Stewart Jackson MP

28 Mar 2013 13:26:36

Mixed reaction from Conservative MPs to Cameron's micro-shuffle

Screen shot 2013-03-28 at 13.03.04

Screen shot 2013-03-28 at 13.03.17
Screen shot 2013-03-28 at 13.03.31

Screen shot 2013-03-28 at 13.04.56
Screen shot 2013-03-28 at 13.04.22
Screen shot 2013-03-28 at 13.03.48

By Paul Goodman
Follow Paul on Twitter.

  • Further to Tim Montgomerie's report earlier this morning, Conservative MPs and others are asking whether the main driver of the move was the Liberal Democrats' desire to get Hayes out of DECC - though they will find Michael Fallon no pushover: the very opposite - or David Cameron's wish to get him into Downing Street.
  • If the latter is the case, a further question arises - namely, does the Prime Minister now feel that his position with part of his own party is so troubled as to justify a small reshuffle?  If so, is the move a sign of strength or weakness?
  • As one of the founding members of Cornerstone, the gregarious Hayes is not in a bad position to make overtures to the centre-right of the party.  But he isn't on easy terms with all of it, let alone other parts of the Parliamentary Party.
  • And as the tweets above indicate, there is irritation among some MPs with an interest in energy policy at Hayes being moved out of DECC.  After all, he was moved to that department in order to "deliver our people a win on wind farms" - as Cameron is reported to have told him.

1 Mar 2013 19:43:58

A round-up of how Tory MPs have reacted to the #Eastleigh election result

By Tim Montgomerie
Follow Tim on Twitter

On ConHome Adam Afryie's Eastleigh reflection urged a focus on measures to boost economic growth. Read it here.

The best contribution I've seen so far came from Gavin Barwell. He urged a focus on rebuilding our ground operation and focusing on so-called pavement politics. Paul Goodman has also worried today about the decline of our grassroots strength.

Here's a collection of what some other Tory MPs have been saying in reaction to the Eastleigh by-election:

LAING EleanorEleanor Laing warned David Cameron against alienating more traditionalist supporters: “Loyalty is a two-way thing and the leadership of the Conservative Party asks for loyalty from our supporters but those supporters don’t feel that they’re getting loyalty back.” She continued: "In my own constituency, on the doorsteps in Eastleigh and generally people I talk to – they actually feel hurt and they feel left out. They are told they are old-fashioned and they think they don't matter and what they stand for and what they believe in doesn't matter. Those people who for decades have put their faith in the Conservative party – the only way to take forward those issues people really care about is to have a truly Conservative government. To do that, the leadership of my party has to tune in better to the people who want to support it, who want loyalty and who now feel rather left out." Quoted in The Guardian.

Here's what some MPs have been saying on Twitter:

  • Michael Fabricant called for more focus and more simplicity of message: "The Conservative voice is muffled and not crisp. It does not clearly project Conservative core policies or principles. / The Cons Party must now co-ordinate & simplify its message without policy distractions away from core principles. 26 months / Everyone from the PM downwards must focus on the economy, immigration, crime, Europe and not allow other side policies distract."
  • Stewart Jackson called for a focus on strivers: "#Eastleigh puts more pressure on George Osborne to deliver an authentic Conservative Middle England striver's Budget. Over to you George"
  • Douglas Carswell urged the Tory leadership to stop worrying about pundits: "Don't alienate base in return for pundit applause. Pundits don't have many votes / Win over base. Then reach out beynd."
  • Sarah Wollaston urges the party not to move Right: "The response to losing in #Eastleigh must not be a move to the right for the Tories. Poor result for Conservatives despite R wing candidate".
  • Nick de Bois urges focus on cost of living and economy: "Suspect constituents will remind me to urge gov to just focus on cost of living & jobs-not "left"not"right" not modernising,just the economy".

And I was glad to see some kind words from Claire Perry for Maria Hutchings:

Screen Shot 2013-03-01 at 19.42.40

I hope there'll be no briefing against a good lady.

5 Dec 2012 11:09:15

70 Tory MPs vote to repeal the Human Rights Act

By Matthew Barrett
Follow Matthew on Twitter.

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" »

24 Nov 2012 08:54:59

The 118 Tory MPs the Daily Mail lists as being opposed to gay marriage

By Matthew Barrett
Follow Matthew on Twitter.

The Daily Mail this morning reports on the 118 Conservative MPs who have written to constituents indicating their opposition to gay marriage proposals. The Mail says "Their opposition has been expressed in letters and emails sent to constituents who have contacted them with their own concerns", and points out that if these MPs voted against proposals, it would constitute the biggest Tory rebellion in modern times. However, Equalities Minister (and Secretary of State for Culture) Maria Miller pointed out on Twitter that since any vote on the issue would be a free vote, it would not technically be counted as a rebellion.

I have listed the MPs from the Mail's story below.

  1. Nigel Adams (Selby and Ainsty)
  2. Peter Aldous (Waveney)
  3. Tony Baldry (Banbury)
  4. Guto Bebb (Aberconwy)
  5. Henry Bellingham (North West Norfolk)
  6. Sir Paul Beresford (Mole Valley)
  7. Jake Berry (Rossendale and Darwen)
  8. Andrew Bingham (High Peak)
  9. Brian Binley (Northampton South)
  10. Bob Blackman (Harrow East)
  11. Nicola Blackwood (Oxford West and Abingdon)
  12. Peter Bone (Wellingborough)
  13. Graham Brady (Altrincham and Sale West)
  14. Julian Brazier (Canterbury)
  15. Andrew Bridgen (North West Leicestershire)
  16. Steve Brine (Winchester)
  17. Fiona Bruce (Congleton)
  18. Robert Buckland (South Swindon)
  19. Conor Burns (Bournemouth West)*
  20. Simon Burns (Chelmsford)
  21. David Burrowes (Enfield Southgate)
  22. Alun Cairns (Vale of Glamorgan)
  23. Douglas Carswell (Clacton)
  24. William Cash (Stone)
  25. Rehman Chishti (Gillingham and Rainham)
  26. Christopher Chope (Christchurch)
  27. Geoffrey Clifton-Brown (The Cotswolds)
  28. Therese Coffey (Suffolk Coastal)
  29. Geoffrey Cox (Torridge and West Devon)
  30. Stephen Crabb (Preseli Pembrokeshire)
  31. David Davies (Monmouth)
  32. Glyn Davies (Montgomeryshire)
  33. Philip Davies (Shipley)
  34. David Davis (Haltemprice and Howden)
  35. Nick de Bois (Enfield North)
  36. Caroline Dinenage (Gosport)
  37. Richard Drax (South Dorset)
  38. Charlie Elphicke (Dover)
  39. Jonathan Evans (Cardiff North)
  40. David Evennett (Bexleyheath and Crayford)
  41. George Freeman (Mid Norfolk)
  42. Richard Fuller (Bedford)
  43. Roger Gale (North Thanet)
  44. Edward Garnier (Harborough)
  45. John Glen (Salisbury)
  46. Cheryl Gillan (Chesham and Amersham)
  47. Robert Goodwill (Scarborough and Whitby)
  48. Robert Halfon (Harlow)
  49. Philip Hammond (Runnymede and Weybridge)
  50. John Hayes (South Holland and The Deepings)
  51. Gordon Henderson (Sittingbourne and Sheppey)
  52. George Hollingbery (Meon Valley)
  53. Philip Hollobone (Kettering)
  54. Adam Holloway (Gravesham)
  55. Gerald Howarth (Aldershot)
  56. Stewart Jackson (Peterborough)
  57. Gareth Johnson (Dartford)
  58. David Jones (Clwyd West)
  59. Marcus Jones (Nuneaton)
  60. Eleanor Laing (Epping Forest)
  61. Pauline Latham (Mid Derbyshire)
  62. Andrea Leadsom (South Northamptonshire)
  63. Philip Lee (Bracknell)
  64. Jeremy Lefroy (Stafford)
  65. Edward Leigh (Gainsborough)
  66. Julian Lewis (New Forest East)
  67. Ian Liddell-Grainger (Bridgwater and West Somerset)
  68. Peter Lilley (Hitchen and Harpenden)
  69. Jonathan Lord (Woking)
  70. Tim Loughton (East Worthing and Shoreham)
  71. Anne Main (St Albans)
  72. Paul Maynard (Blackpool North and Cleveleys)
  73. Anne-Marie Morris (Newton Abbot)
  74. Karl McCartney (Lincoln)
  75. Anne McIntosh (Thirsk and Malton)
  76. Stephen McPartland (Stevenage)
  77. Esther McVey (Wirral West)
  78. Steve Metcalfe (South Basildon and East Thurrock)
  79. Nicky Morgan (Loughborough)
  80. David Nuttall (Bury North)
  81. Matthew Offord (Hendon)
  82. Neil Parish (Tiverton and Honiton)
  83. Priti Patel (Witham)
  84. Owen Paterson (North Shropshire)
  85. Mark Pawsey (Rugby)
  86. Mike Penning (Hemel Hempstead)
  87. Christopher Pincher (Tamworth)
  88. Mark Pritchard (The Wrekin)
  89. John Redwood (Wokingham)
  90. Jacob Rees-Mogg (North East Somerset)
  91. Simon Reevell (Dewsbury)
  92. Andrew Robathan (South Leicestershire)
  93. Laurence Robertson (Tewkesbury)
  94. Andrew Rosindell (Romford)
  95. David Ruffley (Bury St Edmunds)
  96. David Rutley (Macclesfield)
  97. Andrew Selous (South West Bedfordshire)
  98. Alec Shelbrooke (Elmet and Rothwell)
  99. Richard Shepherd (Aldridge-Brownhills)
  100. Henry Smith (Crawley)
  101. John Stevenson (Carlisle)
  102. Bob Stewart (Beckenham)
  103. Gary Streeter (South West Devon)
  104. Mel Stride (Central Devon)
  105. Robert Syms (Poole)
  106. David Tredinnick (Bosworth)
  107. Andrew Turner (Isle of Wight)
  108. Andrew Tyrie (Chichester)
  109. Paul Uppal (Wolverhampton South West)
  110. Martin Vickers (Cleethorpes)
  111. Ben Wallace (Wyre and Preston North)
  112. Robert Walter (North Dorset)
  113. James Wharton (Stockton South)
  114. Craig Whittaker (Calder Valley)
  115. John Whittingdale (Maldon)
  116. Bill Wiggin (North Herefordshire)
  117. Gavin Williamson (South Staffordshire)
  118. Jeremy Wright (Kenilworth and Southam)
* Conor Burns has stated that he will not be voting against gay marriage but may abstain.

25 Oct 2012 06:44:41

Prisoner votes, the Twittering MPs revolt - and an unwhippable Parliamentary Party?

By Paul Goodman
Follow Paul on Twitter

Screen shot 2012-10-25 at 06.30.10
Screen shot 2012-10-25 at 06.31.00
Screen shot 2012-10-25 at 06.32.02
I wrote recently that it has never been harder to be a Whip.  This morning, I cite as supporting evidence the above tweets, issued on Tuesday evening - immediately after the Guardian's claim that the Government was considering supporting votes for prisoners went online.  There will be more along the same lines from other Conservative MPs for those who care to trawl through the backlog.

Once upon a time, a controversial claim would break in the morning's papers, print and radio journalists would try to get MPs to comment, and the Whips would try to shut them up.  Now the combination of online news and Twitter has transformed all that.  MPs are setting out their position before the Whips Office has had time to scratch its head.

No wonder one Whip says that the Parliamentary Party is now unwhippable.

6 Jul 2012 15:05:03

Backbench Tories irked by Lib Dem threats over Lords reform

By Matthew Barrett
Follow Matthew on Twitter.

Since the interview with a recently-departed senior Nick Clegg aide, Richard Reeves, in this morning's newspapers, which intimated there would be consequences for the Government's boundary review if backbench Tories vote against stopping debate on Lords reform, a number of Tory MPs have appeared in the media to express their thoughts - from frustration to amusement - at the Lib Dems' threats.

Dan Byles - Parliamentary Candidate for North Warwickshire & Bedworth1Firstly, Dan Byles (North Warwickshire) on BBC Five Live, expressed his disappointment that the vote next week will be whipped:

"The idea that a fundamental and irreversible constitutional change should be pushed through with the usual whipping and guillotining that happens on more routine bills is just unthinkable. Coalition policy was to seek a consensus on House of Lords reform and I think it’s pretty clear to anyone watching this debate that they failed to achieve a consensus."

Bone Peter JulySecondly, Peter Bone (Wellingborough), appearing on the Daily Politics show, was asked how he felt being threatened by the Lib Dems. He replied:

"Quaking in my boots. ... They just can’t be trusted. I mean, the deal was they got this wretched AV vote in return for the boundary review. They all voted for that bill, I actually voted against the bill, and now because they didn’t get what they wanted in the AV they’re now saying ‘well it’s all about House of Lords reform.’ ... House of Lords reforms were bringing forward proposals, seeking agreement, but nothing about legislation. The Prime Minister said it was a third term priority. A consensus is a consensus, and we’re still seeking it. We haven’t quite made it yet."

Continue reading "Backbench Tories irked by Lib Dem threats over Lords reform" »

2 Jul 2012 14:38:48

Backbench Tories urge more action towards a referendum commitment from the Government

By Matthew Barrett
Follow Matthew on Twitter.

Between Liam Fox's speech this morning, and David Cameron's statement to the House about his European Council meeting (at 3.30pm), a number of backbench Tories have voiced their mixed feelings about the Prime Minister's referendum intervention.

Bone PeterPeter Bone (Wellingborough), appearing on Sky News, said:

"A lot of people think that the current government should renegotiate its relationship with Brussels so that we just have an economic relationship and then put that to the British people. Either we accept the terms or we leave and I think that’s what many Conservatives think should be done and what we would like the Prime Minister to say very clearly."

Jackson StewartStewart Jackson (Peterborough), appearing on the BBC's Daily Politics, set out his desire for an "unambiguous commitment" from the Prime Minister for a referendum: 

"It’s time we trusted the people, because frankly, people don’t trust senior politicians, mandarins, or Europe any longer. David Cameron has to be clear, unambiguous and specific with a timeframe for what that renegotiation will be. ... What I, and many colleagues want is an unambiguous commitment, a route map to real renegotiation at this historic juncture with the EU and definitely a referendum to let the people decide."

Baron John  2

Continue reading "Backbench Tories urge more action towards a referendum commitment from the Government" »

5 Jun 2012 17:57:54

More photographs of Tory MPs celebrating the Jubilee (featuring a lot of cake and rain)

By Tim Montgomerie
Follow Tim on Twitter

I published some photographs of Tory MPs - including the Prime Minister - enjoying the Jubilee celebrations on Sunday. Here are some more. They involve a lot of cake and quite a bit of rain.

First up is Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt. No doubt enjoying the break from the responsibilities he has for Middle Eastern policy he's judging a Jubilee cake competition at Wyboston, Chawston and Colesden Village Party.

Diamond jubilee june 2012  Cakes at Wyboston

Continue reading "More photographs of Tory MPs celebrating the Jubilee (featuring a lot of cake and rain)" »

15 May 2012 15:45:08

Tomorrow's 1922 Committee Elections - nominations in full

By Paul Goodman
Follow Paul on Twitter

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:


4 May 2012 12:05:47

Record of how Conservative MPs are reacting to the local election results

A variety of reactions are pasted in this blog. The names of those calling for some change of message, priority or operational changes are emboldened. We have also included the contributions of MPs who have not advocated substantial changes.

5.45pm A little round-up of what Tory MPs have said during the day:

David Ruffley MP advocated radical economic measures - and a withdrawal from the Coalition if Lib Dems won't back them:

"I think now with the position now where there was a Coalition Agreement two years ago but quite a few senior colleagues think that was then, this is now. We didn't think two years ago that the economy would still be flat on its back and everything now has to be directed towards getting the British economy going. And yes it does mean looking at tax again but also, a freer labour market, the hiring and firing proposals to make sure that young people aren't turned away from jobs because of the very onerous social employment protection legislation in this country, so we should say to the Liberals on things like that which they are blocking, 'Listen we are in a real hole now. We need some radical economic polices put in place and you go with it and if you don't, we how would you like a general election?'"

Peter Bone MP urged the Government to drop any "wishy-washy" policies in the Queen's Speech:

"You can see what happens when there is a Conservative Government, because there was a Conservative Government run in London by Boris and he got re-elected. He put forward Conservative policies and he got re-elected and he bucked the national trend, and that really should be a message for the Coalition. Be more conservative and be less liberal wishy-washy and I think that’s what the voters would like to see in the Queen’s speech.” 

Continue reading "Record of how Conservative MPs are reacting to the local election results " »

4 May 2012 06:14:38

What is the Cornerstone group? Matthew Barrett profiles the socially conservative Tory backbench group

By Matthew Barrett
Follow Matthew on Twitter

My series profiling the backbench groups of Tory MPs has so far mainly featured groups founded or mostly composed of 2010 intake MPs. Last time, I looked at the Thatcherite No Turning Back group, founded in the 1980s. This week's group is somewhere between the two. The Cornerstone Group is the main group whose defining mission is to represent socially conservative Members of Parliament. The group was formed in 2005, and presented some challenges for David Cameron's leadership. In this profile, I'll see how the group is doing now.

Origins of the group

HayesLeighCornerstone was founded by Edward Leigh and John Hayes, who still chair the group. Leigh has been the MP for Gainsborough since 1983, and is a former Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Department of Trade and Industry, who was sacked for his opposition to Maastricht, and John Hayes, who has been the MP for South Holland and the Deepings since 1997, and the Minister of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning since 2010.

Cornerstone admired the work done during Iain Duncan Smith's time as leader to promote a more communitarian, Burkean conservatism, and wanted to ensure IDS' work on this front was carried on.

When the group launched formally in July 2005, it released a pamphlet, which criticised Michael Howard's election campaign for being too quiet about tax cuts, public service reform and family values. Strongly condemning the personality politics and liberalism of New Labour, Leigh wrote:

"We believe that these values must be stressed: tradition, nation, family, religious ethics, free enterprise ... Emulating New Labour both lacks authenticity and is unlikely to make us popular. We must seize the centre ground and pull it kicking and screaming towards us. That is the only way to demolish the foundations of the liberal establishment and demonstrate to the electorate the fundamental flaws on which it is based."

The group first exerted its influence during the 2005 leadership contest. A group of about twenty Cornerstone supporters interviewed David Cameron, David Davis and Liam Fox. Fox apparently put in the best performance, while David Davis was, reportedly, not able to take criticism well. This meeting, combined with David Davis' alienating stint as the Minister for Europe under Major, and Davis' reluctance to support Iain Duncan Smith's compassionate conservatism programme wholeheartedly, is thought to be why many Cornerstone supporters first voted for Fox, and then switched to Cameron.

Continue reading "What is the Cornerstone group? Matthew Barrett profiles the socially conservative Tory backbench group" »

26 Feb 2012 07:18:13

Stewart Jackson MP's review of the parliamentary week

Big_Ben_Diary_pen2In a new feature ConservativeHome will be posting a review of the last seven days by a different parliamentarian. Stewart Jackson, MP for Peterborough, is our first diarist.

Margaret Hodge

Having just been elected to the Public Accounts Committee, Monday lunchtime sees me ascending to the gods in the Palace of Westminster to take tea with Committee Chair Margaret Hodge in her spacious oak panelled office which is a perk of the job, located on the Upper Committee corridor. She has a miniscule lunch of a mug of soup and a ryvita, which wouldn’t satisfay me or an anaemic chinchilla, as we chat about the committee’s work and her working style. We end up shooting the breeze about family members of hers who live near Peterborough – and have roads named after them. As Maggie said of Gorby, I think I can do business with Margaret.
Iran debate

Later, I take part in the Iran debate in the Commons. Surely the Commons at its best. Thoughtful, well researched speeches, agreement across party based on common sense and the national interest - as well as mutual respect for opposing approaches to this foreign affairs crisis. William Hague excelling in the job he was born to do – his speech authoritative and yet undogmatic. A bravely unfashionable outing for John Baron (short on supporters for his peacenik viewpoint) but sincere nevertheless and outstanding speeches by a host of colleagues, particularly Ben Wallace, who argued from a position of expertise as the joint Chair of the All Party Group on Iran that it was vital to allow political and diplomatic efforts to be exhausted before committing ourselves to miltary action. It can’t be long before he gets a job on the Front Bench surely?
Child benefit and 40p taxpayers

The next day, I attend Chris Chope’s adjournment debate in Westminster Hall on the barmy policy of clobbering higher rate taxpayers by removing their child benefit entitlement. Part of the role of the backbencher is to ask awkward questions and to see what’s behind the curtain, like in the Wizard of Oz. Chris isn’t everyone’s skinny organic latte but I admire his tenacity and forensic mind. Treasury Minister David Gauke, an old mucker from my Brent days, plays a chaarcteristically straight bat. He gives nothing away and will go far, not least because he’s clever and personable.

Scotch and Speakers

That evening, I repair to the State Rooms in the Speaker’s House for a dinner in honour of the Canadian Speaker, an unfeasibly young man called Stephen Scheer. I drift into dinner accompanied by two stunning blondes – Nadine Dorries and Caroline Dineage - and seat myself next to the Speaker’s Chaplain, Rose Hudson-Wilkin, a Hackney vicar who is a joy to break bread with. The evening is completed via a sojourn to the Smoking Room, with a few Scotch and sodas shared with Local Government Minister Bob Neill, a font of stories from his time as a criminal barrister in the East End, Nadine and Mark Francois (another Brent veteran and who I am fond of despite him being a very important Whip!) We agree that Ken Dodd got off his tax rap because he was funny and Lester Piggott didn’t because he wasn’t.
Grammar schools

Wednesday afternoon, I drag myself along to a Delegated Legislation committee meeting on the new schools admissions regulations. They’re usually like watching undercoat dry but this one’s a treat. The chirpy Shadow Schools Minister Kevin Brennan holds forth on the horrors of grammar schools (I went to one myself incidentally) and I can’t resist wading in, completely unprepared, to biff Labour for their levelling down, class war backward looking approach. I wasn’t very Cameron-compliant but if you get a “hear hear” from Nick Boles and the saintly Nick Gibb, you must be ticking a few boxes in A-List Towers.
Labour and the NHS

I pop in and out of the Chamber through the afternoon and watch Andy Burnham’s red faced histrionics on the NHS Risk Register and Andrew Lansley’s fact-based, calm and reasoned demolition of Labour’s opportunistic motion. Mark Simmonds too, as ever, makes a very skilful peroration. He argued with passion that the Conservatives would never privatise the NHS, that he uses the NHS but that those who cared about the NHS know that it simply has to be reformed and that Labour were hypocritical in backing a greater role for the independent healthcare in their 2010 manifesto but eschewing it for partisan political reasons over the Health and Social Care Bill. As the vote is declared, I follow Andrew out into the corridor behind the Speaker’s Chair and gently tap his arm with a supportive “well done”.  I feel a sense of solidarity as a Cambridgeshire neighbour and typically he tells me that he gave Peterborough City Hospital a helpful name check which would please me.

Don't mess with Jackie Doyle-Price

Thursday morning and the talk of the tea room is the Gunfight at the OK Corral (otherwise known as the rumble in Strangers Bar). I tell a lame joke along the lines of “…they shouldn’t have got rid of Top Totty…” With charges pending, I can’t say too much but apart from three beefy Northern Tory MPs the hero(ine) of the night was… the blond firecracker that is Thurrock’s Jackie Doyle-Price, who came over all Peggy Mitchell in the Queen Vic: “No one messes wiv mah staff!!!!”
Jacob Rees-Mogg, comedian

Thursday evening finds the whole Parliamentary Party trekking wildebeest-like across Lambeth Bridge for a bonding dinner in the bowels of a modern Thameside hotel, which seemed also to be hosting the cistern and urinals manufacturers’ expo, or some such jamboree. Speech of the night was not from the inestimable Keith Simpson with his usual hilarious party piece as the head of a minor public school but the comedic phenomenon of Jacob Rees-Mogg, whose dry wit is actually arid and who’s timing is sublime. His idea of offering Nick Boles as a hostage to the Lib Dems during particularly fraught Coalition negotiations brought the house down. I think, the voters of Somerset permitting, he will be a regular oratorical turn for colleagues in the coming years.
Ed Miliband, Tory secret weapon

An early start on Friday morning - to Portcullis House and a meeting of the whole party again, with presentations by polling gurus, party big cheeses, Downing Street beautiful people and a few “breakout” sessions. The sheer weight of Ed Milband as a drag anchor on Labour was unveiled and was quite startling - as was the disastrous failure of Labour to even come close to regaining any semblance of economic credibility. The PM has a tiger in his tank and is bright eyed and bushy tailed and the session finishes with Boris pressing all the right rhetorical hot buttons for his Parliamentary colleagues ahead of the London Mayoral election in May.
Signing off

As for me, at the end, I bolt for the tube and then a train from Kings Cross and my fine Fenland City. I’m going back to Peterborough not to prepare for government but my speaking engagement tonight for my colleague Louise Mensch, in nearby Corby. Me, I get all the top gigs! I’ve quite enjoyed this diary lark. As Mae West reputedly said: “Keep a diary and one day it will keep you." However, my stint as a cut price Samuel Pepys or Alan Clark (without the coven), is at an end.

> Next week's diarist will be Jesse Norman MP

5 Dec 2011 17:41:54

Rolling record of Tory MPs' comments on new EU Treaty

Friday 8.45am John Redwood MP blogs:

"Orderly but rapid break up would be the least cost option. It would liberate the countries allowed out, and permit them to adjust their competitiveness by a devaluation which would be swift and easier to sell than large wage cuts. There is  no foundation to the proposition that the EU would lose 10-50% of its output if they changed currencies. To my knowledge 87 countries have left currency unions since 1945. In most cases they have prospered more after exit. The successful break up of the 16 member rouble bloc could be the model."

8.30pm Philip Hollobone told Sky News:

Hollobone_phillip"...we need to have a disorderly breakup so that the whole of Europe and the rest of the world economy can get back to significant economic growth in the future. This idea that we can prop up the eurozone in the next ten years with constant austerity is just not going to work."

6.45pm The leader of the Conservatives in the European Parliament, Martin Callanan MEP said: 

CALLANAN MARTIN"If there is any treaty change which creates European fiscal union then clearly that will radically effect the UK and that should be put to a referendum. That is what democracy demands, because we would be creating a fundamental change to the EU and our relationship with it. However, that could take years to complete. It might be a way to solve the next crisis - but not this one. That is why the focus should be on measures to address the issues at the heart of this crisis."

He said these would include "The casual one-size-fits-all approach that had undermined the euro from its foundations", "The massive economic imbalance between its prosperous and economically-disciplined members and those which were debt-ridden and financially dysfunctional", "The over-regulation which hampered wealth-creation and innovation and encouraged a dependency culture in struggling states."

5.30pm Paul Waugh reports that Edward Leigh said the following in a Westminster Hall debate this afternoon:

LEIGH edward MP"We have had enough of reading of British prime ministers over the last 20 to 30 years in the days preceding a summit that 'they will stand up for the British national interest' and then coming back from a summit with a kind of Chamberlain-esque piece of paper saying, 'I have negotiated very, very hard, I have got opt-outs on this and that and I have succeeded in standing up for British interests'."

Update: Paul Waugh tweets

"No.10 hits back at Edward Leigh's Chamberlain remarks. PM's spokeswoman: "It was offensive and ridiculous.""

5.15pm Nadine Dorries blogged

DORRIES-Nadine"I have no doubt that the PM will return with some form of a guarantee for Britain as the last thing Merkel wants is a referendum in Britain. If Britain succumbs, other countries may follow suit and the effect such an event would have on the markets would be damaging for Germany. After all, it’s all about Germany. A fiscal union of 17 EU members forming one new country and in effect a new trading block will have huge implications for Britain and British business. It's time we gave the British people their say via a referendum. The next two days will test the Prime Ministers courage and skills. If he misses this opportunity to grasp the nettle and give the British People their say, they may eventually make him pay with the one vote they will have."

4.15pm Nick Boles appeared on the Daily Politics show this afternoon, and argued:

Jenkin Campbell Boles"Today is the moment of maximum economic danger for Britain. Our retail sales are falling, manufacturing output is collapsing, Brazil has stalled, China has stalled. The entire global economy is sitting on the edge of an abyss and the urgent priority for the British people is to protect our economy and their jobs by getting this Eurozone crisis fixed. We need to repatriate powers but we need to come to that after we've saved our economy, not before. ... What I want David Cameron to do is to protect our economy, protect our jobs - mainly, because that's the thing that's under most threat from the Eurozone - protect the City of London, but he needs to help them get a solution to the Eurozone crisis so that the entire European economy doesn't fall apart. ... We are going to work out an entirely new kind of outer-tier relationship, and that is a big exercise, it's a very important exercise, and it offers big opportunities for Britain, but it's probably going to take two or three years - it's not the work of a weekend when the global economy is on the precipice."

3.30pm Sir Peter Tapsell told Radio 4:

Tapsel Peter"The fact is the French and German leaders have been meeting for weeks and weeks. I have very little doubt that they will not be able to solve the eurocrisis on Friday but it is very much in the British national interests that it should be solved. As we argued at the time of the Maastricht Treaty to think that you can have a single a interest rate for a whole variety of countries at different stages in their development. And that remains true today and although we opted out of the euro right from the beginning and very sensibly so, but we are affected by the euro and I feel really sceptical that they can solve to eurocrisis, I don’t expect it to survive. ... The reason why Europe is in crisis has to be traced back to the Maastricht Treaty. They then introduced a whole series of measures which weakened the European economy by comparison with those of the Far East and America and so on."

Continue reading "Rolling record of Tory MPs' comments on new EU Treaty" »

28 Oct 2011 10:55:57

Tobias Ellwood returns as new PPS appointments confirmed

By Matthew Barrett
Follow Matthew on Twitter.

Following the resignations of Stewart Jackson and Adam Holloway as Parliamentary Private Secretaries, due to the European referendum vote, the following PPS appointments have been confirmed:

  • Conor Burns, MP for Bournemouth West, will act as PPS to the Rt Hon Owen Paterson MP, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
  • Gavin Williamson, MP for South Staffordshire, will act as PPS to the Rt Hon Hugo Swire MP, Minister of State for Northern Ireland
  • Tobias Ellwood, MP for Bournemouth East, will act as PPS to the Rt Hon David Lidington MP, Minister of State for Europe

Burns previously served as PPS to Hugo Swire, and so his appointment as PPS to Owen Paterson is a promotion. 

Gavin Williamson is a first-time PPS, and Tobias Ellwood was PPS to Liam Fox - until he resigned. 

2.30pm Update: Jonathan Isaby tweets: "News you may have missed: Central Devon Tory MP Mel Stride named as PPS to Skills Minister John Hayes."

Mel Stride replaces Sajid Javid as John Hayes' PPS. Javid became George Osborne's PPS in the ministerial shake-up that followed Liam Fox's resignation. 

Eagle-eyed commenters below also point out Aidan Burley MP (Cannock Chase) has been appointed PPS to Justine Greening, the Transport Secretary, having been PPS to Philip Hammond at Transport. 

29 Jun 2011 06:55:24

Fifteen Tory MPs back rebel amendment to recognise marriage in the tax system

MPs began debating the report stage of the Finance Bill yesterday, and voting did not finish until nearly 2am this morning.

The most notable point is that there was a rebellion in favour of a new clause to provide for the transfer of personal income tax allowances between spouses.

The new clause was tabled by Congleton MP Fiona Bruce but then moved by Gainsborough's Edward Leigh.

When it was put to the vote, it was defeated by 473 votes to 23, with the following fifteen Tories among the 23 (the others being DUP MPs and three Labour MPs):

  1. Peter Bone
  2. Fiona Bruce
  3. Douglas Carswell
  4. Chris Chope
  5. Philip Davies
  6. Nadine Dorries
  7. Gordon Henderson
  8. Philip Hollobone
  9. Edward Leigh
  10. Karl McCartney
  11. David Nuttall
  12. Matthew Offord
  13. Mark Reckless
  14. Andrew Turner
  15. Martin Vickers.

Continue reading "Fifteen Tory MPs back rebel amendment to recognise marriage in the tax system" »