It was a stormy meeting of the 1922 Committee tonight. The cause of controversy was last week’s defeat of the government on the EU Budget and whether or not the rebels — led by Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless — had cooperated with Labour.
Kris Hopkins, of the loyalist 301 group, read out Carswell’s letter to colleagues saying that he had had no direct contact with the rebels. He then said that seeing as the Mail on Sunday reported this weekend that Carswell had, everyone present should write to the paper and complain about its inaccurate report. The irony was, I’m told, rather effective.
But this was not the end of the matter. Anne Main complained that those who had rebelled or abstained were being sent the equivalent of white feathers. I understand that this is a reference to the fact that they are being sent articles critical of the rebels and their tactics, including one by the former Tory MP Paul Goodman of Conservative Home, with simply an unsigned House of Commons compliments slip attached.
Claire Perry then spoke up to complain that it hardly felt worthwhile being in parliament given the increasing frequency of rebellions by her Tory colleagues. Given all this acrimony, it was a good job that the Tory MPs called Boris in to cheer them all up with a lively pep talk laced with praise for both David Cameron and Lynton Crosby, the man the Mayor wants the Tories to hire to run the next election campaign.
More Spectator for less. Subscribe and receive 12 issues delivered for just £12, with full web and app access. Join us.