5 Sep 2011

Tory MP: ‘We need blue nose-pegs’

Parliament’s back and the Tory 2010 intake is trudging back in with particularly heavy feet. One told me there was quite a lot of texting traffic last week as they told each other how much they were dreading coming back.

They are, my MP source said, respected in their constituencies and often feel they achieve things there. But when they walk into Parliament they feel like they are treated like schoolchildren by their whips and party chiefs.

They also grumble that they are voting for measures watered down by or tailored to please the Lib Dems in the coalition. One 2010 intake Tory MP told me today that he was thinking of getting a bulk order of blue nose-pegs to wear as he voted for measures he loathed but which Lib Dem coalition partners had secured in negotiations.

Today’s vote on TPIMs (terrorism prevention and investigation measures – the successors to control orders) was, he said, a perfect example (actually, the Tory leadership committed to changing control orders before the coalition, but my source was blaming the “bloody bad law” on the Lib Dems anyway).

The nose-peg has some recent pedigree in European democracies: in 2002, in the Chirac-LePen final round of the French presidential contest, anti-fascists issued “clothes-pins” to voters telling them to back “the crook not the fascist.”

The 2010 intake represents 48 per cent of the Tory Parliamentary Party. Some of them have established an unusually strong track record of defiance of the party whip in their first year in Parliament and many are returning from their summer hols with a shopping list of grievances.

The Lib Dems get it “too much their own way” you hear, orĀ  “I’ll never get a job in government”, you hear a lot. The top issues I’ve sensed talking to Tory 2010ers in the last week or so are frustrations with human rights legislation and an appetite for a substantial claw back of powers from Europe. But Lib Dems aren’t up for movement on either of those so it’s hard to see how 2010ers’ morale after next year’s summer hols won’t be even worse.

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6 reader comments

  1. Patrick W says:

    Pity you can’t name them. If our two new Tory boys in our split town constituency are anything to go by, they’re still only in it for what they can get out of it!

  2. Philip Edwards says:


    I liked the irony of this piece very much.

    Of course blue nose pegs won’t stop the stench of CamClegg guilt in hurrying privatisation of the NHS, guarding bankers’ theft of our national wealth and giving almost everything to their ex public school chums at knock down prices, all while joining in with NATO mass murder for Western oil interests in Libya.

    Nose pegs are useful only for stopping up what’s left of their consciences. They’ll never change. Same old ripoff Tories, same old dithering, useless “Liberals.” And, for that matter, same old cowardly New Labour.

  3. Saltaire Sam says:

    Blimey, they are shafting the poor, privatising the NHS, wasting money on free schools while already established schools are denied cash to repair them, and generally making life miserable for everyone apart from their pals, what else do they want?

    If they are so unhappy with their whips, then stopping unatributed moaning and say no. We’d have a much better democracy if politicians of all colours paid less attention to whips.

  4. Philip says:

    Thank you so much for reminding me about that wonderful slogan from the Chirac/Le Pen contest. I wonder if it will come back to haunt M. Chirac? Or will he turn out (albeit temporarily) be too sick to face the rigours of the French judicial process?

  5. Ray Turner says:

    The one really, really, really good thing about the coalition is that it restrains the Conservative’s idealogical excesses. I still don’t trust them completely, after their last spell of 18 years in power. Given a free hand, I think we’d have a fully privatised NHS and fully-privatised schools by now. The coalition is therefore bound to irritate some Tories. Coalitions are good…!

  6. Saltaire Sam says:

    Andrew Rawnsley gave the disenchanted tories a timely reminder this weekend – you didn’t win the election.

    Perhaps Ed Miliband’s first question at ever PMQ should be ‘Does the Prime Minister remember he didn’t win the election?’

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