Over the new year period we will be presenting some end-of-year awards; starting with our personal choices for BackBencher Of The Year:
Jonathan Isaby’s pick: "My selection for backbencher of the year goes to someone who could equally have been nominated for the frontbencher award – as he was a member of the shadow cabinet for the first half of the year. But the decision by David Davis to resign from Parliament and fight a by-election in his Haltemprice and Howden constituency – was always going to consign him to the backbenches, quitting as he did in protest at the Government’s attempt to lock up terrorist suspects without charge for 42 days. He could have expected a serious Cabinet job in a David Cameron government but sacrificed those career prospects on a point of principle – a rare act in politics these days. SInce his re-election at the by-election – during which he assembled an impressive coalition of support to attack this increasingly authoritarian Government – he has remained an articulate and doughty defender of civil liberties and arch-critic of the Government."
Tim Montgomerie’s pick: "My pick is Iain Duncan Smith. It’s a very biased choice as I also regard Iain as a close friend but the steady transformation of his reputation has been extraordinary. His reputation was in tatters (unfairly) when his leadership of the Conservative Party ended but he now enjoys respect across the political spectrum and more importantly – as far as he is concerned – from the poverty-fighting groups that he pledged to champion when he was Tory leader and on the night he lost the leadership. He is now used as a general commentator on social breakdown with media organisations using him to respond to stories that only have a loose political dimension. But it is the ground-breaking work of his Centre for Social Justice that gives his work such credibility. Always rooted in the wisdom of frontline poverty-fighters this year’s published research includes the importance of the earliest years for child development, the breakdown of systems for children-in-care, Britain’s asylum shambles, social housing and welfare reform. No wonder, according to BBC research, David Cameron makes more mention of Iain Duncan Smith than any other Tory colleague."
Who would you have chosen as Backbencher of the Year?