By Paul Goodman
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Some quick points about this evening's '22 result:
- The elections were a clean sweep for the 301 Group – almost. Of the nine 301 slate candidates for the executive listed on this site yesterday evening, only one wasn't elected (Adam Holloway). It was pretty much a clean sweep.
- But personal popularity counted above all. For the two Secretary posts, the 301 took one and the No Turning Back (NTB)/Cornerstone ticket the other – Karen Bradley and Nick de Bois respectively. Christopher Chope, the other candidate on the NTB ticket, uses the Commons chamber in an old-fashioned way, raising points of order that others don't and opposing business that others would let pass, and this hasn't endeared him to the 2010 intake. Charlie Elphicke, the other candidate on the 301 slate, was left marooned by the personal popularity of Mr de Bois.
- The results don't break comfortably down into party left or right. The 301 was a mixed ticket. I would not myself place George Eustice, say, left-of-party centre. Priti Patel, and out-and-ought right-winger, was on both slates. Douglas Carswell points out that 11 of the 18 members of the new '22 voted for an EU referendum last year – against the Whip.
- Glasses will be raised this evening to the winners in Downing Street and the Treasury… Friends of both have spent much of the day strenuously denying that either interfered in these elections in any way whatsoever. I am not altogether persuaded. But there can be no doubt that David Cameron and George Osborne won't be displeased to see the back of those that their friends style "the wreckers". Mr Cameron failed to abolish the '22 at the start of the Parliament. Now he will have one more to his taste – although, as Mr Carswell reminds us, the new committee won't be patsies or pushovers.
- …But the losers will brood. Some of those who weren't re-elected – or elected at all – may feel that they now have nothing to lose in criticising the Government very strongly indeed. Their critics would say that they do so anyway. It's worth noting that both Peter Bone and Philip Hollobone, high-register rebels, weren't re-elected to the backbench business committee.
- Above all, these elections mark a generational shift within the Parliamentary Party – which offers both gains and risks. Of those MPs elected today, only one – Bernard Jenkin – didn't enter Parliament in 2010. The new '22 will be eager, enthusiastic, reforming, full of ideas. It will also be inexperienced – and doubtless sometimes find itself re-inventing the wheel. It would be dangerous for a gulf to open up between the pre-2010 and post-2010 generations of Tory MPs. Graham Brady, John Whittingdale and Brian Binley – more experienced MPs and senior '22 MPs all – have work on their hands.