We will shortly find out who has been elected as the leader of the Conservative backbench 1922 Committee after incumbent Sir Graham Brady faced a challenge from Heather Wheeler. I’m told that turnout in the election for the chair was over 90 per cent and that counting has just begun. Rather than emitting white smoke, the committee is notifying the two candidates of the result by text message.
Brady has been at the helm since 2010 and has generally been considered a reliable figure in representing the views of backbenchers to the Prime Minister. But Wheeler’s pitch — which critics say is supportive of Boris Johnson to the point that he seems to be trying to meddle in the committee — is that Brady has his own agenda, particularly when it comes to Covid restrictions.
Ambitious MPs may feel that they should be supporting Wheeler as the No. 10-backed candidate. But as it’s a secret ballot, they may end up doing something quite different. Either way, we will find out what sort of representative they want very shortly.