Defence Select Committee Chair: Rory Stewart v Julian Lewis

The vote to decide the Defence Select Committee chairmanship is a week away on May 14, Guido understands Rory Stewart and Julian Lewis are the two frontrunners. Both men are attracting support from Labour ahead of their hustings. Stewart needs to win more Labour votes because support is lacking from Tory colleagues, wary of awarding a plum job to another Old Etonian and do not forgive him for missing the Syria recall vote. He is also seen as too much of an eager beaver by some in the Tory 2010 intake. Lewis meanwhile is a staunch campaigner for keeping the Trident nuclear deterrent yet is drawing high profile Labour support from voting with Miliband on Syria. Hague’s PPS Keith Simpson has briefed the Indy that he was in the lead, in a revelation yet to be picked up by other newspapers.

Julian Brazier and Bob Stewart are the other names being pushed to Guido, though colleagues suggest that they both lack the numbers. Crispin Blunt, Tobias Elwood and James Gray are also running. Presumably for a laugh.

In other select committee news, Tory MP Steve ‘sound as a pound’ Baker has been elected onto the Treasury select committee, beating ultra-loyalist Mary “Maria would appreciate your support” Macleod to the position. The Austrians are coming…




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Rowan Atkinson tells The Times

“All jokes about religion cause offence, so it’s pointless apologising for them. You should really only apologise for a bad joke. On that basis, no apology is required.”

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