Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Cornerstone About to Become Tombstone?


There were no doubt some steely eyes among Conservative Whips this morning as they chomped on their bacon sandwiches while reading Her Majesty's Daily Telegraph. Of particular interest was this rather juicy morsel from the SPY column...

"News reaches me that will alarm David Cameron and his henchmen: the socially conservative Cornerstone faction of the Tory parliamentary party seems to be organising itself as a party within a party. A leaked document - addressed to "supporters and friends of Cornerstone" - has landed on my desk. It urges members to speak in favour of amendments to the Racial and Religious Hatred Bill in the Commons today, and is signed: "Robert Goodwill MP, Cornerstone Whip". "This is reminiscent of the days of the Maastricht debates, when the Tory rebels had their own whip," says my Westminster mole. "On this occasion, Cornerstone is backing the front bench, but I doubt it would have any qualms about turning against Cameron if he starts pursuing too liberal an agenda."

I imagine that Mr Goodwill was called in to see the Chief Whip this morning for an interview without coffee. My spy reports that he would have been well advised to stick an excercise book down the back of his trousers. One suspects a long spell on European Standing Committee B might well be in the offing for Mr Goodwill...

But in all seriousness, quite what the Cornerstone Group, or Tombstone Group as their enemies like to know them, think they are doing, God only knows. Their chief agitator, John Hayes, was very keen to let everybody know that the Cornerstone Group was right behind David Cameron during the leadership contest, but surely they must have known that he wouldn't sign up to their right wing agenda? Whatever the truth, no Party can allow a Party to exist within a Party and to actually have a whipping operation on the go is one step too far. If Tombstone don't watch out they'll be ordered to disband. Anyone care to come up with an epitaph?

4 comments:

Andrea said...

I think Cornerstone could actually become a group similar to the Campaign Group inside Labour.. But then the CG hasn't a whip. So they're a step further...maybe a step too far!

PoliticalHack said...

This could be the 'Militant' moment for Cameron. Tough action against those organising independently of the Tory whip would demonstrate an edge.

Richard Allen said...

It was interesting to note that quite a lot of cornerstone members spoke during the debate. John Hayes gave a very good speech while Angela Watkinson, Bob Spink, Edward Leigh, Gerald Howarth, Julian Brazier and Julian Lewis all spoke through interventions.

Bob Piper said...

"surely they must have known that he (Cameron) wouldn't sign up to their right wing agenda"

Of course not, I mean, the man only wrote Howards reactionary manifesto... these bloody fools couldn't have expected him to actually BELIEVE what he wrote.

If you listen carefully... you can hear chickens coming home to roost.