Even those backing the measure expect a quarter of the parliamentary party to vote against it. Once these MPs have rebelled once, even in a secret ballot, they will find it easier to do it again. Richard Ottaway, one of the two candidates for the chairmanship of the '22, spoke in favour of the move at the meeting of the parliamentary party and there are dark mutterings that the whole move is designed to boost his chances against Graham Brady, who is seen as the candidate who will stand up far more firmly for backbenchers' rights. Indeed, in the meeting Brady expressed his reservations about this proposal.
The nature of coalition means that there are going to be times when the Conservative party is frustrated by the governent. There are after all things that all Conservative MPs campaigned for but that will now not happen. The leadership would have been well advised to leave in place a pressure valve for this frustration. It is surely better for Cameron to have to endure the odd heated meeting of the ’22 then to have the disaffected head off to plot in private.
Tory backbenchers’ moods have not been improved by how their Lib Dem colleagues are being consulted regularly by their leadership.At the moment that the Tory whips were instructing new Tory MPs to go and vote away their power to hold Tory ministers to account, Lib Dem MPs were being talked through the coalition agreement that will be unveilled tomorrow.