Is Cameron’s expenses success storing up future trouble??
Tim Montgomerie has a post on Conservative Home which describes the mood of the Parliamentary Conservative Party as being ‘grim’. He explains;
“MPs’ are angry on many levels. At the heart of their concerns is equity. They don’t think that all MPs are being treated the same. There is, for example, a lot of sympathy for Peter Viggers. The Gosport MP was told to quit because of the expenses claim that has come to define the whole affair – his claim for a duck house. Why, some MPs ask, was Viggers ousted but shadow cabinet members who made much bigger misclaims are allowed to stay in office?
This issue of inconsistency is at the heart of MPs’ anxiety. They are very suspicious of the scrutiny committee that reports this coming week.”
Conservative Home is a bit of a traditionalist place so it is no surprise that either Montgomerie is providing a sounding-board for this ‘anixeity’ nor that he warns Cameron about needing these MP’sin ‘tough times’. As the article points out these latest concerns are really the expressions of old tensions writ in a slightly different way and not just around the individual leadership style of Cameron but also the way Cameron and the group around him have voted against the majority of his party in certain votes.
Looking over his shoulder, at the potential intake, must concern Cameron greatly especially in the context of a second term where, having got comfortable, new MP’s are likely to be more free spirited. The hard-core Thatcherism of the new potential intake makes them more likely allies of long-standing traditionalists than the ‘Cameroons’. In that context you can’t help but feel that his descision to try and re-open nominations was as much a plea to end his own isolation as anything else.
Tony Blair’s position vis a vie the Labour Party was much bolstered by his new intake of Labour MP’s in 1997 but if anything it looks like the opposite fate will befall his Conservative wannabe. However, I have always said that I think this is going to be a second not first term issue and nothing I have seen has yet convinced me this will not be the case.