1. ITV Report

1922 committee - Why most Tory MPs in our region care about it

David Cameron will be looking at 1922 Committee vote Photo: PA

ITV Anglia's Political Correspondent Emma Hutchinson writes:

David Cameron faces an important electoral test on Wednesday afternoon. The poll opened at 2pm and voting is ongoing in Committee room 14 in the Commons. The candidates , Conservative MPs, the electorate also Conservative MPs , the prize, seats on the Executive of the 1922 Committee.

The 1922 Committee was set up following the 1922 General Election, it's a committee of Conservative backbenchers , it meets once a week and for Tory backbenchers it's seen as a way of getting their message across to the Party leadership. For the Conservative leadership its a way of judging the mood and opinions of the parliamentary party. And that's why a seat on the executive is seen as a big prize.This year's elections are being portrayed as a big battle between the "old guard" and the "modernisers". One Suffolk Conservative MP I spoke to said the executive of the 1922 carry weight in their media interviews and he says it's time to get some forward thinking Conservatives onto the committee.

Northampton South MP Brian Binley who has been re-elected unopposed as Treasurer of the 1922 Commitee Credit: ITV Anglia

Northampton South MP Brian Binley has already been re-elected unopposed as treasurer of the 1922, he said he's "delighted" and "it's a great honour to know that I have the trust of my colleagues". He also described the "crucial role of the committee", as a "mouthpiece for the Party's membership". Also re-elected unopposed as a vice-chairman of the committee, Maldon MP John Whittingdale.

This afternoon's elections will decide which backbenchers take up the other places on the committees executive, among the nominations I understand Wellingborough MP Peter Bone, Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson and WItham MP Priti Patel are all in the running. Both Peter Bone and Stewart Jackson have spoken up in the past couple of weeks to criticise the coalition, saying the Liberal Democrats shouldn't have so much influence. Peter Bone believes it's time for the coalition to be dissolved.

The Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson who's seeking election to the Conservative backbench 1922 Committee Credit: ITV
The Witham MP Priti Patel who's seeking election to the Conservative backbench 1922 Committee Credit: ITV

The results of this afternoon's election will be interesting in showing how much influence Cameron loyalists have had on other Conservative backbenchers. Last week the Prime Minister attended the 1922 committee and heard concerns from his backbenchers about the comments made recently by Mid Bedfordshire MP Nadine Dorries where she described the Prime Minister and Chancellor as "two arrogant posh boys who don't know the price of milk".

Even Conservative MPs who are critical of the Prime Minister don't want this kind of sentiment aired in public. The battle for control of the 1922 committee might determine how much of a headache backbench critics will be for the Prime Minister.

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