David Blackburn

Cameron in new war with his backbenchers

The House is united in loathing of IPSA, which explains why Tory MP Adam Afriyie’s amendment to the Parliamentary Standards Bill 2009 is proving so popular. Afriyie’s aim is ‘to simplify the way in which expenses and salary payments to Members of Parliament are made’ and attempt to limit IPSA’s costs.
The government, however, is wary of Arfiyie’s reform – sensing, perhaps, that the public might not stomach changes to the expenses system so soon after the recent scandal.
The bill’s second reading will take place this Friday and it is now understood that enough Labour backbenchers will support the motion to allow it to pass. It is rumoured that Cameron is insisting his backbenchers are whipped to defeat the bill. A storm is now apparently brewing between the recalcitrant sections of the Tory backbench and Number 10, recalling the ill-feeling between the two sides at the turn of the year. It is a reminder that Cameron’s coalition has more to worry about than just the wounded Lib Dems. Tomorrow’s meeting of the 1922 Committee is likely to be fractious.

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