Cameron survives backbench vote

By politics.co.uk staff

David Cameron has survived a vote by backbenchers on changes to an influential committee of MPs.

Mr Cameron won the ballot by 168 votes to 118, leading to raised eyebrows in Westminster at the number of Tory MPs already prepared to rebel against their leader.

The vote came after Mr Cameron prompted a spat with his backbenchers in a surprise effort to reform the 1922 committee of backbench Tory Mps.

The prime minister wanted the committee to allow ministers a vote, which critics say would allow him to secure a friendly chairman.

Tory backbenchers were livid at the intervention, which many interpreted as an early effort to shut down debate among right wing MPs who are increasingly uncomfortable with the concessions being made to the Liberal Democrats.

Speaking on Newsnight last night, veteran Tory MP Bill Cash said: “There’s going to be a ballot but there was no discussion, no previous consultation.

The West Midlands MP warned the move would “create a great deal of uncertainty and tension”.

Asked about the matter today, Mr Cameron said: “There’s a vote. There’s a decision for the parliamentary party. This is the right way to proceed.

“I believe in leading from the front. That’s the decision I took. I’ll abide by that decision whichever way it goes.”

MPs had until 11:00 BST today to vote on the Cameron proposal. It was a secret ballot, but some Tory MPs would have been wary of rebelling against their party leader because it was being organised by party whips.

The new chairman will be voted in on May 26th.