1922 Committee Elections Set for Before Summer Recess

This morning The Times reported that the forthcoming 1922 Committee election is being seen as a “proxy leadership election” on Boris Johnson, given the outcome could decide whether or not the committee changes rules to allow a second confidence vote inside the current 12-month safety period. The paper said the elections for the 18 MPs who make up the executive are due to take place “soon”. Guido understands figures expect the election to be held within the next month, ahead of the Summer recess. 

Last year, Chairman Graham Brady was challenged by PM loyalist Heather Wheeler. While Brady won, and the voting figures were never released, it was claimed the result was “close”. It will be more difficult for the PM to find a loyalist to put up as a challenger to Brady this time, however, given the number of loyalists who have been promoted onto the government payroll over the last year. Wheeler herself is now a senior Cabinet Office minister; just last week her campaign manager for the last ’22 election, Selaine Saxby, was appointed a PPS to Simon Clarke in the Treasury. Given another reshuffle on the horizon; 148 MPs backing the vote of no confidence; and ministers not being allowed to vote; even if No. 10 could find a candidate they’d surely struggle to mount an effective campaign. 

If Brady doesn’t face a challenge from a Boris loyalist, there’s also the possibility that his denial of plans to change the rules could provoke a hard-line Boris opponent to run on a platform of allowing rule changes. A member of the committee – not someone entirely loyal towards the PM – told Guido that “most people” they’ve spoken to, even those who voted against him on June 6th, think it would be wrong to change the rules, as it would be “incredibly divisive and unnecessary”…

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