Tory Party faced with new rift as MPs prepare to mount coup

New generation of Conservatives to oppose critics of Cameron in committee elections

Growing factionalism within the Conservative Party will be thrown into stark relief next week when modernising young Tory MPs attempt to mount a generational coup against older troublemakers.

Click HERE to view graphic

The 301 Group – named after the number of MPs that the Tories are likely to need at the next general election for an overall majority – has launched a push to gain key positions on the party's 1922 Committee of backbenchers.

The 301's leaders argue that the 1922 Committee's officers, who represent rank-and-file MPs' feelings to the Prime Minister, have allowed themselves to become an "awkward squad" and are less interested in offering positive suggestions to David Cameron.

The acrimony reflects the tensions among Conservative MPs who have been rocked by last week's local election results and the public backlash against George Osborne's Budget.

The 301 Group wants the Committee's leadership to be less destructive about the Government and put a greater focus on campaigning. It is one of several groups to have launched since the last election, underlining the self-confidence of new Tory MPs.

Downing Street will be relieved if it succeeds in ousting some of the 1922's old guard in next Wednesday's elections. The modernisers are fielding Karen Bradley, the MP for Staffordshire Moorlands, and Charlie Elphicke, the MP for Dover – both campaigning politicians who captured their seats from Labour at the election – for the two posts of Secretary. Their aim is to remove Christopher Chope, the former minister who has been a thorn in Mr Cameron's side since the election. The second post is currently held by Mark Pritchard, a fierce critic of the Prime Minister, who is stepping down from the position.

The group is putting forward nine candidates – all newly elected MPs – for the committee's 12-strong executive and is endorsing three other serving members. High-profile names standing with the group's blessing include Mr Cameron's former press secretary, George Eustice, now the MP for Camborne and Redruth, Priti Patel, the MP for Witham, and George Hollingbery, the MP for Meon Valley.

Among the MPs who could lose their posts are Peter Bone, Julian Brazier, Philip Davies and Bernard Jenkin, who have all recently criticised the party's direction under Mr Cameron. Their chances of survival have been hit by the decision to allow parliamentary private secretaries – MPs who are ministerial aides – to vote in the election.

One Cameron critic said yesterday: "There's no doubt that No 10 wants as much control of the parliamentary party as possible. They have previous form in trying to take over the '22."

The party has been hit by a new bout of in-fighting after the outspoken MPs Nadine Dorries and Stewart Jackson were heckled at a stormy meeting this week of the 1922 Committee.

Their supporters insist they have the right to speak out on the party's direction, but critics retort that their public disloyalty is exacerbating the Tories' woes.

The 301 is among five backbench Tory groups that have been launched since the general election.

Suggested Topics
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
footballRadamel Falcao and Diego Costa head record £835m influx
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint kiss in Doctor Who episode 'Deep Breath'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Arts and Entertainment
Danish director Lars von Trier
tvEnglish-language series with 'huge' international cast set for 2016
Life and Style
tech
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Year 3 Teacher Cornwall

£23500 - £40000 per annum: Randstad Education Plymouth: Year 3 Primary Teacher...

HR Generalist (standalone) - Tunbridge Wells - £32,000

£30000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Generalist (standalone) - Tunbrid...

Year 3 Teacher Plymouth

£23500 - £40000 per annum: Randstad Education Plymouth: Year 3 Primary Teacher...

Junior Software Developer - Newcastle, Tyne & Wear - £30,000

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Junior Web Developer / J...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering