Hitchin Harpenden MP Bim Afolami has defended his decision to back Boris in this week's confidence vote following a backlash on social media.

Mr Afolami posted the one line tweet 'PM has my full support' prior to Monday's Conservative Party showdown over Mr Johnson continuing as Prime Minister.

Challenged on why he was continuing to support Boris by this newspaper, he subsequently released the following statement: “I was re-elected on a Conservative manifesto of policy commitments set out at the last election. I start from the position that we owe our loyalty to the elected Prime Minister who was given a democratic mandate to lead our country in the direction set out in 2019.

"I am immensely proud of the progress made so far across several policy areas. In particular, I am proud of our country’s role in the development and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, the UK’s response to Ukraine and globally significant leadership on climate policy, positively impacting our environment both here and around the globe. The Conservative Party is achieving many good things.

"Having carefully consulted with many constituents over recent days about whether to support the Prime Minister in any confidence vote that may arise, opinions were fierce, though mixed. What continues to weigh heavily on my mind is the potential erosion of trust in the Conservative Party and government. The Prime Minister has asked me, and the parliamentary party as a whole, to give him time to rebuild that trust in him and the Party. We owe it to you to get this right.”"

But his actions have provoked fury on Twitter.

Claire Clarke posted: "Shame - enjoy your last few years as an MP but you should have listened to your constituents. Didn’t the local election results tell you anything? How can you defend the indefensible?"

Martijn Brugman wrote: "I do not normally get involved in politics, but given that my taxes pay your salary, I would like to ask what behaviour you would find worthy of dismissal, if not this."

Matt Bush added: "Doing exactly what his constituents don’t want him to do. I thought MPs worked for their local people."

David Hardstaff said: "A poor move. Conservative supporters ought to be the most upset of all about the dereliction of duty on display here - it's a local, national, and international disgrace, and very damaging. Support is impossible to logically justify, I'm afraid, if you care about integrity."

Charlotte Halkett posted: "Best start looking for a new job to start in 2 years. You saw what happened at the local elections."