Montgomerie: “You don’t have to go very far to find an unhappy Tory MP”

Leading Conservative blogger Tim Montgomerie, editor of the ConservativeHome website, has lifted the lid on the disquiet among many Tory MPs at the direction of the coalition.

Leading Conservative blogger Tim Montgomerie, editor of the ConservativeHome website, has lifted the lid on the discord among many Tory MPs at the direction of the coalition. Writing in next week’s New Statesman (7th Feb edition), Montgomerie says Conservative MPs “feel like passengers rather than crew”, and that the prime minister feels “almost too content” in the company of Lib Dems.

Montgomerie writes:

“Walking around the House of Commons you don’t have to go very far to find an unhappy Conservative MP; Tory MPs feel like passengers rather than crew on the coalition government’s journey…

“The Conservative leadership is struggling to connect with a parliamentary party that feels underpaid, is threatened by a major review of constituency boundaries and isn’t getting the Conservative manifesto that it waited all those years to see implemented.”

According to Montgomerie, Mr Cameron has axed “mainstream Conservative” policies on defence, Europe and the family.

He adds:

“They are the policies that most distinguish the average Conservative from the average Liberal Democrat or Labour activist. And you may have noticed that they are not part of this government’s agenda. They are the policies that Nick Clegg has vetoed.

“As midterm unpopularity reaches record depths, as I predict it will, Cameron won’t be able to reach for the mainstream policy toolkit for measures to sweeten the mood of his party…

“The Conservative Parliamentary Party understands the compromises of coalition government but it worries them that David Cameron doesn’t seem to share its frustration at them. He seems almost too content in the company of Liberal Democrats. Is the amity tactical or a testament to something deeper?

“Up until now, David Cameron has given the impression that his cure for internal party unhappiness is to invite Tory MPs for a glass of wine and a handful of Twiglets at a Downing Street reception. If he is to survive midterm unpopularity he needs to do much more to raise his party’s morale.”

Montgomerie’s obervations echo the thoughts of senior Tory backbenchers in the months since the coalition was formed.

In December, John Redwood revealed his frustration at the Lib Dems taking credit for ‘nice things’ the government does:

“One of the things I do not like is the ‘new narrative’ that Lib Dems have come into the Government to bridle the instincts of Conservatives. This story line entails allowing Lib Dems to claim credit for all the nice things that happen.”

While last July, David Davis complained that the government:

“…has a mechanism for dealing with the Liberal party … It does not have a mechanism for dealing with the Conservative party, most of whom are outside the coalition.”

At PMQs today, Mr Cameron said he “often writes and speaks to the deputy prime minister”; if the quiet disquiet among his own backbenchers is to be allayed, he may have to pen a few more words and take a few more calls in their direction.

12 Responses to “Montgomerie: “You don’t have to go very far to find an unhappy Tory MP””

  1. Joe Jordan

    RT @leftfootfwd: . @TimMontgomerie: "You don’t have to go very far to find an unhappy Tory MP" //bit.ly/h99xfs by @ShamikDas

  2. Joe Jordan

    told u we're doing SOMEthing RT @leftfootfwd: "You don’t have to go very far to find an unhappy Tory MP" //bit.ly/h99xfs by @ShamikDas

  3. salardeen

    RT @leftfootfwd: . @TimMontgomerie: "You don’t have to go very far to find an unhappy Tory MP" //bit.ly/h99xfs by @ShamikDas

  4. simpkins83

    RT @leftfootfwd: . @TimMontgomerie: "You don’t have to go very far to find an unhappy Tory MP" //bit.ly/h99xfs by @ShamikDas

  5. Bill Kristol-Balls

    So let me get this right –

    According to Tory MP’s, the coalition is defined by Lib Dem policies and interests to the expense of Conservative policies and interests.

    and…..

    According to Labour MP’s, the coalition is blue in tooth and claw and the Lib Dem’s are providing a fig leaf / human shield for the return of Thatcherism.

    Gotta love politics 😉

    Palin / Bachman 2012 xxx

  6. Liz McShane

    “The Conservative leadership is struggling to connect with a parliamentary party that feels underpaid….”

    Underpaid? ….What about the thousands of people that are losing their jobs because of their over-zealous approach to making cuts. They really are divorced from reality not to mention the ending of EMAs, increase in VAT etc.

  7. Jim Thompson

    Going off this lff blog it seems half the tories would call the Gov't a Lib-Dem-led Gov't. //bit.ly/h99xfs

  8. Michael Dixon

    This is a familiar theme from Tim Montgomerie. Indeed for those of us who read Conservative Home on a daily basis, there is a regular diet of this. His other pet-subject is analysing why the Conservative Party did not win the general election outright. He also seems to admire Graham Brady, Chairman or whatever of the 1922 Committtee of Conservative MP’s of whom most people will be pushed to have heard.
    Basically the election stuff is along the lines of had Cameron hammered away at immigration, the EEC etc etc. they would have won easily.
    Tim Montgomerie in a very strong position to talk? Well he was a close advisor of Iain Duncan Smith, in his time as Conservative leader. The article also does itself no favours by quoting another leadership failure David Davis of all people. Even his previous supporters think there is something a bit odd there.
    Montgomerie’s other love is favouring Mainstream Conservativism (Davis, Tebbit, Redwood) against Liberal Conservativism (Cameron, Osborne and Gove).

    For those in the Labour Party who go down the juvenile route of sloganism such as Con-Dems. Liberal lackeys etc. this may not be of any interest, but for those who give politics some sensible thought that is the background, as I see it, on Tim Montgomerie’s opinions.

  9. Sean Fraser

    Tories not part of coalition are a bit fed up! //t.co/O9XWowm

  10. Stuart Singleton-White

    Maybe the Lib Dems do have some use after all.

  11. Mr. Sensible

    Good point well made, Liz.

    I like it how Tories and Lib Dems are falling over each other to attack the Coalition…

    General Election?

  12. Anon E Mouse

    Mr.Sensible – Labour couldn’t afford to fund their last election – the party is bust and owes over £20million…

    General Election – yes please. Then the electorate can see Ed Miliband publicly humiliated and Labour may elect a new leader who people would vote for…

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