Backbench Tories furious at 'stitch-up'

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Indy Politics

The Tory leadership faces fury from restive MPs over moves to "stitch up" a key committee which was established to speak for the party's backbenchers.

Growing numbers of Conservative MPs are expressing their disquiet over the number of cherished policies ditched by David Cameron in order to reach a coalition deal with the Liberal Democrats.

And anger was growing last night over surprise moves to allow ministers to attend meetings of the 1922 Committee of backbench MPs – and to take part in its elections.

During periods of Tory government, its membership has been limited to backbenchers. But party sources said the rule did not apply in a coalition administration.

However, one MP denounced the move – which will be voted on today – as a "stitch-up" aimed at stopping dissent. Douglas Carswell, the MP for Clacton, protested: "This measure would centralise power."

Graham Brady, the MP for Altrincham and Sale West, who is standing for the chairmanship of the committee, warns the new government not to take backbench support for granted.

In an interview with The Spectator, he says: "A majority government can largely presume the consent of its MPs. A coalition government cannot." He says that most Tory MPs would have preferred Mr Cameron to form a minority government.

And in a swipe at Mr Cameron for failing to consult his footsoldiers more, he says: "If we are going to make this coalition arrangement work,... we must manage the relationships within the party effectively."