It was a Tory invasion of the Parliamentary Labour Party meeting last night, as the candidates for Chairman of the Defence Select Committee unveiled their cross party battle plans. The verdict of the room was that Julian Lewis, Bob Stewart and Keith Simpson did well with their opening speeches, where Crispin Blunt and Tobias Elwood were “fairly poor”. Things got interesting in the questions stages though with Rory Stewart ‘crashing and burning’.
When asked by Thomas Docherty how many questions each of the candidates had tabled in the House about defence, a tetchy Stewart attacked ‘Tom’ for previous ding dongs the pair have had, before claiming he preferred to make “long speeches on foreign policy instead of asking questions”. The room did not like that.
Keith Simpson went on to attack the Prime Minister on Syria, suggesting that just because Libya had worked there was no reason to presume another intervention would hold the same level of success. This pitch for lefty votes is some what undermined by Simpson’s behaviour at the time of the vote last year when he was revealed by Guido to be the anonymous “Government source” who made front page news raging that “No. 10 and the Foreign Office think Ed Miliband is a f**king ***t and a copper-bottomed s***”.
The verdict from Labour? “Consensus is Julian Lewis 1, followed by Bob, then Keith.” The vote is tomorrow after PMQs.