Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Being Bounced

No one likes to be bounced. But that's exactly how Conservative MPs are feeling this evening. At a hastily arranged meeting of the 1922 Committee this afternoon, David Cameron suggested that the 1992 Committee should in future be made up of the whole parliamentary party, and not just backbenchers. This is interpreted as being a power grab by the party leadership. MPs are currently voting on whether to make the change or not.

The trouble with this suggested change is that MPs are being asked to make up their minds very quickly on quite a fundamental change. My suspicion is that they will not react well, and will probably veto it. Unfortunately that will mask whatever the arguments in favour of the change might have been.

The devil in me wonders what the new Minister of State for Decentalisation, Greg Clark, makes of it. He's also my local MP.

PS I'll be on LBC tonight with Petrie Hosken from 8-9 as part of her parliamentary panel, alongside LibDem MP Tom Brake and Labour MP Andrew Slaughter.


Anonymous said...

If you get a chance do ask Andy Slaughter about his apparent fondness for fox hunting - how I wish we'd known that in 1997 when we stuffed Andy in Uxbridge!

Keir Hardie said...

Funny how quickly a dedication to decentralisation dissapears when in power: slightly ironic also considering the Cleggster's speech today!

Oh and Iain, you won't be part of a Parliamentary Panel, will you, because you needs to be two letters after your name for that!

richard.blogger said...

I support independent voices. The "new politics" that Cameron is wielding seems very similar to what Blair did in 1997. Your party is in danger of being disciplined into submission. Beware.

Goodwin said...

"Cast Iron" Dave really hasn't much time for Conservatives has he?

p smith said...

This is fabulous. One would have thought that the whole point of the 1922 committee was to represent backbenchers particularly when the Tories are in government and frontbenchers are spouting the party line. What is the point of a committee that contains the cabinet and ministers?

Yet another power grab by ZanuConDem. Dave should go the whole hog and make Clegg chairman.

But it's your party not mine so it's up to you all to take a stand or eat yet more shit.

Faceless Bureaucrat said...

With respect, The 1922 Committee should politely tell the Prime Minister to 'go forth and multiply' and come back with a cogent recommendation that can be duly considered over time by those it will affect.

What has got into Cameron lately? - he puts both Spellman and Howarth into Ministerial post where both have obvious potential conflicts of interest, then he tries to treat the membership of the 1922 Committee like they were little more than a rubber-stamping body.

Who on earth is advising him at the moment?...

Anonymous said...

The Conservative MPs are behaving as though their party is in opposition. Perhaps they would rather be in opposition talking to themselves for another 13 years if David Davis has his way. They should get desciplined and behave. Easy to carp and bring the coalition down, but they will never taste power for another generation. Stupid Tory MPs.

cassandra said...

How about detailing a list of broken tory election promises?

Using the excuse of the coalition deal get out of jail free card will become a standing joke very soon.
This excuse will be wheeled out every time another manifesto promise/party intention is buried.
Is will soon become clear to even the most loyal tory that Cameron always intended his regime to become a social democrat based ideology rooted in the federal european centre politics.
When people voted for the right they were in fact cheated and sold a false bill of goods, we have a regime of the dead centre liberally flavoured with progessive politics.
Is there anything about this new regime that is right wing or traditional tory? Oooh yes I almost forgot, its that damned coalition deal thats to blame isnt it?
Of course the new regime will lead us into the wilderness of mass unemployment and poverty all in the name of the new politics.
Still think voting for Camerons social democrats was a great idea?

Erskine May said...

It is worth noting that the '1922 Committee' is not actually the 1922 Committee. It was formed as the Conservative Private Members' (1922) Committee. The whole point is that it is designed for Private Members: that is, all Conservative MPs bar the leader in Opposition and all back-benchers when in Govermment.

[The reference to 1922 is because it was formed by Members first elected in 1922. It was not formed in 1922.]

Grandpa said...

If Dave weights the system to the extent that he mutes internal debate & criticism the party will be the looser. Much better to keep your finger on the pulse than apply a tourniquet.

David Lindsay said...

Cash In The Attic was on The Daily Politics, denouncing the absence of the British Bill of Rights that he devised, and promising to join David Davis in voting against the Britvic Clause.

Meanwhile, backbenchers are voting on Cameron's proposal to make Ministers full voting members of the 1922 Committee. How the years roll back...

Add in the 20 people who thought that they would be Ministers but aren't.

The Right, variously defined, stands on the brink of secession. As we all stand on the brink of electoral reform.

Jimmy said...

Given the love-in with the libs, perhaps the committee should be renamed?

The 2010 Committee anyone?

Simon Gardner said...

Haha. Funny to see the evil Bill Cash chewing razor blades on TV tonight. Very satisfying.

Anonymous said...

The PCP is the whole of the PCP is it not? So why should it not meet?

Strikes me that what backbenchers do is up to them. They still exist as backbenchers and either have influence or not. They could set up a new committee of course ... but so what?

Are people still rabbiting on about fox-hunting? It never went away - we are still hunting foxes on horseback with hounds right now.
And of course in labour voting working class parts of Wales they are still hunting foxes on foot with hounds as well

Johnny Norfolk said...

Yes its a bad start, we have seen Cameron before saying one thing and then doing another. Saying he will give greater say to back benchers and then trying to destroy the 1922 committee from what it is. Then saying he is going to improve democracy then increasing the pecentage needed for a vote of no confidence in the House.This is not what we want its old politics.

The Military Wing Of The BBC said...

This coalition is rapidly turning into nonsence on sticks.

If I were you Iain, I'd take a leaf out of Charles Kennedy's book and be seen to be opposing it from the start.

It far better games theory than just going along with it because it feels "historic" to do so, only to find that this soft left media dream has no clothes.

M. Hristov said...

This is a bit of a shock to the system for the old timers. Must be strange to realise that the OEs are back in charge after 47 years of rule by the proletariat. The OEs are unlikely to want to go back to the height of proletarian rule, in the 1980s, when one of their few representatives in cabinet was heard to moan that he had not got into the cabinet to be treated as naughty schoolboy.

Luckily for Cameron, the old timers have not worked out the obvious answer to their problem, which is to start a new backbenchers committee exclusively for backbenchers. They can then bypass the 1922 Committee altogether. If Bill Cash and his friends have thought of this but cannot get enough support, then, regardless of the composition of the 1922 Committee, they are toast. Swept away by the new intake.

My betting is that the protector of the old timers, in future, will be none other than Mr Speaker, John Bercow, who is definitely not a respecter of authority and not an OE. This will be a delicious irony.

The much more interesting point about this coalition government, which I wholeheartedly support, is that we are no longer suffering rule by headline.

Melanie Phillips and her mates can get off their soapboxes, as can Quentin Letts. The government isn’t going to slavishly pander to you anymore. Your days of toppling Speakers are gone. You may have mesmerised “get rich quick” Blair and his repellent cronies but the current government isn’t interested. Thank heavens.

Looking into the future, I see the right of the Conservative Party being led by Philip Davies MP, who is a very good speaker and went to a very good state school. He is the future for the right wing of the party and Bill Cash is the past. BBC take note.

Dave will naturally want to contain the right wing of the party but chances of doing this will be greatly diminished, if he doesn’t give more ministries to Conservatives. For example, I am very surprised that he has not given a ministerial job to Stewart Jackson MP. He is just the sort of solid conformist who will flourish under Dave’s leadership. If there are not enough junior minister posts to go round then create some more. It may seem expensive now but could save a lot of trouble in the future.

Tapestry said...

Cameron should get his effing hands off the 1922 Committee. Something tells me that it will be Conservative backbenchers that fell this government. Labour will not be able. The Lib Dems are sewn up. The spirit of true rebellion resides only on the Conservative back benches.

Brady to the rescue, I say.

Sean said...

If this goes through then within a short time there will be a 2010 Committee.

It's very silly.

DespairingLiberal said...

Fascinating stuff. Before the election, some warned that the winning party, whoever it was, would attempt to further extend the power of the executive, because the presence of a great many new and inexperienced MPs in the House would make this easier. Before he retired, Tony Wright warned of exactly that. It seems that it is coming to pass.

I view the 55% dissolution rule the same way - an attempt by the executive to further entrench.

It would appear that the Big Society will not extend to parliament itself!

DespairingLiberal said...

Simon/David, didn't you also have the wierd feeling of agreeing with Bill Cash though? Defending backbencher's rights from any of the parties is absolutely needed - the incoming British Executive too often quickly degenerates into a mere tool of corporate and EU interests - backbencher power is one of the few defences.

Osama the Nazarene said...

Parliamentary party is packed with newbie MPs a lot of whom have reason to be grateful to DC. Sounds like party management Jozef Stalin would have been proud of.