Furious Tory MPs claim plot to stitch up leadership contest after 1922 vote controversy

Furious Tory MPs claim plot to stitch up leadership contest after 1922 vote controversy
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Furious Tory MPs have claimed there is a ‘plot’ to determine who replaces Rishi Sunak after controversy over the election of a new chair of the influential 1922 Committee.

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Less than a week after losing the general election, the party is involved in an angry row over its internal elections.

Tensions are running high as the 1922 Committee of backbench MPs will decide the rules for the party’s next leadership contest.

MPs claimed the election for a new chair of the committee was “bent”.

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And some have likened it to Nadine Dorries book ‘The Plot’, which claimed there was a secret internal push to oust Boris Johnson as prime minister.

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Former prime minister Rishi Sunak (centre) with now Chair of the 1922 Committee Bob Blackman (top-right) (Chris J Ratcliffe/PA)
Former prime minister Rishi Sunak (centre) with now Chair of the 1922 Committee Bob Blackman (top-right) (Chris J Ratcliffe/PA) (PA Wire)

The shadow chancellor Jeremy Hunt was among the Tory MPs turned away from voting for the chair of the committee on Tuesday.

Mark Francois, a former minister and chair of the European Research Group, was also unable to vote.

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“This election was bent,” he said as he left the room in the Palace of Westminster.

“I think the 1922’s level of competence has reached a new low.”

Some MPs were told in an email that they could vote between 5 and 6pm.

However, when they arrived they were told that voting had closed at 530pm.

Conservative MP Bob Blackman won the 1922 committee chair vote
Conservative MP Bob Blackman won the 1922 committee chair vote (PA Archive)

In the end, Tory MP Bob Blackman will lead the influential committee, which will set the rules and timetable for the next leadership contest.

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The Harrow East MP has taken over from Sir Graham Brady, who was given a peerage by Mr Sunak.

The former prime minister fired the starter pistol on a contest to replace him last week in the wake of the disastrous election result.

He announced he would “step down as party leader, not immediately, but once the formal arrangements” for choosing a replacement are in place.

Mr Blackman won 61 of the 98 votes cast, against 37 for North Cotswolds MP Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown.

But some Tory MPs claimed he would have lost had everyone been able to vote.

Mark Francois was unable to vote
Mark Francois was unable to vote (PA)

Mr Francois told The Independent: “In 23 years of being an MP I have never seen a shambles like this – and on our first day back.

“Tory Voluntary Party workers, who slogged their guts out for six weeks to re-elect their MPs, deserve far better than to see a flawed election for the chairmanship of the 1922 Committee – who of course, crucially, will oversee the Leadership contest.

“We had enough of these shenanigans in the previous Parliament – have we learned nothing?”

Some Tory MPs received an email saying voting was open until 6pm
Some Tory MPs received an email saying voting was open until 6pm (.)

The row comes as thousands of Tory members have already signed a petition asking for a rule change to give them more of a say.

It comes as some MPs push for a rule change which would excludes members from voting on the leader – leaving the choice to members of Parliament.



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