Posts Tagged ‘Chief Whip’

Whip’s notebook: Does Cameron now have two Chief Whips?

28/03/2013, 05:56:03 PM

by Jon Ashworth

Any self respecting whip has to go and see the superb This House by James Graham at the National Theatre bringing to the stresses and strains as Labour whips tried desperately to keep the Wilson/Callaghan show on the road while their Tory counterparts plot to bring it all crashing down.

While the lapels might have changed and the culture is certainly less macho, there still is a lot that remain the same.  We all work the phone and prowl the corridors to make sure all our flock are there to vote at the right time because simply as John Smith used to say ‘votes is the currency of politics.’

A prime minister can’t govern if he or she can’t command a majority. David Cameron has already lost big major votes on Europe, on the boundaries and everyone knows he would have lost on Leveson. With a group of Tory backbenchers more rebellious than ever Cameron desperately needs a whips office he can trust but who also crucially enjoy a the goodwill of his backbench troops.

But we all know that his troops aren’t happy. Whispers persist that 20 odd Tory MPs have fired off missives of no confidence to the Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 committee. The rebels openly talk with Tory MPs and Labour MPs (me included) of their frustrations with the prime minister in Commons corridors.

Meanwhile the chancellor who used to be cheered to the rafters by Tory MPs looks increasingly deserted at his Commons outing at Treasury questions and budget debates. Incidentally I’ve noticed more Tory MPs showing up for the Home Office questions.

Perhaps it’s rumblings and low morale that has forced the prime minister to switch John Hayes from his role as energy minister to become his “senior parliamentary adviser.” But it’s not entirely clear how the role differs from the unpaid post of prime minister’s parliamentary private secretary. I’m surprised therefore that Jeremy Heywood has agreed this new post should be remunerated with a ministerial salary. But such matters don’t seem to worry Cameron too much, he has now appointed three MPs to effectively none jobs –  “ministers without portfolio”  – but all with handsome government salaries. Talk about all being in it together eh?!


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Andrew Mitchell will go on Thursday

15/10/2012, 07:00:17 AM

That’s the consensus Uncut hears swirling around the ranks of senior Tories. Post-conference, the denouement of #gategate has acquired a new lethal inevitability. Hopes of a firebreak, with conference season giving space for the furore to subside, have been decisively dashed.

As members of parliament return to Westminster, Ministers and MPs who have fanned out over the weekend for media interviews are all reporting back the same message to the Tory whips: this problem is not going away.

These interviews were meant to have been an opportunity for the Tories to build on David Cameron’s speech and set the agenda before the start of the Autumn session. But, on every single occasion the questioning returned to Andrew Mitchell’s position.

It not only dragged the MPs back into territory that the Tories have been trying to escape, but also presents a uniquely difficult question to answer.

There’s no defending Mitchell’s conduct. His absence from Birmingham, despite being the Tories’ only Birmingham MP, was stark. The agreed line to take that he apologised and the police personnel involved have accepted the apology leaves too many unanswered questions:  what did he actually say? Why are the police federation calling for him to go? How long will this drag on?

The critical day is now Wednesday. PMQs will be dominated by Andrew Mitchell, who will then face the judgement of the Tories backbench 1922 committee later that day when it meets.


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Jim Fitzpatrick – a man of few words

23/09/2010, 02:04:16 PM

20 September 2010 15:58

Subject: MESSAGE FROM JIM FITZPATRICK MP: Labour Chief Whip Contest

Dear Colleagues

I am intending to stand as a candidate for Shadow Chief Whip in the forthcoming contest, and hope to be able to speak to you personally, soon after the result of the Labour Leadership vote.

I shall be grateful for your support.

Kind regards.

Jim Fitzpatrick MP

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The quiet campaign for the Chief Whip

09/09/2010, 12:08:19 PM

Last night the results of the PLP ballot on the method for selecting the Shadow Cabinet were announced.

The top line is that the Shadow Cabinet will remain fully elected. The variations on the method for selecting the shadow cabinet were rejected. Harriet Harman’s suggested 50:50 gender balance was also rejected, with the PLP settling for 31.5%.

However the most important decision taken by the PLP was the resounding vote in favour of electing the chief whip at the start of each Parliament.

The vote wasn’t even close, with 150/100 voting in favour.

The Whip’s are cock-a-hoop. Telling anyone who will listen that this is an overwhelming endorsement for Nick Brown. The leadership candidates are likely to be less enthused.


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