We haven’t yet seen precisely who has been appointed as a PPS following the reshuffle. But I understand that Downing Street has decided that those who defied the whip on the EU referendum motion will be considered for the jobs. However, no one who rebelled on the House of Lords will receive preferment.
I suspect that there are three reasons for this. First, the talent pool is simply too small if you rule out anyone from either group of rebels. Second, this is meant to show the Lords rebels that there is a way back for people who rebel on one big issue. Finally, given the Prime Minister’s evolving views on a European referendum—since the vote he has declared that ‘For me the two words “Europe” and “referendum” can go together’, the rebellion is less of a deviation from the party leader’s line than it once was
This news combined with heavy indications from Number 10 that by missing out on this reshuffle the Lords rebels have had their punishment and are now starting afresh is an indication of how the new whips operation is going to try and break the cycle of rebellion. It is a subtle approach.
But the reshuffle has, as it inevitably was going to, made parliamentary party management more difficult. There are now 26 former ministers on the backbenches who’ll know that they have no future career to lose by voting against the whip.Tags: Autumn reshuffle 2012, Conservatives, David Cameron, UK politics