“Top Tory calls for Coalition to uncouple,” reads one of the headlines in today’s Times (£). The top Tory in question is Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 Committee, and his views should come as no surprise to ConservativeHome readers. In an interview with this site, last year, he told Andrew Gimson that he would like a “planned separation” between the two parties before the election, to “reduce the likelihood of a chaotic and rancorous end” to their union. Paul Goodman referenced those remarks in a post four days ago.
Less knowable than Brady’s views is how the 1922 Committee will go about asserting its will on the Tory leadership. Paul mentioned that they could discuss a “conscious uncoupling” with the Lib Dems at one or more of their weekly meetings. But there’s an alternative approach that I’ve heard mentioned: a special meeting of the ‘22, precisely to debate how the Coalition should end. This special meeting, were it to happen, would probably be some time in the autumn.
Of course, a special discussion carries more significance than one of the weekly meetings. The latter are often sparsely attended, with MPs unsure of what issues will arise; whereas the former would probably be packed out. Its rumblings would be more readily felt by the party leadership.
So, which will Brady go for? The answer to that question may tell us something not just about his views, but also about how forcefully he holds them.