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EVANS NIGEL

It’s a new parliamentary session, so there have been elections to choose the officers of the 1922 Committee.

Those elected are:

Chairman: Graham Brady

Vice-Chairmen: Charles Walker and John Whittingdale

Treasurer: Brian Binley

Joint Secretary: Nick de Bois and Robert Buckland

Executive:

Steve Baker

James Duddridge

Nigel Evans

Robert Halfon

Simon Hart

Bernard Jenkin

Jason McCartney

Karl McCartney

Sheryll Murray

Priti Patel

Christopher Pincher

Heather Wheeler

There are two things worth noting – one specific and one general.

First, Nigel Evans is newly elected to the executive. As well as reflecting his abilities and popularity among his colleagues, this also of course reflects the widespread feeling that, having stepped down as Deputy Speaker, Nigel lost out by not being reinstated after he was cleared of all charges in his trial earlier in the year. While a role in the ’22 is obviously very different to that in the Speaker’s chair, there’s an element of restitution about this election.

The vacancy came up due to Guto Bebb’s membership of the Public Accounts Committee, the meetings of which regularly clash with those of the ’22 executive – given an opportunity, MPs evidently decided to put it to good use.

Second, the more general point: all of the elections were uncontested. This is not normally the case – there’s often hot competition for the posts, which are important in terms of party management, relations between the backbenches and the leadership and, of course, the process and oversight of a leadership challenge should one come about. The collective decision to re-elect the existing ’22 officers unopposed is yet another sign of the growing discipline of the Parliamentary Conservative Party.

Of course, that could be a sign that they intend to focus more attention on fighting Labour than each other – or that the backbenches anticipate a need for unity in dealing with Number 10 as the manifesto is written and the campaign strategy decided for 2015.

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