The 1922 Committee is all right

Some of you objected to my carefully chosen words on changes in the 1922 Committee. Some of you thought I needed to oppose the changes, whilst others thought backbenchers should give united support to the Leader.

As I said at the time, I am more than happy with the Leader’s proposal that Ministers should come to 1922 meetings, breaking the tradition of previous Conservative governments. I never thought they would stand for election to the backbench Executive, and it has now been clarified that of course they will not. It has also been clarified that there is no intention for Ministers to have a vote in backbench Committee elections. Again I did not think they would, as the ballot was about Ministers attending, not about them voting. Readers need to read these pieces carefully to understand what is going on.


  1. Charles
    May 25, 2010


    I suspect the issue is that most people (at best) read a newpaper article, or hear a bulletin (or even read a blog…) and get the agenda/spin vs taking the time to think through the detail.

    Bandwagons quickly develop their own momentum.

    1. Amanda
      May 25, 2010

      There again, many of us read a variety of sources and 'triangulate' the result – the result being, a lot of people, of various hues, were not happy and the legalities of the vote were suspect. Mr Cameron brushed this off in one interview I read with something along the lines of 'the 1922 group are not important and their attendance has been dwindling'. Well, why do anything then? Especially at such a time !!

      Mr Cameron has perhaps, seen the error of his ways, and if that is the case I am please he has, it makes him look a stronger leader. Let us hope it is not a one off, but a sign of a method of working – then the 1922 group will have its work cut out putting it's collective intelligence into the coallition government – as the 'silent' voice of numerous, loyal, English and British people.

      I personally look for to Mr Brady taking up the chairmanship.

  2. Brian Tomkinson
    May 25, 2010

    The problem is that the media is frantically trying to find splits and dissension. They seem to have lost sight of the precarious state the country is in.

  3. Chuck Unsworth
    May 25, 2010

    As always, attention to detail pays dividends. But do you not think that the presence of Ministers might inhibit some backbenchers? Seems to me that careful career choices will be being made by speakers.

  4. bill
    May 25, 2010

    Whatever; the impression is one of a climb down of sorts and if so quite right too.

  5. Derek Duncan
    May 25, 2010

    " Lower rates increase the yield. Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and Luxembourg have a zero rate."

    Then these countries must be awash with CGT!

  6. John
    May 25, 2010

    Speaking of carefully chosen words, it may be "all right" but not "alright" which is not a word, or "aright", which is a word.

    Yours in pedantry…

  7. Quietzapple
    May 25, 2010

    Praise the Lord I've never known a woman as irresponsible or capricious as Cameron!

    Turns up mob handed to illegitimately change the rules, and, when some object, says he'll change some of them back again.

    Not democracy, but dictatorship.

    Small wonder we fear for our country.

  8. Norman
    May 25, 2010

    It does seem a bit off that you were asked to vote on something when no one seemed to know exactly what you were voting on.

    Reminds me of what a Democrat (Nancy Pelosi) recently told Senators (or Congressmen) of the US National Health Bill: 'We have to pass the Bill so that we can find out what's in it'

    All's well that end's well though.

  9. APL
    May 25, 2010

    "Readers need to read these pieces carefully to understand what is going on."

    So, what *IS* going on?

    Why does Cameron feel the need after 90 years for ministers of the government to attend meetings of the 1922 comittee?

    Does that mean by the way, that members of the Lib-dems will have a say in the running of the Tory party?

  10. Robert George
    May 25, 2010

    John, being right does not cut it, the public perception is that Cameron has shafted those on the 1922 who he thinks might dissent.

    Personally I think that this involvement of ministers by the government was ill judged. It is often a good idea to have a safety valve and the 1922 served that function (among others).

    Cameron with this and his silly 55% suggestion seems to be proving to be a meddler rather than a leader. He needs to pull his head in a little and stop screwing the party's right any more.

    And even if you think all that is nonsense John, it is a commonly held perception ,and sometimes perception is more important than reality.

  11. Little Black Censore
    May 25, 2010

    It still sounds like a power grab, even if it was carried through.

  12. Michael Lewis
    May 25, 2010

    If it wasn't broke, why did Cameron think it needed changing? Seems to be a bad start, but maybe that is how governments tend to act, changing/making rules where none would be better.

  13. Mike Stallard
    May 25, 2010

    OK. But my original point still holds: how in touch with the backbenchers like yourself are the leaders of your party?

    Wasn't the 1922 Committee set up to break the Lib-Cons coalition?
    Isn't there a distant danger of that now? I mean, what with the EU breaking down and the dissolution of some of their Regional Governments?

    I am impressed that Mr Cameron can retreat when he sees the need. Mr Brown couldn't do that.

  14. Ex Liverpool rioter
    May 25, 2010

    If a may (as i do) change tack here, this should worry you:-


    1. gac
      May 25, 2010

      Do not worry, we are going to create a green economy with millions of green jobs and pour billions into off-shore wind farm generation schemes.

      We are saved!

    2. P Miller
      June 1, 2010

      (Ministers attending 22 Committee meetings)

      Opposition seems to rest on the assumption that ministers and backbenchers are necessarily on opposite sides. This is the antithesis of making coalition government work. The John Lewis Partnership has a 4/5ths elected (by the workforce)Council which is fully involved in the sharing of power in this worker-owned bisuness. The presence of the few Directors at meetings is primarily to provide information on their sphere of work so that the debates can be fully informed and therefore more potent. The Directors can vote – they are after all just as interested in the business as the rest! Furthermore, five of the 13 members of the Partnership Board are elected.
      The constitution recognises that both managed and manager are in it for the common good. It works because the Chairman is fully commited to making it so and the Council has the power to sack him if he doesn't.

      This is not intended as propaganda for the company but to highlight that common interest, which militates against conflict, needs to be given top priority. These workers can join unions but there are no strikes because a union would have to convince their fellow workers that damaging their shared profits was the best way forwards.

      I should add that the Council Chairman is elected by the workforce dominated Council.

      If backbenchers need to debate behind ministers backs there is something wrong with the setup which breeds mistrust..

      Reply: Most of us welcomed the idea that Ministers attend meetings – the issue was who votes in backbench elections.

  15. The uninitiated
    May 25, 2010

    We are in new territory here. I suppose the 1922 committee are going to have to listened to (and talked to) if the coalition Government wants to last. I suppose in the past the lines of communication between the Government and the backbenches were not so important.

    The executive committee members meet in confidence once a week. Pardon my ignorance, but is the make up of the committee confidential?

    Reply: No. We are electing a new one today and their names will be known.

  16. Gavin (propapolitics)
    May 25, 2010

    I think to man people saw the headlines without reading the article John, simply all i can say on the matter and totally agree. The spin placed on the importance of the move was dramatic to say the least, no voting powers were shifted, just a few extra atendee’s!

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