Graham Brady has been re-elected as chairman of the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers. Brady, who has been chair since 2010, saw off a strong challenge from the former minister and whip Heather Wheeler.
Brady’s victory is a sign of the mood on the Tory backbenches. Wheeler’s supporters argued that Brady had been too public in his criticisms of the government’s approach to lockdown. That Brady won despite having voted against the government multiple times is a sign that Tory MPs are not in a particularly deferential mood towards No. 10 and that they want someone independent-minded to represent them. Several MPs told me they were voting for Brady because they knew he would be unafraid to deliver tough messages to No. 10.
Today’s result is another reminder that the government’s majority of 80 is not as big as it first appears because Tory MPs are not as inclined to toe the line as they once were. When parliament returns to normal in the autumn, Downing Street’s parliamentary management skills will be tested as it attempts to deal with Tory revolts on planning, foreign aid and a host of other issues.