The formation of the 1922 Committee

The 1922 Committee attracted widespread media attention when it was addressed yesterday by the Prime Minister.  In my nineteen years of attending the 1922, it was by far and away the best attended.

The media coverage has encompassed the usual misreporting of the foundations of the Committee.  I have previously posted a note on its formation.  The Sun, Daily Telegraph and even the Parliament website continue to get it wrong.  The 1922 Committee was not formed in 1922 and there is no evidence to link it with the Carlton Club meeting.  It came into being in April 1923 when a group of newly elected MPs, led by Gervais Rentoul, got together to form what amounted to a form of self-help group.  Its name – the Conservative Private Members (1922) Committee – reflects the fact that it was formed by, and initially was confined to, Members first elected in 1922.  Only later was membership expanded and it became open to all Conservative private members and take the form that we see today.

For those interested, details may be found in my The Voice of the Backbenchers, published by the Conservative History Group in 2013, to mark the 90th anniversary of the Committee.  I will be working on the centenary history. As a political scientist, I am aware of the value of being a participant-observer!

About Lord Norton

Professor of Government at Hull University, and Member of the House of Lords
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