservative whip removed last night, said he was "constrained" in what he was able to say after he was voted chair of the Inteeligence and Security Committee.

A row broke out after the Prime Minister had nominated Chris Grayling for the role, and it had been widely assumed he would succeed in securing the position.

However Dr Lewis was voted chair after receiving the majority of nominations from opposition politicians. He was swiftly sacked from the party for allegedly working with the opposition.

It was said that Mr Grayling did not know Mr Lewis was planning to contend the chair's position until he turned over the ballot paper duringthe committee's first meeting yesterday afternoon.

In a statement issued to the Press Association this morning, Mr Lewis said he did not ever confirm he would vote for Mr Grayling, and said the Prime Ministser did not legally have the power to select the chairperson.

He said: “Because the ISC (Intelligence and Security Committee) is a special committee, I feel constrained in what I can say.

“However, the following points are relevant: The 2013 Justice and Security Act explicitly removed the right of the Prime Minister to choose the ISC chairman and gave it to the committee members. 

"I remember this well, as I served on the committee from 2010 to 2015 and took part of the legislation through the Commons myself on behalf of the committee. There is no other Conservative MP in the House of Commons with any past experience of working on the ISC.

"It was only yesterday afternoon that I received a text asking me to confirm that I would be voting for the Prime Minister’s preferred candidate for the ISC chair.

"I did not reply as I considered it an improper request. At no earlier stage did I give any undertaking to vote for any particular candidate.

"In recent days, the official No 10 spokesman explicitly denied that the Government was seeking to ‘parachute’ a preferred candidate in to the chair, stating that it was a matter for the senior parliamentarians on the committee to decide.

“It is therefore strange to have the whip removed for failing to vote for the Government’s preferred candidate.”