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Who are the party's trainee attack dogs?

By Jonathan Isaby

On Monday, Tim wrote about how important it is that the Conservative Party chairman is able and willing to lead attacks on Labour and make regular media appearances in that capacity, as well as being a cheerleader for the party.

Looking at the press releases being pumped out by CCHQ over recent weeks, it has struck me that apart from co-chairman Baroness Warsi and Deputy Chairman Michael Fallon, an increasing number of members of the 2010 intake not yet on the frontbench have started being quoted in such releases.

Many have been asking parliamentary questions relevant to the topics on which they are speaking out, but the fact that they are then being quoted in the CCHQ releases suggests to me that the party is keen to train up a new generation of attack dogs.

Over the last couple of weeks, the following backbenchers have all been the Conservative politician quoted in press releases:

February 16th and 18th - Suffolk West MP and former chief of staff to George Osborne, Matthew Hancock, castigates Ed Balls for getting his sums wrong on VAT and attacks Labour for failing to deal with the ballooning welfare bill.  

February 20th and 28th - Bristol North West MP and Education Select Committee member Charlotte Leslie attacks Labour's failure during its time in government to equip more disadvantaged children with the skills to allow them to get to university, and exposes how the number of "titan schools" increased under Labour, impacting on parental choice and teachers' ability to teach.

February 20th - South Staffordshire MP Gavin Williamson attacks Labour for their confusion over NHS spending, accusing them of naked political opportunism.

February 21st - Stratford-on-Avon MP Nadhim Zahawi highlights how more young people back abolition of Educational Maintenance Allowance than support its retention, exposing how Labour had previously called for EMA to be better targeted.

February 22nd - Central Suffolk and Ipswich North MP and member of the Health and Social Care Bill Committee, Dan Poulter, notes an increase in doctors and reduction in managers working in the NHS, attacking Labour for scaremongering about the Government's plans.

February 22nd - Salisbury MP and Defence Select Committee member John Glen highlights Lord West's criticisms of Labour's "ludicrous" defence procurement decisions.

February 22nd - North West Leicestershire MP Andrew Bridgen exposes Ed Miliband and Ed Balls for signing a petition opposing council budget reductions in Greater Manchester and challenges them to explain why they are making unfunded spending commitments.

Feburary 25th - Croydon Central MP Gavin Barwell notes that there are now more critical care beds in NHS hospitals than ever before, whilst Labour have opposed the Government's investment in the NHS.

Having MPs up for taking the fight to Labour (and getting their hands dirty if necessary) is incredibly important - in opposition Greg Hands was particularly expert at doing so - so it is reassuring to see that a new generation of attacks dogs is emerging.

There are others in the new intake, aside from those above, who are good at getting stuck into Labour to attack their failures and inconsistencies in a combative way.

Priti Patel, Nick de Bois, Brandon Lewis, Kwasi Kwarteng and Margot James would be five more names I wouldn't mind seeing doing more of this kind of thing - all articulate, confident, presentable and unlikely to pull their punches in taking the fight to Labour.


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