By Tim Montgomerie
Follow Tim on Twitter
The Prime Minister has just addressed the 1922 meeting of Tory MPs – his final opportunity to address them before the summer recess. I'm told he got a warm if not rapturous reception and, in return, spoke candidly without bluster. More peers were present than for some time… Can't think why!
The top line is that he promised to launch "one more" push for Lords reform. If we don't give the Lib Dems even a "tiny" elected element to the Upper House we will lose other constitutional changes, he warned. By other constitutional changes he means boundary changes. If we can't deliver that element the Coalition will need to move on swiftly to other things but there will be a price for the Conservatives in losing the boundary review, he implied.
Looking forward the Tories needed, he said, to focus on three things: (1) the Coalition's awful inheritance (he said the British people were fair-minded and will be fair to Government if it keeps country safe from the global economic storm); (2) our values, especially social mobility/ aspiration and compassion – as most illustrated by the Gove and IDS reforms; and (3) that Labour, not UKIP or the LibDems were the Tory enemy. He has instructed ministers to go after Labour over the summer and autumn. Father of House Peter Tapsell in questions rebuked David Cameron in his unique style. Labour are opponents, not enemies, he said. Debate in the Commons had become far too personal, Sir Peter added.
Interestingly the PM began by paying handsome tribute to the Chief Whip, Patrick McLoughlin and gave him a big hug. My cynical/ realistic sources interpreted this as a sign that Mr McLoughlin's seven year period of service would not survive the post-Olympics reshuffle.