Graham Evans MP

21 Apr 2013 20:09:17

Alun Cairns MP wins London Marathon

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By Paul Goodman
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There's was legend in my family that the Jewish Chronicle once reported a race with the headline: "Goldstein seventeenth".

I apologise if my headline is also somewhat parochial, and rather less accurate.  But as far as I can see Cairns was the fastest Conservative MP round the course.

A good deal of money will have been raised for charity today - and so much the better.  A glancing references in dispatches, too, for the MPs from other parties who took part.

5 Dec 2012 11:09:15

70 Tory MPs vote to repeal the Human Rights Act

By Matthew Barrett
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BACON RICHARDYesterday in Parliament, Richard Bacon, a Conservative backbencher, tried to introduce a Bill which would repeal the Human Rights Act 1998. One of Mr Bacon's lines of argument was that the legal requirement for Ministers to amend legislation - without a vote in Parliament - in order to comply with European human rights legislation - is "fundamentally undemocratic":

"Under section 10, a Minister of the Crown may make such amendments to primary legislation as are considered necessary to enable the incompatibility to be removed by the simple expedient of making an order. In effect, because the accepted practice is that the United Kingdom observes its international obligations, a supranational court can impose its will against ours. In my view this is fundamentally undemocratic."

Mr Bacon also compellingly argued that the controversial social issues that judges often like to get involved in should be decided by "elected representatives and not by unelected judges":

"[T]here is no point in belonging to a club if one is not prepared to obey its rules. The solution is therefore not to defy judgments of the Court, but rather to remove the power of the Court over us. ... Judges do not have access to a tablet of stone not available to the rest of us which enables them to discern what our people need better than we can possibly do as their elected, fallible, corrigible representatives. There is no set of values that are so universally agreed that we can appeal to them as a useful final arbiter. In the end they will always be shown up as either uselessly vague or controversially specific. Questions of major social policy, whether on abortion, capital punishment, the right to bear firearms or workers rights, should ultimately be decided by elected representatives and not by unelected judges."

Continue reading "70 Tory MPs vote to repeal the Human Rights Act" »

26 Oct 2012 06:22:26

Who are Conservative Friends of Israel? A profile of the Conservative Party's most populous grouping

By Matthew Barrett
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Conservative Friends of IsraelConservative Friends of Israel is an influential affiliate group of the Conservative Party which contains perhaps the largest number of Conservative MPs of any group in Parliament. It exists to promote understanding of and support for the State of Israel in the Conservative Party, and its membership reaches the highest echelons of power, including the Foreign Secretary, William Hague. In this profile, I examine its origins, membership, role, and activities.

Origins of the group

Conservative Friends of Israel (CFoI) is the oldest group of Conservative MPs I have profiled so far: it was founded by Michael Fidler, who was the Conservative Member of Parliament for Bury and Radcliffe between 1970 and the October 1974 election. After losing his seat, he decided to focus on building a pro-Israel group within the Conservative Party - there had been a Labour Friends of Israel group since 1957 - so Fidler launched CFoI in 1974, and served as its National Director. 

Sir Hugh Fraser served as the first Chairman of CFoI, from 1974. Sir Hugh was a Conservative MP of the old school: after a distinguished military intelligence career in the Second World War, he entered Parliament in 1945, and he missed out on being Father of the House to James Callaghan in 1983 by only a few days. Sir Hugh had an interest in oil and the Middle East and served a number of positions in the War and Colonial Offices, before entering Cabinet as the Secretary of State for Air in 1962. He might be best known to some readers as the outsider candidate who came third in the 1975 party leadership contest, behind Mrs Thatcher and Edward Heath, gaining only 16 votes.

Continue reading "Who are Conservative Friends of Israel? A profile of the Conservative Party's most populous grouping" »

22 Oct 2012 15:31:06

Conservative Select Committee appointments announced

By Matthew Barrett
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SelectCommittesGuido Fawkes has a list of new Conservative members of Select Committees, from Graham Brady's office. Mr Brady explains: "For the following committees I have received the same number of nominations as there are vacancies, the following are therefore elected". The appointments are:

Communities and Local Government

John Stevenson (Carlisle), replacing George Hollingbery (Meon Valley), who became PPS to Theresa May at the reshuffle.


Chris Skidmore (Kingswood), replacing Damian Hinds (East Hampshire), who became PPS to Mark Francois, the Minister of State for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans.


Andrew Percy (Brigg and Goole), replacing Dr Daniel Poulter (Central Suffolk and North Ipswich), who was made the Parliamentary Undersecretary of State for Health Services.

Continue reading "Conservative Select Committee appointments announced" »

14 Sep 2012 14:09:34

The 24 Conservative MPs who are still on the backbenches and have never rebelled

By Matthew Barrett
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After last week's reshuffle of the Secretaries and Ministers of State, and this week's reshuffle of Parliamentary Private Secretaries, it's possible to investigate the state of a dying breed: the backbenchers who've always been loyal. The list below features the Conservative MPs who meet the following criteria:

  • Are not currently on the government payroll (including as PPSs)
  • Were not on the government payroll before the reshuffle (including as PPSs)
  • Have not rebelled against the Government
I've excluded Nigel Evans, who is a Deputy Speaker, and I've noted their constituencies and years first elected. It's also perhaps worth noting Arbuthnot, Dorrell and Yeo are Select Committee chairmen. 
  1. James Arbuthnot (North East Hampshire, 1987)
  2. Richard Bacon (South Norfolk, 2001)
  3. Sir Tony Baldry (Banbury, 1983)
  4. Steve Barclay (North East Cambridgeshire, 2010)
  5. Sir Paul Beresford (Mole Valley since 1997, MP since 1992)
  6. Aidan Burley (Cannock Chase, 2010)
  7. Neil Carmichael (Stroud, 2010)
  8. Rehman Chishti (Gillingham and Rainham, 2010)
  9. Oliver Colvile (Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, 2010)
  10. Stephen Dorrell (Charnwood. 1979)
  11. Jackie Doyle-Price (Thurrock, 2010)
  12. Charlie Elphicke (Dover, 2010)
  13. Graham Evans (Weaver Vale, 2010)
  14. Sir Roger Gale (North Thanet, 1983)
  15. Mark Garnier (Wyre Forest, 2010)
  16. Rebecca Harris (Castle Point, 2010)
  17. Kwasi Kwarteng (Spelthorne, 2010)
  18. Jack Lopresti (Filton and Bradley Stoke, 2010)
  19. Stephen Metcalfe (South Basildon and East Thurrock, 2010)
  20. David Morris (Morecambe and Lunesdale, 2010)
  21. Stephen Phillips (Sleaford and North Hykeham, 2010)
  22. Chris Skidmore (Kingswood, 2010)
  23. Mark Spencer (Sherwood, 2010)
  24. Tim Yeo (South Suffolk, 1983)

Continue reading "The 24 Conservative MPs who are still on the backbenches and have never rebelled" »

15 May 2012 15:45:08

Tomorrow's 1922 Committee Elections - nominations in full

By Paul Goodman
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8.45pm Update by Matthew Barrett: I have now learned which candidates are being backed by the traditional organisations on the right of the Conservative Party, such as the No Turning Back group. I have highlighted these in purple.


The following have been returned unopposed:-




Posts for which elections will take place (I have marked those previously identified by Tim as members of the 301 slate in blue):

1) Secretary - the following nominations have been received for TWO posts:


2) Executive members - the following nominations have been received for TWELVE posts.

PRITI PATEL - Priti Patel is being backed by both the 301 group, and the right of the Party.

Finally and separately, the following nominations have been received for Conservative members of the Backbench Business Committee - four posts:


21 Apr 2012 11:32:06

Five Tory MPs are running the London Marathon tomorrow (and would appreciate your sponsorship!)

By Matthew Barrett
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It's the London Marathon tomorrow, and five Conservative MPs have decided to take on the great task of completing it for charity. Last year, Edward Timpson and Stephen Crabb ran the Marathon, and this year, Timpson is competing again - with four other MPs who will join more than 35,000 other runners on the 26-mile course through the capital. The runners - and their charity causes - are listed below:

Timpson marathon 2Edward Timpson, PPS to Theresa May and MP for Crewe and Nantwich

He says:

“Running a marathon is both a physical and mental challenge but it is well worth undertaking when you weigh up the benefits you can bring to people through the funds you raise. This year I am running my eighth marathon for Climb (Children Living with Inherited Metabolic Diseases) with my wife Julia who is also the charity’s patron. Climb does some truly excellent work in helping those living with metabolic diseases and is the only charity to do so nationally. Marathons are a great way for MPs to help raise the profiles of some great causes and I am glad to see so many of my Conservative colleagues taking part this year.”

You can sponsor Edward and his wife here.

Lopresti marathonJack Lopresti, MP for Filton and Bradley Stoke

Lopresti, who is currently serving as an Army Reservist, and has previously run the Camp Bastion Half Marathon, said:

“I’m not really built for running so have undertaken a fairly gruelling training schedule since before Christmas. But it will all be worth it, I’m really looking forward to taking part in my first full marathon with 35,000 other runners and I want to raise as much money as I can for my chosen charity. I’m running for Action for Children, a charity that works with the most disadvantaged youngsters and provides them with the foundations and support to build their lives and prosper. I don’t really have a target but around 5 hours would be fantastic. Of course I am nervous, but I am also excited. Nerves are a good thing.”

Jack's sponsorship page is here.

Cairns marathon

Continue reading "Five Tory MPs are running the London Marathon tomorrow (and would appreciate your sponsorship!)" »

20 Apr 2012 06:33:09

Who are the 301? The Tory MPs who want to refresh the 1922 Committee

By Matthew Barrett
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The 301 group is perhaps the most active and important group of backbench Tory MPs. Tim Montgomerie reported last week that three MPs - Charlie Elphicke, George Hollingbery and Priti Patel - want to organise a candidate to be elected to the 1922 Committee's executive who will give the '22 a focus on policy and campaigning. The Spectator's James Forsyth blogged that "The vote for their candidate, and his opponent, will give us the best idea yet of where the backbenches are at the moment politically. Indeed, I expect that the machinery of the 301 group, the most pro-Cameron of all the backbench groups, will be thrown behind the Elphicke-Hollingbery-Patel slate."

To organise or endorse candidates for the '22 is certainly the most power a backbench group has yet wielded in this Parliament. In this profile, I'll be looking at the origins, members, aims and plans of the group to get a sense of what the group wants to campaign for.

Origins of the group

HopkinsLeeThe 301 was first organised by Kris Hopkins (Keighley), a former soldier and leader of Bradford Council, and Jessica Lee (Erewash), a former barrister, and now Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Attorney General, Dominic Grieve. The group began with small meetings of a handful of MPs who were "concerned that the narrative in Parliament was not representative of the conversation" that MPs had had with the electorate while campaigning during the 2010 general election, and also dissatisfied with the fact that the mechanisms of debate amongst backbenchers, and between the back and front benches, were not conducive to trying to correct that narrative. Each of those attending brought a friend, and so on, until after three meetings the group reached 60 members.

Continue reading "Who are the 301? The Tory MPs who want to refresh the 1922 Committee" »

17 Apr 2012 07:59:19

What is the 40 group? Matthew Barrett profiles the MPs trying to keep hold of the most marginal Tory seats

By Matthew Barrett
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I recently profiled the 2020 and Free Enterprise groups of Tory MPs. Those two groups are formed by ideology: MPs are attracted to the groups because, in the case of the Free Enterprise Group, members wish to open up markets and make Britain business-friendly enough to compete with other world class economies. The 2020's members want to renew and refresh Project Cameron, while considering how the country should look after a majority Conservative government.

The 40 is rather different as it is a group of MPs brought together solely by necessity - the members are those MPs who were elected in 2010 with the narrowest majorities in the Party.

Origins of the group and key members


The group was founded early last year by Eric Ollerenshaw (Lancaster and Fleetwood), Graham Evans (Weaver Vale), and David Mowat (Warrington South). There is no rigid structure to the group as such, given its non-ideological purpose, but when it meets, the convener is usually David Mowat. Other key "executive" members of the group include Evans and Ollerenshaw, as well as Amber Rudd (Hastings and Rye), James Morris (Halesowen and Rowley Regis) and Ben Gummer (Ipswich).

Continue reading "What is the 40 group? Matthew Barrett profiles the MPs trying to keep hold of the most marginal Tory seats" »

13 Jul 2010 15:22:21

Four of the new Tory intake call for "reform or abolition" of Early Day Motions

By Jonathan Isaby

Early Day Motions are oft referred to as "parliamentary grafitti": they are effectively petitions which only MPs can sign and are often tabled with the sole intention of allowing an MP to issue a press release to their local paper beginning "Local campaigning MP Joe Bloggs has tabled a motion in Parliament demanding..." in the knowledge that few people will ever read it, let alone debate it.

And it has to be said that with each Parliamentary Session it does seem that more and more frivolous and pointless Early Day Motions are being tabled.

This has promoted four of the new Tory intake to call for them to be reformed or abolished.

Graham Evans, Nick de Bois, Steve Baker and Guy Opperman have made their point by way of an, er EDM - Number 432 in fact, which reads:

"That this House regrets the continuing decline in importance of Early Day Motions which have become a campaign tool for external organisations; notes the role of public affairs professionals in drafting Early Day Motions and encouraging members of the organisations they represent to send pro forma emails and postcards to hon. Members; further notes the huge volume of correspondence that this generates and the consequent office and postage costs incurred; believes that the organisations involved derive little benefit from Early Day Motions, which very rarely have any influence on policy; further believes that public affairs professionals are aware of the ineffectiveness of Early Day Motions, but continue to use them to attempt to justify their services; questions the value for money to the taxpayer of Early Day Motions of whatever origin; and calls for the system of Early Day Motions to be reformed or abolished."

However, Tory MP Julian Lewis has tabled the following amendment, deleteing all and inserting:

"recognises that Early Day Motions provide one of only a few methods of registering the views of large numbers of hon. Members, other than by votes in the House; believes that they enable hon. Members to generate support for worthwhile causes; consequently opposes their abolition; and accordingly advises hon. Members who do not wish to sign them simply to decline to do so."

I'm with Julian Lewis on this. The massive cross party support for the Save General Election Night campaign last year was able to be demonstrated by Tom Harris's EDM, for example, and they remain a way of enabling MPs to get their points of view about certain issues out in the public domain and I would not want to see them abolished.

That said, I accept that there is an argument for saying that MPs should have to attain a reasonable number of signatures before public money is spent printing the motion and that motions congratulating local sporting teams on victories and promotions really are a waste of said money.

7 Jul 2010 20:56:50

Graham Evans brands the gap between the richest and poorest parts of his constituency "a disgrace" in his maiden speech (and Jonathan Evans makes his return to the chamber too)

Evans Graham Graham Evans gained Weaver Vale in Cheshire from Labour at the election, making him the sole Conservative representative on the Mersey estuary.

In his maiden speech yesterday he noted that there are areas of severe deprivation in his constituency where only 8.1% of pupils achieve 5 GCSEs – and that those pupils can expect to live for nearly 10 years less and to earn an average of £30,000 a year less than those in the more prosperous parts of the seats:

“After 13 years of a Labour Government, this is quite simply a disgrace and should act as a constant reminder to those on the Labour Benches, who have already begun looking back on their time in government as some sort of golden age in which poverty and inequality were abolished. Sadly, the truth is that, under Labour, the poor got poorer while the debt grew bigger. Labour Members will almost certainly be spending the next few years in hysterical opposition, attacking the Government for fixing the mess they created, completely oblivious to the reality that we cannot help the most vulnerable in society by basing the economy on debt. Without wealth creation, we cannot achieve the social justice that we all want.”

He also touched on his own long personal journey to Parliament:

“I was born on a council estate in Cheshire, as the youngest of four children. My father was a wages clerk, but he died when I was young, and my mother worked in a series of local shops and pubs to make ends meet. I left my local comprehensive school with few qualifications and got a job stacking shelves at the local supermarket, but I was fortunate to have the chance to study business at night school, and went on to have a successful manufacturing career working in sales. I should like to think that I was one of those slick salesmen whom the right hon. Member for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath (Gordon Brown) liked to attack on such a regular basis in the last Parliament.

“I have always enjoyed serving my local community, spending four years as a special constable in the Cheshire police and 10 years as a local councillor. I have no idea how long I will serve in the House—that will be up to the people of Weaver Vale—but I hope that if I am to leave this place sooner rather than later, I will be able to help, in a small way, to put the “great” back into Great Britain.”

Evans Jonathan It should also be noted that the sole Conservative retread of the 2010 intake -Jonathan Evans, who regained Cardiff North for the Tories after a decade in the European Parliament – made his first speech to the House for 13 years in the early hours of this morning, after the late finish of the Second Reading of the Finance Bill.

He secured an adjournment debate to highlight an constituency-related issue: namely, how the methods of enforcement of the Reservoirs Act 1975 are being abused to undermine safety in the case of Llanishen reservoir in Cardiff, which he said “threatens to bring about the destruction of the reservoir itself”.

Jonathan Isaby