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Ex-minister Robert Goodwill has been sounding out MPs about replacing the backbench shop steward, who has repeatedly rebelled over Covid restrictions.
Allies of Goodwill said the Scarborough and Whitby MP believes the 1922 chair should be loyal in public to earn the right to speak the truth to power in private.
They reject suggestions that Goodwill, who voted Remain in the 2016 EU referendum despite being a “staunch Eurosceptic”, has the backing of the government.
And they point out that he has clashed with the prime minister in the past.
As one of David Cameron’s transport ministers, Goodwill criticised then-London mayor Johnson’s plans for an airport in the Thames estuary dubbed “Boris Island”.
Goodwill also presided over the decision to force Johnson’s father Stanley to leave his multi-million pound home in Primrose Hill, north London, to make way for the HS2 high-speed rail link.
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Brady has repeatedly rebelled against the government over Covid restrictions.
The Altrincham and Sale West MP, who has been 1922 chair for most of the last 11 years, recently criticised the suggestion that the government could impose local lockdowns to contain the India Covid variant, and is likely to fiercely oppose any delay to the June 21 final lifting of restrictions.
The election to appoint the 1922 chair and executive officers is not expected to take place until after June 21, when it is hoped that more MPs will return to Westminster.
Brady was last elected as 1922 chair in January 2020, seeing off a challenge from North Herefordshire MP Bill Wiggin.
Johnson appeared before the 1922 committee on Wednesday night via video link, telling MPs that there is “increasing evidence” that vaccines are effective against variants and that he was “even more cautiously optimistic” about opening society up than last week.