Progressive Tory MPs organise against Jacob Rees Mogg et al
The fast-growing Tory Reform Group has signed up 14 new parliamentarians.
How does a moderate Tory fight back against the likes of Jacob Rees Mogg? One way, it seems, is by becoming a ‘parliamentary patron’ for the Tory Reform Group.
The group represents centrist, liberal and often pro-European Tories on the “progressive wing” of the party. It current president is Ken Clarke and patrons include John Major, Nicky Morgan, Nicholas Soames and Nick Boles.
The new list of 14 parliamentary patrons (below) provides an insight into which Tory MPs are most determined to actively resist the agenda being pushed by the likes of Rees Mogg, who this week said he was “saddened” by Ireland's landslide vote to repeal its abortion ban.
It also indicates that a number of rising Tory stars see the group as an increasingly important cog in the machinery of the party.
The Tory Reform Group claims to have seen a surge in membership over the last two years and is now the largest membership group within the Conservative party, according to organisers. National chairman Owen Meredith said the appointment of 14 new patrons marked “another significant milestone in the history of the group”.
“We will continue to be a real force to be reckoned with as a campaigning champion for liberal Conservative candidates but also as a progressive wing of the Conservatives,” he said.
Continuing the not-so-coded attacked on Tory right wingers, he added: “Alongside our patrons, we will work to continue to support the Conservative party and at the same time ensure fresh thinking anchored in the centre ground of British politics, where we are best placed to deliver the Government our country deserves and to win the support of the British people.”
The full list of new Tory Reform Group patrons is:
• Bim Afolami MP for Hitchin and Harpenden
• Stuart Andrew MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Wales Office
• Victoria Atkins MP, Home Office Minister and Minister for Women
• Rt Hon Justine Greening MP, Former Education Secretary
• Nigel Huddleston MP, Parliamentary Private Secretary to Ministers in the Department of Culture, Media and Sport
• Seema Kennedy MP, Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Prime Minister
• John Lamont MP, Scottish Conservative MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk
• Jeremy Lefroy MP for Stafford
• Rachel Maclean MP for Redditch
• Johnny Mercer MP for Plymouth Moor View
• Guy Opperman MP, Pensions Minister
• Rt Hon Anna Soubry MP, Former Business and Defence Minister
• Tom Tugendhat MP, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee
• Robin Walker MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Department for Exiting the European Union