Page last updated at 15:01 GMT, Wednesday, 15 October 2008 16:01 UK

1922 Committee

The 1922 Committee is made up of all Conservative backbench MPs, although frontbenchers, except the leader, can attend when the party is in opposition.

Its name is taken from the year in which the MPs who originally formed it were elected.

Its primary function is to keep the leadership of the party informed of the mood of Conservative backbenchers. The committee meets each week to discuss forthcoming parliamentary business.

The most important members of the 1922 Committee are the officers elected each year as members of its Executive Committee. The chairman of the executive is a very influential figure.

If a Conservative leader or other senior figure loses the support of the 1922 Committee then they could be in a particularly vulnerable position, as Conservative cabinets and shadow cabinets are normally expected to take the views of the committee very seriously.

The most important task that the head of the committee has is overseeing the election of the Tory party leader.

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