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”…
“It’s not something that we as an executive have discussed at all in this parliament. There was a point in the previous parliament when those discussions took place at length, we ended up without changing the rule. Obviously, I’ve reflected quite a lot on this, because of the amount of speculation has been in the media. Of course, it is technically possible that laws can be changed in the future. And it’s possible that rules can be changed in the future. But I think it’s important we say the rule that is in place, and is likely to remain in place is that there is a year’s period of grace following a confidence vote.”
6″ June 2022 PRESS RELEASE VOTE OF CONFIDENCE IN THE LEADER OF THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY
The threshold of 15% of the parliamentary party seeking a vote of confidence In the leader of the Conservative Party has been exceeded. In accordance with the rules, a ballot will be held between 1800 and 2000 TODAY MONDAY 6″‘ JUNE -details to be confirmed. The votes will be counted Immediately afterwards. An announcement will be made at a time to be advised. Arrangements for the announcement will be released later today.
SIR GRAHAM BRADY MP CHAIRMAN OF THE 1922 COMMITTEE
Guido understands Andrew Bridgen has decided to back down from his call for Boris to resign. At a Telegraph Live panel discussion tonight on “How Will History Judge Boris Johnson?”, Bridgen is expected to declare to Christopher Hope that he’s withdrawing his letter of no confidence to Graham Brady. In light of the war in Ukraine he will say he believes now is not the time to challenge the PM and hold a leadership contest. In, out, in, out, shake it all about…
It seems Bridgen has been plotting his great reversal for the last week or so; a co-conspirator overheard him in the tearoom mulling how and when to do it. Now he’s found the perfect moment. In fairness to Bridgen, he’s following Starmer and Douglas Ross in making this call in the last few days…
Boris has just written to Tory MPs confirming his commitment to new 1922 backbench policy committees, a promise made to his MPs on Monday evening and revealed by Guido. The move comes as part of the PM’s new drive to get his backbenchers back on side and steady his premiership. The letter also references Andrew Griffith’s new role as minister for policy following Munira Murza’s resignation yesterday.
“As I set out at the meeting of the Parliamentary party on Monday evening, I am committed to improving the way 10 Downing Street, and Government more broadly, works. That process is now under way and I will provide further updates in the coming days.
It is vital that we harness all the energy. experience, and insight from our Members of Parliament. This won’t just help improve existing policy, it will help us deal with the many challenges we will face together in the future.
One of the ways I want to achieve this is by working with Sir Graham Brady MP, and colleagues on the Executive of the 1922 Committee, to re-establish backbench policy committees. I want these policy committees to play an important role in generating ideas and discussion and so I encourage colleagues from across the party to get involved.
Sir Graham Brady MP will write to you with specific details on how the process of forming these committees will work. For them to be a success it is vital that government departments and ministers engage with them properly, and I will ensure that the Cabinet understand the importance of taking them seriously. I will also ask Conservative Campaign HQ to link this work up with the work of the Conservative Policy Forum.
I understand the deep importance of engaging with colleagues in Parliament and listening to your views and that is why I want colleagues to have a direct line into 10 Downing Street. With the appointment of Andrew Griffith MP as Director of Policy we will provide whatever engagement and support is necessary to make this a success.
I promised change and that is what we will now deliver together.”
In news that won’t help Boris’s backbench relations, Sir Graham Brady’s just informed members of the 1922 that their Christmas party has been cancelled by the House of Commons Commission: