Posts Tagged ‘Adam Afriyie’

Adam Afriyie. Who?

28/01/2013, 02:57:56 PM

by Kevin Meagher

What does Tory backbencher Adam Afriyie think we should be doing to boost the economy, reform public services and deal with Iran’s nuclear ambitions?

Until I read yesterday’s newspapers, the thought to ask had never crossed my mind, but judging by yesterday’s Sunday Times it’s clear the MP for Windsor is the coming man; the saviour of a post-defeat Conservative party. A future prime minister. “Black MP is hot tip to be next Tory leader” ran the headline. I searched in vain in the subsequent story, (as bemused Tory MPs may have), for any indication of what Mr. Afriyie thinks, well, about anything.

Nevertheless, the paper reports “a secret operation is underway” to propel him to the party leadership. More than 100 Tory MPs have been approached to this end. A “friend” of Mr Afriyie explains that his cadre of backers are “very concerned” about the long-term direction of the party and believe that Afriyie is the best man to succeed David Cameron. “He has a fantastic back story and is very impressive.”

I admit to knowing the name and knew a bit of his biography, but to be honest I had quite forgotten Afriyie was there. He’s pretty low profile, but that’s not really an excuse as he’s been in parliament since 2005. Brutally, I assumed he had missed his mark and like Archie Norman and other business people who realise too late that the rough and tumble of Westminster is not their bag, led a quiet life before, inevitably, shuffling off back to business.

How wrong I was. What I did learn is that Afriyie is very rich and has a gang of eight fellow MPs pursuing his cause among Tory backbenchers in the expectation (hope?) that David Cameron will blow it in 2015.

I wrote last week that Cameron gives some of his troops the belief that he is weak and vacillating because he understands the compromises that are needed to make a coalition work. But within his own party he should be assured of more loyalty than he is clearly getting. A Thatcher, Blair or even a Brown would not be so sanguine about a well-heeled upstart flesh-pressing the backbenchers to build his on powerbase on the assumption of defeat for the party.

Where was the counter-briefing to knock holes in the Afriyie veneer once it became clear the Sundays were running with this story? Did Downing street do nothing to prick the bubble of arrant pomposity surrounding him with a pair of clod-hopping size 12s?


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Cameron u-turn on IPSA will push the Tory “fodder” over the edge

15/01/2011, 12:40:23 PM

As Ladbrokes slashes the odds of an early election to 3/1, Conservative MPs are about to explode.  A back bench revolt was suppressed just before Christmas when the frustrations of long-suffering MPs were aired about IPSA, the body tasked with paying parliamentary expenses, during an acrimonious meeting of the 1922 committee. It resulted in Downing Street briefing the media that the PM understood their worries, saying that the PM “recognised that (IPSA) has caused a lot of pain and difficulty.

Adam Afriyie, one of the few Conservative MP millionaires who had the gumption not to claim any expenses, in contrast to the PM and chancellor, received unchallenged support for a reform motion on 2nd December:

“That this House regrets the unnecessarily high costs and inadequacies of the systems introduced by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA); calls on the IPSA to introduce a simpler scheme of office expenses and Members’ allowances that cuts significantly the administrative costs, reduces the amount of time needed for administration by Members and their staff, does not disadvantage less well-off Members and those with family responsibilities, nor deter Members from seeking reimbursement of the costs of fulfilling their parliamentary duties; and resolves that if these objectives are not reflected in a new scheme set out by the IPSA in time for operation by 1 April 2011, the Leader of the House should make time available for the amendment of the Parliamentary Standards Act 2009 to do so.”

But after a spirited fightback from IPSA boss Sir Ian Kennedy and, crucially, support from the Sun’s lobby team led by Tom Newton Dunn, Uncut understands that the PM has now dropped his threat to IPSA, leaving Adam Afriyie and the cross-bench grouping of senior MPs who signed his reform motion swinging in the wind. Afriyie, and his colleagues in the ‘22 have not been informed of the change of plan. When it finally dawns, expect a volcanic reaction.

Cameron could normally rely on his long-suffering whips to soak up the punches from back benchers, described as “the fodder” by young Downing Street insiders. Yet all is not well within the within the inner sanctum.

Patrick McLoughlin, David Cameron’s loyal Chief Whip has been subject to a number of anonymous press briefings in recent weeks – thought to have come from ambitious colleagues in advance of the rumoured reshuffle. Older whips have been criticised for a heavy handed approach to the new MPs. Tracey Crouch, the Tory toffs’ token former council house tenant of choice, was allegedly told that her “career was over” after abstaining on the tuition fees vote. Such is Cameron’s distance from his “fodder” that one hapless Tory MP amused Labour colleagues recently when he said ‘”the trouble with Cameron is that he doesn’t understand ordinary people like us.”

McCloughlin is paying the cost of coalition angst. Eyebrows were recently raised when his coalition “partner” Alistair Carmichael was allocated four additional civil servants to help him manage his 57 MPs. Carmichael also negotiated a healthy remuneration package for his special adviser Ben Williams, allegedly worth £10K more than McCloughlin’s own special adviser Chris White – who has 306 MPs to keep in line. If McCloughlin carries the can, Sir George Young and Andrew Mitchell are both tipped to fill the steel toe capped shoes of the former Nottinghamshire miner.

David Cameron has already gone down in history as the first party leader who didn’t want to win a by-election. The defeat in Oldham, the as yet secret betrayal on IPSA reform and the undermining of his own chief whip leave the next few weeks looking difficult for the PM. Maybe that reshuffle is nearer than we think.

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