I think it is just about dawning on the Conservative Whips Office, that in government they might well have a rather torrid time. With more than 200 new MPs things are bound to be different, but it seems a large number of those seem to have no idea what will be expected of them.
Zac Goldsmith made clear in a quite remarkable interview yesterday that he will be ploughing his own furrow. He didn't quite tell the whips to go to hell, but that was the message. Another candidate thought she would pop up to the Commons on Monday morning and return to the constituency on Tuesday evening and not bother with voting the rest of the week. Another candidate, not unfamiliar with the Westminster scene didn't even know that there are votes at 10pm on two nights of the week. Sitting MPs have many such tales from the 'innocents'. When they relate them, they smile in a rather superior, all knowing, way.
The truth of the matter is that some people are going to be in for a real shock if they make it onto the green benches. They need to be clear that if there is a Tory government there will be a raft of new legislation which means that MPs are going to have to be present in Westminster for far longer hours than they have been in the last few years, when whipping has been light to non existent. Whips are there to ensure that the government gets its legislation through and they will be pretty hard nosed about it. For those who swan off, Standing Committee B in Statutory Instruments is likely to beckon.
Don't get me wrong, I am all for MPs having minds of their own and being independent minded on causes close to their hearts (as I would intend to be), but that is a secondary issue here. The primary issue is for the whips to make candidates realise that that, if elected, it's going to be noses to the grindstone and their presence being required in Westminster for four whole days a week.
Not being a candidate, I have no idea if the chief whip Patrick McLoughlin intends to have a session with candidates in marginal seats, or seats where the Tory MP is retiring, before the election, but if he does, I suspect he will be frightening 200 people to death.