Tim Montgomerie has some excellent intelligence on ConHome this morning that Francis Maude is about to gain a new PPS. The Cabinet Office Minister’s former aide was Angie Bray, who was sacked after voting against the government at the second reading of the House of Lords Reform Bill.
But Maude’s replacement PPS, Stuart Andrew, is also a rebel. He was one of the 81 who defied the three-line whip in the autumn to vote for a backbench motion calling for a referendum on Britain’s relationship with the European Union. As Tim points out on his blog, this is a sign that rebels might still have a hope of a job in the forthcoming reshuffle.
Now, it’s worth remembering that Andrew rebelled on a backbench motion rather than government business, so any of the 91 who revolted on Lords reform may yet remain personae non gratae in the Prime Minister’s eyes. There is also a certain amount of defiance among some of those MPs who rebelled both on the EU and the Lords: some of them are rather keen not to get a job in September, actually. That’s a problem for Cameron as if you read down the lists of rebels on Lords and EU, and the list of double rebels, you’ll note that many of them are bright, impressive individuals who bring a wealth of experience outside parliamentary life to the table. Some of them have so much experience outside Westminster that a PPS job simply does not appeal, and they suspect they’ll hold greater sway over the coalition by rebelling and criticising from the sidelines than toeing the line.Tags: Conservatives, UK politics