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News, gossip and insight from PoliticsHome Editor Paul Waugh

No Shiftin' Clifton-Brown. Again.

 

One of the joys of my job is looking at the Order Paper every day and today there's a little-noticed item on the very first bit of Commons business.

The new membership of the Committee of Selection - a body normally populated by whips to select members of other committees - has just been approved under 'Private Business'.

The motion moves "That Heidi Alexander, Tom Blenkinsop, Mr Alan Campbell, Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, Mr David Evennett, Mark Hunter, Anne Milton, Mr John Randall and Mark Tami be members of the Committee of Selection until the end of the current Session."

Tory MPs will be more than aware that David Cameron tried to oust Geoffrey Clifton-Brown as chairman of the Commitee of Selection in the reshuffle last year. As I blogged at the time, Clifton-Brown's perceived disloyalty was that he had helped organise, rather too effectively for No.10's liking, the Tory rebellion on Lords reform.

Cam wanted to replace him with Bill Wiggin, a nice consolation £14k prize given that Wiggin had just been sacked from the Whips' office. Wiggin was so excited that he told his local paper of his lovely new post (see my screengrab), but things didn't go smoothly to plan as Labour MPs decided to object to the appointment. They blocked it not just once, but several times.

Well, today marks perhaps the final capitulation by No.10 and the whips. Clifton-Brown is indeed on the committee 'until the end of the current session'.

Given that Jesse Norman, another leading Lords reform rebel, was brought into the fold in the No.10 policy board recently, maybe some in Government are realising that there's no point harbouring grudges.

Clifton-Brown's victory is not quite as high profile as Nadine Dorries's. But it's another sign that backbenchers can't be pushed around. And that Labour whips know their way around Parliamentary procedure.

 

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