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Bob Blackman: Who is the new 1922 Committee chairman?

The Harrow East MP has taken over the important Conservative Party role from Sir Graham Brady.

King’s Birthday Honours list 2023

Bob Blackman, who has been chosen to lead the 1922 Committee after a vote among Tory MPs, will play an important role when the party selects its new leader.

The Harrow East MP won 61 of the 98 votes cast on Tuesday, against 37 for North Cotswolds MP Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, to take over the position from Sir Graham Brady.

The 1922 Committee, sometimes dubbed “The 22”, is a group of Conservative backbench MPs which organises ballots on potential changes in leadership and oversees votes of no confidence.

When a Tory leadership contest is held, the committee’s chairman will announce the timetable and rules to be followed – including deciding the nomination requirements for MPs putting themselves forward and the deadlines for doing so.

The chairman also receives the letters from MPs needed to trigger a vote of no confidence.

General Election campaign 2024
Former prime minister Rishi Sunak with now chair of the 1922 Committee Bob Blackman (Chris J Ratcliffe/PA)

Mr Blackman, 68, has been the MP for Harrow East since the 2010 election, taking the seat from Labour former minister Tony McNulty.

It came after three unsuccessful attempts in Brent South, Bedfordshire and Brent North in 1992, 1997 and 2005, respectively, where he came second behind Labour each time.

Mr Blackman graduated from the University of Liverpool in 1978 and later worked for British Telecom (BT) as a regulatory compliance manager.

He was elected as a Tory councillor for Brent Council in 1986 and became the London Assembly Member for Brent and Harrow in 2004.

Mr Blackman’s re-election in Harrow East on Thursday saw him win a majority of 11,680 and a 53.3% share of the votes – the highest of any Tory MP and the only one to achieve a majority of total votes.

Despite never holding a ministerial position, he has successfully campaigned in parliament for legislation to tackle homelessness and improve housing standards.

A bill he introduced in Parliament in June 2016 eventually became law as the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017, which placed new duties on housing authorities to prevent homelessness.

More recently, a Private Members’ Bill of his resulted in new legislation intended to prevent rogue landlords taking advantage of vulnerable people.

Mr Blackman has also sat on three select committees and been a member of more than 70 all-party parliamentary groups.

He was made a CBE in the King’s 2023 Birthday Honours for political and public service.

His new role as chairman of the 1922 will see the veteran backbencher become an important figure in the Conservative Party as jostling begins to lead the Tories in opposition.

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