Coffee House

Adam Afriyie ‘coup’: a false start for the stalking horse

27 January 2013

9:15 AM

27 January 2013

9:15 AM

The camp supporting backbench Tory MP Adam Afriyie in a possible leadership bid have been busy, managing to get whispers of their planned coup into three Sunday newspapers (the Sun on Sunday, The Sunday Times, and the Mail on Sunday). Whether or not Afriyie is a popular backbencher who managed to soothe colleagues over toasted teacakes in the Pugin room, and whether or not he’s the ideal person to lead the Tory party after Cameron, the timing for the Windsor MP of the plot appearing in print couldn’t be worse.

This time last week, it wasn’t difficult to find a clutch of MPs who would gloomily mourn the direction their party was going in. There are still plenty of issues to upset them – the legislation for same-sex marriage was published this week and returns to the Commons for second reading on 5 February – but the EU speech has had a powerful effect on the backbench. It isn’t just that Peter Bone and his wife are singing with joy at the In/Out referendum pledge, but that those who have made no attempt in the past to hide their dislike of the Prime Minister now feel he’s finally given them something they want. One backbencher suggested to me last week that the EU speech wouldn’t just keep Cameron safe until 2015, it would give local parties some security over other issues, too.


Whether that is true or not, with many local parties still in uproar over gay marriage, and some threatening their MPs with deselection if they vote for the legislation, the mood in the Conservative party is currently pro-Cameron and anti-plot. Craig Woodhouse’s report in the Sun on Sunday says the Afriyie plotters have put their machinations on hold following the speech. That was a wise choice, but being named as the stalking horse when the Prime Minister has managed to curry such good feeling in his party will mean Afriyie will have to keep his head down for quite a while if he still wants to be in with a realistic shot at the leadership in the future.

P.S. As for where the smart money is on the next Tory leader, remember Bruce Anderson, who predicted David Cameron’s rise, named Jesse Norman as a member to watch in his recent Spectator diary.

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Show comments
  • Daniel Maris

    Your comments just confirm my view that the average IQ of a Tory MP is probably enough to power a 40 Watt Bulb.

    Let’s face it, anyone taken in by Cameron’s poetics is really just very, very thick.

    All he’s offering is what you’ve got now with probably a miniature fig leaf of a “concession”.

  • CharlieleChump

    Adam who???

  • Terrence Henderson

    He’s already in the burgers!

  • paulus

    Head down, he probably being lined up to be the high commissioner to Mali, with a staff consisting of a rolled up newspaper, a bowler hat and a flag. He has displayed the type of audacity that we need when seeking out the toureg and negotiating with them.

    On this hero’s return a shoe in at No 10 is a certainty.

    • Colonel Mustard

      Ah, the smell of those Tuareg camp fires Boff…

      One day the UK might grow up and leave Bond, the Beatles, Cool Britannia and the rest of that nonsense behind, focussing instead of faded glory on the things that matter here and now.

  • RKing

    Just listening to Andrew Neil interviewing David Lidington on europe and Lidington has just said that we will hold meetings with business leaders to discuss what THEY want for a renegotiated EU…….!!!


    • Bruce_UK

      Ask the little people? You must be mad.

    • Colonel Mustard

      Perfectly encapsulates the problem. What is good for the UK’s decidedly odd and errant corporate world is judged to be good for everyone. No surprise when we have Greek property tycoons, Russian football club owners and French owned utility companies. We might as well be an occupied nation – in some senses we are.

  • SmithersJones2013

    So a minor shot across the becalmed SS Cameron’s bows after his empty offering on Europe . Much as the speech was ramped it doesn’t provide any substance. It is the Jam tomorrow that was warned against and even though it has been greeted positively (it would be churlish not to support Cameron’s triangulation publicly) perhaps this latest development is more reflective of how the speech was received in reality. After all the fact that Cameron has put off the possibility of any negotiations until after 2015 makes it clear that it was a campaigning ploy more than anything else. In reality Cameron has so far offered nothing to Eurosceptics and if he pulls off the miracle of delivering a majority Conservative government in 2015 he will have more than enough capital in the aftermath to significantly ‘adapt’ what he offered.

    Nothing has changed regarding the EU for Eurosceptics and whilst I certainly don’t expect Afriyie to challenge Cameron in anyway perhaps this is the start of the end game if Cameron’s hail mary EU speech has not actually worked.

    After all it will not be the EU issue that decides the next election but the economy, public sector spending and the cost of living and on those issues the Coalition is doing pretty badly. Never mind though Dave will be able to console himself that his Crappiness index is telling us that despite his efforts we’re still happy!…..

  • Noa

    Keep up the good work, Mr Cameron.

    UKIP is expanding exponentially as increasing numbers of disaffected Conservatives cross to a united party with a clear and honest message.

  • Kanmi Iyanda

    Praying for more false starts for AA. All my money is on Chuka Umunna getting to the Labour top job before this guy gets to lead the Tories. There is no logic to my hopes, it is simply driven by my selfish and narrow Nigerian interests – I will rather we pipped Ghana to the finish line – major bragging rights!

  • Russell

    Here we go again from Labours golden girl.
    Splits in the coalition….Splits in the Tory party…Boris disagrees with Cameron/Osbornes economic policies…and now …Planned coup on Cameron!
    Good grief Isobel, change the record, your (Labour) slips showing..
    Another nothing story designed for nothing else but to undermine Cameron in particular and the coalition government of the UK in general. A move to the Guardian would not be out of place.
    There is more chance of Miliband being challenged for the leadership of his party than Cameron or even Clegg.

    • ScaryBiscuits

      Speaking as a Windsor Conservative I can confirm that this story has some truth in it. Why would Isobel not tell a story? That is her job after all.

      There is a significant proportion of the Conservative Party, probably a majority, that is unhappy with Cameron’s leadership. True, the mood this week is rather inclined towards Cameron and this is probably the reason that an erstwhile backer of AA has decided to jump ship back and reveal Adam’s plot. However, once they realise they have been thrown yet another bone by a leader with his back against the wall who will revert to type as soon as the pressure is off, the anger against Cameron will be even greater.

      The consensus in the press seems to be that the leadership election will be after Cameron loses the next election, not before. This seems unlikely for a number of reasons. The grassroots are on strike mostly over gay marriage. Without them delivering leaflets and knocking on doors many marginal constituencies are without hope, which will make far more difference than Cameron’s failed boundary changes. Their respective MPs have no interest therefore in a leadership election after the general election. This is compounded by Cameron’s personal rudeness; he seems as unable as John Major to distinguish between friendly advice and hostility. It is further compounded by the fact that many of them simply disagree with Cameron’s political judgement. You saw that when they refused to support him of House of Lords reform but it extends to almost ever area of policy, not least Cameron’s notion of borrowing his way out of debt.

      • Russell

        I have been a Conservative voter and supporter all my adult (voting age) life. For 44 years I have voted Conservative, but will be voting UKIP in the forthcoming MEP elections and in the next general election unless there is an EU membership referendum called before 2015 by Cameron.

        Labour, the BBC, and now even Sky keep putting forward the line that the public do not regard the EU membership as a priority, however, they do say people are more concerned with the economy (more than £10billion per year net contribution to the EU), immigration (The UK is powerless to control its own immigration policy because of the EU) and our dependence on the EU for jobs, despite us importing £billions more per year from the EU than we export to the EU, making the EU dependent on us and unlikely to risk that by imposing any restrictions on our EU exports.if we left.

        Therefore the EU is in truth the priority for the electorate as our membership has such an effect on all key issues.
        There is no evidence that a majority of Conservative party members or MP’s are unhappy with Cameron as you suggest, as he is leading a coalition government and cannot pursue pure Tory party policies.

        • HooksLaw

          You are an idiot – vote how you like but do not complain when you get a pro EU labour govt.
          The EU is changing and Cameron is resisting and offering a referendum on the changes. Yet you still complain. You are nuts. And its not as if being out would be any different from being in.

          We can control all our immigration as much as we want in respect of every country in the world apart from 26 other members of the EU. Even if out of the EU but with access to the single market we would be just like Norway who are part of the EUs free movement of labour and pay into the EU funds and obey single market regulations.

          • SmithersJones2013

            You are an idiot

            Once again the CH resident poster boy for UKIP demonstrates how to make friends and influence people..

            Keep it up!…

            • Noa


              Haven’t you rumbled Hooky? Knowing that it’s incredibly useful to have a cartoon character of a humorless, ill mannered lout supporting CCHQ policies, he was created and activated some time ago as a Cameroon thug in the Alastair Campbell mould, to try and silence grassroots criticism.

              As you can see the plan is working splendidly.

              • SmithersJones2013

                No I disagree if Labour had invented him he would have had far more credibility! Unlike the Tories, Labour do have an efficient and competent propaganda machine (their playbook was written by Campbell, Mandelson and Brown after all). Sadly ‘Hooks’ as you call him would seem to be the genuine deal…..

                After all this is no different to how Cameron behaves abusing those who no longer support him. Unless of course Cameron is also an invention of the Labour Party? No it couldn’t be now could it?


                • Noa

                  The antithesis to Conservative party conspiracy theory is simply the grossest imaginable incompetence?

                  Ummm. You may have a point…

              • HooksLaw

                dream on

                I must say how you can type with your head in the sand is amazing.

                • Noa

                  If mine is buried down in the sand, Hooky, yours is clearly engaged in an enteroscopic study of le Roi-Soleil’s intestine.

            • Bruce_UK

              Plus he repeats the Norway lie. As did that slimy git from Planet Blair this morning on Sky.

              • HooksLaw

                There is no Norway lie. If Norway were in the EU it would be the 10th biggest contributor. It signs up to single market rules and the free movement of labour between it and the EU.
                Norway is even part of the Schengen agreement. The Swiss situation is the same.

                You can argue life would be different outside the EU but it would be marginal. You are the sad git living a lie.

                • Bruce_UK

                  Not me coleslaw. Norway has a veto on what parts of the single market it adopts. Whereas, you want a veto on reality:

                  Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (6.1.4) – the right of veto:

                  “According to the principle of unanimity
                  applied in the EEA Joint Committee, all the EFTA states must agree in
                  order for new EU legislation to be integrated into the EEA Agreement and
                  for it to apply to cooperation between the EFTA states and the EU. If
                  one EFTA state opposes integration, this also affects the other EFTA
                  states in that the rules will not apply to them either, neither in the
                  individual states nor between the EFTA states themselves nor in their
                  relations with the EU. This possibility that each EFTA state has to
                  object to new rules that lie within the scope of the EEA Agreement
                  becoming applicable to the EFTA pillar is often referred to as these
                  parties’ right of veto.”

                  But hey Cammie said it so it must be true. So go back to your shrine to Cammie and remember to drool respectfully.

                • CharlieleChump

                  we are not and never will be Norway, pointless dispute

            • HooksLaw

              latest yougov poll…

              Do you support or oppose this (referendum) policy;
              support 54%
              oppose 27%
              Dont know 19%
              On Labour strategy of opposing referendum
              Right to oppse 25%
              Wrong to oppose 53%
              Dont know 22%

              Idots are as idiots do. The facts are correct. There is very little difference between being in the EU and being out. Yet on this minor point they hyperventilate in hysterical fashion and howl at the moon.

              There may be mileage in campaigning for the obliteration of the EU, but as long as the EU exists we will have to deal with it. Look at Norway (is anyone saying that a labour led UK in the same position as Norway would not be even more europhile in signing up to EU rules)

              The EU is moving to a treaty on closer fiscal and thus political union. We are not going to sign up to it (unless we have a Labour govt of course) and so Cameron proposes to take the opportunity of that to position the UK to best advantage – to get the best we might hope of both worlds (of out but in at the same time)
              And if you don’t like it you can vote OUT in a referendum.

              But hey what do the loony toons do? Complain. More stupidly than that they scream foul.
              No doubt when the referendum votes overwhelmingly to stay in they will keep screaming foul.

          • CharlieleChump

            Cut the abuse and just make your point.

        • ScaryBiscuits

          Russell, the ‘blame it on the LibDems’ excuse is wearing a little thin. The LibDems didn’t force Cameron to prioritise gay marriage or to drop his pledge on a hunting vote. They may have forced him to build windmills but they didn’t force him to eulogise them. I could go on…
          The reason there is talk of a leadership challenge is that a significant number of MPs have lost confidence in the leader. Whether it is a majority is still to be seen but there is certainly ‘evidence’ that there is.

        • David Lindsay

          Then you voted to join in 1970, and you voted against pulling out in 1983. You have only yourself to blame.

  • Gary Gimson

    Jesse Norman, you’ve gotta be kidding!

  • anyfool

    The newspapers running this garbage have one thing in common, falling circulations, and they wonder why.

    • telemaque

      Ah but.
      Do you not think they have a subtle agenda.
      In the public perception the Tory-UKIP continuum has racialist overtones.
      This is a cunning ploy by the right wing media to reverse this.

  • Bluesman

    “the mood in the Conservative party is currently pro-Cameron and anti-plot”

    Can you provide me with some personal telephone numbers? I have a bridge I need to sell.

  • John Steed

    Who he?

    • Michael990

      Two bit computer company owner.

      • HFC

        Who is?

      • HooksLaw

        8 bit surely.

        But hey – here is someone with ‘business experience’ someone with experience of ‘real life’ brought up on a council estate.
        If he came from a good background you would complain he had ‘no experience of real life’

        Ho hum

    • the viceroy’s gin

      Just as mentioned, he’s the Cameroons’ stalking horse.

      The Speccie teenager is helping the Cameroons set up this stalking horse, and the first step is to get you to figure out who this absolute unknown is.

      Then, you’re to be made to understand that this unknown is a deadly challenger to the Cameroonian throne.

      Then, this deadly unknown challenger is to be quashed by the almighty Dave. Huzzah! Long live…. the jelly faced king!

      I think the most amusing part of this is the Speccie teenager’s thrice reminder (More? I can’t bear the pain of reading that screed again. ) in this propaganda piece of how popular Dave is. That’s too funny.

      I think the Cameroons must think the plebs are just plain stupid. Invent a usurper, knock down that straw man, and declare victory and accept alms. You can tell this guy is a silly marketing dweeb, that’s for sure.

      • HooksLaw

        No – its you who is just plain stupid.

      • David Lindsay

        Yes, I think that you are right about this. Afriyie does not appear to have rebelled against Cameron on anything important, if anything at all. So why bother?

  • Tom Tom

    Who cares about Cameron’s Leadership Survival Speech on the EU or about Tory MPs. There will be far fewer of them going forward. We are wasting time with Neophytes like Osborne and Clegg-Cameron and we simply are not living as well as they are as they screw us over. There is a lot of pain in the country and a deadness like a people under occupation by a foreign body and i don’t mean the Eu….I mean the idiots who are destroying people who have saved, build businesses, and try to lead moral and decent lives. It is a rapacious State that is expropriating household wealth to feed to its pet monster – BANKS. Together State + Banks are ravaging the country and some modern-day St George has to slay this two-headed monster