It’s fitting that the race to become the next chairman of the Defence Select Committee is shaping up to be a bruising battle. The vote to find a Tory replacement for outgoing James Arbuthnot is still two months away, but already blows are being traded.
Plucky backbencher Rory Stewart has the expertise as a former Deputy Governor of a region of Iraq after the 2003 invasion, but many colleagues are loathe to award a plum job to yet another Old Etonian. While Colonel Bob Stewart’s credentials are obvious, his “another gin and tonic?” club style has put colleagues off the one-time frontrunner.
Now a new candidate has emerged: Bercow’s campaign manager Julian Lewis. A strong campaigner against CND hippies before becoming an MP, Lewis is one of the loudest voices for keeping our Trident nuclear deterrent. His voting with Miliband against intervening in Syria last summer is earning him plenty of crucial support from Labour MPs.
Gentleman, you can’t fight in here, this is the war room…