Disgruntled Tories back ’22 dissenter

By politics.co.uk staff

Graham Brady has won the chairmanship of the backbench 1922 committee, in an early blow to David Cameron’s authority.

The prime minister was forced into a swift retreat after a row with Tory MPs undermined prospects of the loyalist alternative, Richard Ottaway, being chosen.

The 1922 committee committee of backbench Conservative MPs will be a key battleground for dissent among Tory MPs as the coalition government progresses. Its chairman could have helped diffuse them – but Mr Brady is more likely to exacerbate them.

The prime minister had triggered outrage after proposing that the ‘payroll vote’ – ministers within the government obliged to back the leadership – should be allowed to vote in the election.

His measure was approved in a rapid election, but the 118 MPs who voted against it have been deemed sufficient to see it abandoned.

Last night Mr Cameron caved in, accepting that they would not be able to vote. As a compromise whips and ministers will remain members of the 1922 committee, however.

The two-way contest for the chairmanship between Altrincham and Sale West MP Mr Brady and Croydon South’s Mr Ottaway was eventually won by the latter.

Mr Brady had been widely expected to win the role before the general election. He has expressed serious doubts about the wisdom of entering into government with the Liberal Democrats.

Mr Ottaway was the preferred choice for the leadership. He had been regarded as a more reliable loyalist but was not the favourite for the vote, which took place this evening.