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Tory MPs back Andrew Lansley against the "yellow bastards"

By Tim Montgomerie

The more Liberal Democrat MPs attack Andrew Lansley's health reforms the more Tory MPs rally to the Health Secretary's side.

The Guardian's Nick Watt has just reported that "the health secretary was cheered to the rafters when he appeared before the 1922 committee". A senior Tory predicted that this would happen when he called me earlier. There is fury in the parliamentary party at the way Nick Clegg and other senior Lib Dems are abandoning their support for the NHS White Paper.

Nick goes on to report that Tory MPs want to "get those bloody bastards... the Liberal Democrats who are now playing this political game. They are demanding all these changes forgetting that they voted for the bill at second reading."

Paul Goodman tells me that Watt's report is incomplete in one respect. Tory MPs didn't say they wanted to get the "bloody bastards" but the "yellow bastards"!

9.45pm update: A Tory MP has just called me to give me some background. One reason, my source said, for Tory MPs' loyalty to Andrew Lansley was his "impeccable behaviour". Cameron and Clegg both signed up to the Health Secretary's reforms but both, particularly Clegg, have backed off them since. Lansley hasn't briefed the media against anyone. He's been loyal and uncomplaining. "We wanted him to know that we know he's been a team player and we are on his team," my source said. Vince would undoubtedly see this as "tribal".


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