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Backbencher of 2009


CARSWELL DOUGLAS Jonathan Isaby's pick: My choice for backbencher of the year goes to the independent-minded free-thinking Conservative backbencher who took a bold, brave, yet thoroughly correct stand in tabling an historic Commons motion in May this year:

"That this House has no confidence in Mr Speaker and calls for him to step down; notes that Mr Speaker has failed to provide leadership in matters relating to hon. Members' expenses; believes that a new Speaker urgently needs to be elected by secret ballot..."

Through that simple motion - allied with his outspoken musings on his blog and in the media on the matter - Douglas Carswell played a pivotal role in causing the resignation of the much discredited Michael Martin, the first Speaker to be forced from office for over 300 years. For that alone he deserves this accolade.

Tim Montgomerie's pick: I'm picking a big beast backbencher from the Lords, former Chancellor Nigel Lawson. Like Peter Lilley, in the debate on climate change Lord Lawson has been a brave and persuasive advocate of a strategy of technological adaptation rather than avoidance.  His position was set out in his important book, An Appeal to Reason: A Cool Look at Global Warming. In the aftermath of Copenhagen's failure his new think tank - The Global Warming Policy Forum - proposed a 'Plan B' that would revisit climate change science, end UK unilateralism on emissions and would pursue policies that would enrich rather than handicap the developing world. The famously unassailable Chancellor may have been wrong about the ERM but he's on the money on climate change.


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