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The significance of Brady's election

ThreeInMarriage What is the meaning of the victory of Graham Brady in yesterday's 1922 committee election?

First, it is important to say that this is not a full rebellion against David Cameron's leadership - as presented by many of this morning's newspapers...

Worst Most Tory MPs - like most Tory members - are content with the Coalition. The election of Graham Brady - and other right-wingers* to every key position on the '22 - is a sign, however, that many backbenchers are concerned at Cameron's style of party management.

What does the prime Minister need to do? A few thoughts:

Remember that there are three parties to this Coalition marriage; the Liberal Democrats, the Liberal Conservatives in Downing Street and the Right. The Right are thrilled with the Gove/IDS agenda but do not feel part of the overall project. Last week's attempt by Cameron to neuter the '22 - at the same Clegg was explaining the Coalition deal to his backbenchers - was the worst example of the problem.

Show awareness that he lost the General Election. The same we-know-best attitude that worked in opposition and was always defended with the 'we're 15% ahead in the polls' line won't work now.

Modernise the Whips' office. In many ways the Whips still operate as if it's the 1950s and treat MPs as though they have graduated from largely hierarchical, almost military, workplaces where orders are given and accepted. The 49% of Tory MPs who are new have not come from hierarchical settings but from working environments where structures are flat. Decisions are taken more as a team. Incentives rather than punishments are used in most modern offices to deliver results.

Set up an External Relations Unit that builds better relationships with key groups and individuals in the conservative movement. Contact with think tanks and commentators is too hit-and-miss. More here.

Allow more ministers to have Special Advisers. Ministers will be more effective if they have conservative SpAds at their sides than if they have to navigate the civil service bureaucracy on their own. There will be a cost to the taxpayer but the taxpayer will get better government and good, talented people will not be lost to the Coalition's big causes. More here.

Davis-Redwood Listen on CGT. The immediate issue causing backbench/ frontbench friction- raised by John Redwood, David Davis and Lord Forsyth - is the plan to increase CGT. John Redwood on his blog and David Davis in today's Daily Mail both advocate ways to reform CGT that will minimise the impact on investors and savers.

Graham Brady - like other members of the Right - does not want open confrontation. He will be loyal in public and candid in private. I wish him and the other new members of the '22 every success in their task.

Tim Montgomerie

* 'Right-winger' is an unsatisfactory description for people who are defenders of the more established Conservative beliefs; low taxation, Euroscepticism, a tough approach to crime, national security.


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