Cameron backs down on 1922 committee

By Ian Dunt

David Cameron has backed down in a fight with his backbenchers after he decided against allowing ministers to select the chairman of the 1922 committee.

The Tory leader found himself at loggerheads with the committee last week when he insisted on a vote to decide whether ministers should be allowed to vote at meetings.

The committee is traditionally a reserve of backbenchers, allowing Tory MPs to take complaints to the leadership. Analysts presume the vote was an attempt to circumvent later opposition to the Lib-Con coalition.

But Mr Cameron won the vote by an extremely tight margin, considering he is a Tory prime minister who has only just entered office. It appears officials may have been taken aback by the level of opposition, with 118 MPs voting against it to 168 supporting it.

But it has now been widely reported that ministers will not get a say in the vote on a new chairman this week.

The decision opens the door for a more robust representative who may not share Mr Cameron’s dream of close cooperation with the Liberal Democrats. But it may also go some way towards mending fences with his colleagues in the House of Commons.