The MP for Croydon South, Richard Ottaway, was defeated in his bid to become chair of the influential Conservative Party House of Commons ‘1922 Committee.’ The poll, among Tory MPs, held on May 26 recorded 126 votes for his rival Graham Brady. Mr Ottaway trailed with 85 votes.
The Prime Minister, David Cameron, backed down on a move to permit ministers to take part in a poll for leadership of the committee which traditionally had been seen to represent the core opinion of Tory back-benchers. The Telegraph’s Deputy Blogs Editor, Will Heaven, regards Mr Brady’s victory as a swing to the right.
Mr Ottaway is regarded as an enthusiastic David Cameron supporter while Brady, MP for Altrincham and Sale West, was seen to represent the growing backbench disquiet over the Lib-Con coalition deal.
Mr Ottaway was sponsored by Helen Grant, the party’s first black woman MP, representing Maidstone and Weald, and seconded by Stephen Phillips the MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham.
On the Conservativehome website, Mr Ottaway said:
“Both Parties now have to support some things that weren’t in their manifesto and drop some undertakings that were. Of course there is some disquiet, but the deal is done.”
The opinion in Westminster is that Mr Ottaway remains a widely respected Parliamentarian and became a casualty of the national coalition with the Liberal Democrats on grassroots Tory activists, and conservative MPs, who would have preferred a minority government to any deal with Nick Clegg. Mr Ottaway continues to serve on the Intelligence and Security Committee.