By Tim Montgomerie
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On the same day I write in The Sunday Telegraph praising the new generation of Conservative MPs, a nameless Tory MP - who has "spent many years in the Commons" - has written an article for today's Mail on Sunday which attacks the Class of 2010 on multiple fronts...
- They are mates of Cameron and Osborne, political chameleons and careerists: "Top of the list were their friends who went to the same school or moved in the same social circle. Or women with degrees from smart universities who could glide through the Tory death-by-canapé drinks parties with flawless received pronunciation – even if they had been Labour members only yesterday. Then there were the ambitious sycophants and plain old careerists who would sell their own grandmother for a pat on the back or a wink from a whip."
- They are cliquey: "Tory MPs who entered Parliament at the last Election behave as if they are the first-ever intake, oblivious to the unspoken rules of the Commons, the subtleties that it takes years to learn. Instead, they arrived with a born-to-rule arrogance and tossed aside these courtesies. For example, there is a longstanding custom in the tea room that after you buy your food you take the next vacant seat at the first available table. It is designed to ensure no MP has to eat alone. Parliament can be a lonely place. This went out of the window with the 2010 intake, who walk past members in search of one of their own clique, or snub someone they feel is out of favour with the whips or Cameron. The same happens in the bars, as they kept to their own group, openly nervous about whom they are seen talking to."
Anna Soubry, the MP for Broxtowe recently profiled by Paul Goodman and a hot tip for rapid promotion, comes in for special criticism. She is called out for her "unpleasant personal verbal attack" on Mark Pritchard before last week's circus vote at a meeting of the 1922 Committee:
"From the day Anna arrived in Parliament, her zealous enthusiasm for every dot and comma of Cameron’s Tory modernisation programme has been painfully obvious. A female MP told me rather harshly it doesn’t help that Anna ‘looks as if she is sucking on a lemon’.Anna seemed to blame Mark for effectively putting Tory MPs on the spot in a Commons vote on banning animals in circuses. Mark is passionate about animal welfare. But Cameron couldn’t stomach the thought of a backbencher having influence over Government policy, even one as minor as circus animals – though a ban has 92 per cent public support. The word went out from No 10: ‘Kill Mark.’ Perhaps it is sheer coincidence that Anna is Parliamentary Private Secretary to Simon Burns MP, Minister of State for Health, who is a close personal friend of Chief Whip Patrick McLoughlin and was also a long-serving whip prior to becoming a Minister."
Read the full piece which also includes strong attacks on David Cameron's approach to party management.
As MPs, new and old, gather tomorrow in the tea room you can be sure that there'll be one top topic of conversation: Who wrote that Mail on Sunday article?