Oh dear. You can tell a meeting has gone badly if you leave £15,000 poorer then you were when you went in. So, spare a thought for Andrew Bridgen at yesterday’s meeting of the Regulatory Reform Select Committee on Tuesday.
Bridgen is chair of the committee – with select committee chairs earning an extra income of £15,025 – and thought he would continue to be chair for the foreseeable. Only his fellow MPs had other ideas. The MP for North West Leicestershire walked in to find there would be a vote for the chairmanship. Rather than re-elect him, the committee voted to elect his fellow Tory Stephen McPartland.
Observers say Bridgen was none too pleased and now two theories as to what happened are doing the rounds. The first is that this was a Labour stitch-up, with the Opposition making sure every member was there to vote him out – in order to try and ‘neuter’ the committee with McPartland playing the ‘useful idiot’.
The other theory doing the rounds is that the Tory whips played a hand – with McPartland their favoured candidate, despite being a universal credit rebel. The reason? Bridgen’s decision to ‘call out the alleged inappropriate behaviour of fellow Conservative MP Daniel Poulter’ – and criticise the whips: