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David Cameron pleases Tory backbenchers as he says IPSA must change or it will be changed

By Jonathan Isaby

At last week's 1922 Committee meeting Sir George Young was given a stern message on IPSA: "Sort it - or Cameron will regret it".

David Cameron has just spent half an hour in Committee Room 14 giving an end of term address to Tory MPs and he tackled the subject head on.

He told them that he understood the pain and difficulty IPSA's current practices are causing, that they were  effectively anti-family and that the system as currently working was simply not acceptable. The Prime Minister said that he was setting a deadline of April 1st for IPSA to change the way it works itself, or else it will be changed. This was greeted warmly by Tory backbenchers, some of whom speculated to me afterwards that they felt that the Government may yet be prepared to give backing to Adam Afriyie's private member's bill on the subject, or at least an amended verison thereof.

Mr Cameron also used the meeting to tell colleagues to be proud of what the Government was doing with its "bold, radical, reforming agenda" on schools, the health service, policing, reducing the deficit and so on. They could be far more proud of what they've done as they go back to their constituencies for Christmas than their Labour counterparts, he emphasised.

He also sought to reassure them that while Labour are loudly opposing all kinds of measures currently being introduced, they won't be making the same arguments come the next general election as the political environment will be completely different with free schools, police commissioners etc established part of the political fabric which Labour will not be seeking to reverse once implemented.

As an aside, whilst waiting in the corridor to go into the meeting, the Prime Minister happily chatted to the press waiting outside and revealed to us, among other things, that he will go to Oldham East and Saddleworth to campaign for the Conservative candidate, Kashif Ali.


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