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:
Friday, September 14, 2012 in Aidan Burley MP, Charlie Elphicke MP, Chris Skidmore MP, David Morris MP, Graham Evans MP, Jack Lopresti MP, Jackie Doyle-Price MP, James Arburthnot MP, Kwasi Kwarteng MP, Mark Garnier MP, Mark Spencer MP, Neil Carmichael MP, Nigel Evans MP, Oliver Colvile MP, Pauline Latham MP, Rebecca Harris MP, Rehman Chishti MP, Richard Bacon MP, Roger Gale MP, Sir Paul Beresford MP, Stephen Dorrell MP, Stephen Metcalfe MP, Stephen Phillips MP, Steve Barclay MP, Tim Yeo MP, Tony Baldry MP | Permalink | Comments
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
The 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.
Friday, April 20, 2012 in Alec Shelbrooke MP, Alok Sharma, Amber Rudd MP, Andrew Jones MP, Andrew Selous MP, Angie Bray MP, Bob Blackman MP, Charlie Elphicke MP, Chris Kelly MP, Claire Perry MP, Damian Collins MP, Damian Hinds MP, Daniel Poulter MP, Dominic Grieve, Dominic Grieve MP, Gavin Barwell MP, George Hollingbery MP, Graham Brady MP, Graham Evans MP, Heather Wheeler MP, Iain Stewart MP, Jackie Doyle-Price MP, James Morris MP, Jeremy Lefroy MP, Jessica Lee MP, John Howell MP, Karl McCartney MP, Kris Hopkins MP, Kwasi Kwarteng MP, Laura Sandys MP, Lee Scott MP, Marcus Jones MP, Margot James MP, Matthew Hancock MP, Michael Gove MP, Nick Boles, Nick Boles MP, Nicky Morgan MP, Oliver Colvile MP, Paul Maynard MP, Paul Uppal MP, Peter Aldous MP, Priti Patel MP, Robert Buckland MP, Robert Halfon MP, Robert Syms MP, Rory Stewart MP, Sarah Newton MP, Simon Kirby MP, Sir Michael Spicer MP, Steve Brine MP, Tory MPs Groups | Permalink | Comments
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).
Tuesday, April 17, 2012 in Amber Rudd MP, Andrew Jones MP, Anna Soubry MP, Anne Main MP, Anne Marie Morris MP, Ben Gummer MP, Dan Byles MP, David Cameron MP, David Morris MP, David Mowat MP, David Nuttall MP, Eric Ollerenshaw MP, George Eustice MP, Glyn Davies MP, Graham Evans MP, Jackie Doyle-Price MP, James Morris MP, James Wharton MP, John Stevenson MP, Jonathan Evans MP, Karl McCartney MP, Louise Mensch MP, Marcus Jones MP, Mark Spencer MP, Mary Macleod MP, Matthew Offord MP, Michael Ellis MP, Mike Weatherley MP, Neil Carmichael MP, Nick de Bois MP, Nicola Blackwood MP, Nigel Mills MP, Oliver Colvile MP, Paul Uppal MP, Peter Aldous MP, Richard Fuller MP, Richard Graham MP, Richard Harrington MP, Sarah Newton MP, Simon Kirby MP, Simon Reevell MP, Stuart Andrew MP, Tory MPs Groups | Permalink | Comments
By Paul Goodman
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Here is the Defence Secretary's statement, and below are questions from Conservative MPs with his answers. It's worth noting that Fox went out of his way to disagree with former serviceman Kris Hopkins - who features in Gazette this morning - that the incident was a dark day for the army as a whole, rather than for the individuals responsible. Ministers usually strive to avoid disagreeing with colleagues on the floor of the Commons, and Fox is an extremely skilful performer in the Chamber. That he felt he had to make the distinction reflects its importance to him (and I think he was right).
Friday, September 09, 2011 in Bob Stewart MP, Children, Schools and Families, Christopher Pincher MP, Dan Byles MP, David Morris MP, Julian Lewis, Kris Hopkins MP, Liam Fox MP, Oliver Colvile MP, Rehman Chisti MP | Permalink | Comments (1)
Two more of the Class of 2010 who stood twice in the same seat before successfully being elected made their maiden speeches on Monday.
“I came into politics as a Conservative party agent. For 10 years I was Angela Rumbold's agent, who I am very sad to say died on Saturday evening. I am very sorry about that, because she was an incredibly good friend and I am grateful for all the advice that she gave me - I am thinking about the speech that I am making now as well.”
He then went on to highlight the issue of combat stress:
“The big issue that I feel is going to be important in this debate on the strategic defence and security review is that of combat stress and the facilities that we need, including in Plymouth. I realise that a number of colleagues have spoken about this issue, but I very much hope that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State takes on board the ticking time bomb that is lurking in Plymouth as well. Coming from a service family whose father entered the Navy at the age of 14, I was brought up with an understanding of some of the mental health issues that went with his colleagues and friends. Recently, the Royal British Legion made it clear to me that it can take up to 14 and a half years for issues to do with combat stress to become apparent.
“Plymouth has a serious drug and alcohol problem. Unless we take action now, I am afraid that we will be putting greater pressure on our health service, police, prisons and housing, so I would say that this is a case of "Action stations now". If I do nothing else in my time in this House but raise the issue of mental health and combat stress, I feel that I will have made as significant a contribution as those other Members, including Dame Joan Vickers, who was a pre-eminent Member of Parliament.”
She told the Commons:
“Jacqui Smith and I have three things in common. We are both mothers with two children, we both have sisters called Sarah, and we both have husbands called Richard. But I think we will leave that one there.”
She went on to speak with pride about the constituency she has fought so long and hard to represent in Parliament:
“Redditch county is a mixture of rural and urban communities and in that there are many challenges to face. The town of Redditch has suffered the loss of many manufacturing jobs over the years, especially with the demise of the car industry. However, in their place, there are many small and medium-sized businesses that will be looking to us to try and build the economy and ensure direct investment into our country and into Redditch… I am so proud to be here, standing up for the people of Redditch county, and fighting on their behalf. It has taken me 10 years, but it has been worth it.”
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