It’s safe to say that the Tories are very pleased with their ground effort in last week’s Newark by-election, with praise heaped on those that put the hard slog in:
From: Government Chief Whip
Subject: Newark UPDATE
Many thanks to the 86 colleagues who have made at least three trips to Newark (and in several cases, many more):
Adams; Afriyie; Arbuthnot; Baldwin; Barclay; Blackwood; Blunt; Boles; Bradley; Burns C; Byles; Cairns; Cameron; Carmichael; Clappison; Clarke K; Colville; de Bois; Duddridge; IDS; Duncan; Ellis; Ellwood; Elphicke; Evennett; Fabricant; Francois; Freer; Garnier E; Goodwill; Gove; Grayling; Green; Greening; Grieve; Gyimah; Hague; Halfon; Hammond P; Hands; Harper; Hayes; Heald; Hollingbery; Hopkins; Hunt; Jackson; James; Javid; Jones A; Jones D; Jones M; Knight; Lansley; Letwin; Lewis B; Maude; McCartney K; McLoughlin; Milton; Morgan; Murrison; Newton; Norman; Opperman; Osborne; Paterson; Penrose; Phillips; Pickles; Rudd; Shelbrooke; Simmonds; Skidmore; Smith C; Smith J; Soubry; Spencer; Swayne; Truss; Uppal; Vaizey; Vara; Villiers; Willetts; Young.
Eighty six does sound like an impressive number, but a closer look at the list of names shows that it’s mostly made up from the payroll vote – from the PM down to humble Parliamentary Private Secretaries. All of whom were under strict orders to attend three times, with very few backbenchers following suit. Was Graham Brady, Chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee, leading by example? Mr S hears the long-time Cameron critic failed to make it to the by-election front-line even once. It’s fair to say this has not enamoured him to the leadership, who are already deeply suspicious of the affable member for Altrincham.