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, or “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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