Page last updated at 19:01 GMT, Wednesday, 26 May 2010 20:01 UK

Tory backbenchers choose Brady as man to air grievances

By Ross Hawkins
Political Correspondent, BBC News

Conservative MP Graham Brady
Mr Brady resigned from the Tory frontbench in 2007

Unhappy Conservative backbenchers have a new man to put their complaints to the party leadership - and to make trouble for the prime minister if necessary.

As chairman of the 1922 Committee, Graham Brady has the job of making sure the Tory leader knows exactly what is upsetting his backbenchers.

Many Westminster observers think the party leadership would have found life less difficult if the other candidate for this job - Croydon South MP Richard Ottaway - had won.

With the coalition government in its opening weeks, some Tory MPs already have plenty of gripes for the new chairman to convey.


They are unhappy - for a start - about the 1922 election itself.

David Cameron pushed through and won a ballot on changing the way the committee worked, but backed away from plans to give ministers a say.

Two backbenchers who have gone public with their concerns about the coalition's policies have also been elected to senior positions on the committee.

One of its new secretaries, Christopher Chope, and one of its vice chairmen, Charles Walker, expressed reservations about plans to require a 55% vote for the House of Commons for its dissolution.

That is not to say this election will mean endless vocal opposition from Conservative backbenchers.

The successful candidates quietly turned down requests for television interviews as they emerged from the meeting at which the results were announced.

And it is hardly surprising the inevitable compromises involved in forming a coalition have left some Conservatives MPs uncomfortable.

They are, after all, disappointed not to have won an outright majority and to be sharing ministerial jobs with Liberal Democrats.

It is also true that all Parliamentary parties contain members who are not always supportive of party leaders.

But the 1922 committee matters more than usual now though. Conservative and Liberal Democrat ministers rely on the support of both parties' backbenchers.

Should the grumbles Graham Brady hears grow serious both David Cameron and Nick Clegg will have good reason to worry about the views of the 1922.

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