Conservative Diary

« The Times reports that Iain Duncan Smith has won his battle for a universal credit | Main | Rolling record of Conference policy announcements »

1922 Committee Secretary: Liberal Democrats holding Conservative Ministers "to ransom"

By Paul Goodman

Screen shot 2010-10-01 at 14.54.49 4.30pm update: Gather that the quote attributed to Brady in the transcript actually comes from Chope.  So that's Brady in the clear (as far as the Whips are concerned, at any rate, and Chope out on his own).  

I didn't hear the World at One, but Politics Home (£) has an account.  It cites four Tory MPs on the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats and the Coalition.  I'll simply list the quotes -

Chris Chope (1922 Committee Secretary): "[Ministers] are effectively being held to ransom by a small group of Liberal Democrats who are, I think, in a sense the tail wagging dog on too many occasions. I've spoken to Conservative ministers and I know a number of them share those frustrations."

Chope also said that David Cameron appeared to be "giving a lot of ground on issues which are sensitive to the Conservatives"; that decisions were "handed down to us on tablets of stone", and that the coalition was "proceeding on a basis of continuous appeasement without consulting the backbenchers".

Graham Brady (1922 Committee Chairman): Conservative whips have been "heavy handed beyond anything I can recall in threatening termination of political careers before they’ve even started".

Andrew Percy (Chairman, backbench Public Services Committee): "I voted against the government a couple of times already, I did it on the fixed term parliaments bill a couple of weeks ago...If I feel strongly about something I think that what people want is either to be standing up for them on a particular issue or to have their own principles or stick by them."

Robert Halfon (1922 Executive Committee member): "I do believe it is my duty, to represent the people of Harlow, to stand up for my community. If there is a serious issue, something that my constituency is going to be threatened by, whether its by my government or by anyone else, I have to stand up and represent my community. The public just do not like people who just go to Westminster and do whatever the bidding is."

The Percy and Halfon quotes seem to me to be unexceptional.  Those from Chope and Brady (especially) are more striking, given their seniority.  Health warning: all the quotes are of course out of context, and I'd like to see the transcript.  But they're striking as they stand, and worth a mention.


You must be logged in using Intense Debate, Wordpress, Twitter or Facebook to comment.