IT is a tense time in Westminster, as pressure is mounting on the Prime Minister over parties in lockdown and a Conservative is even leaving for Labour.

A number of MPs are hogging the headlines of the national newspapers, one of whom is our own Sir Graham Brady.

Here, The Messenger looks at what is going on in Parliament and why the MP's role is so important at the moment.

Who is Sir Graham Brady?

Sir Graham Brady is the Conservative MP for Altrincham and Sale West.

Since 2010, he is also the chairman of the Conservatives' 1922 Committee.

What's the 1922 Committee?

The 1922 Committee, or 'The 22', is a committee of all backbenchers in the Conservative Party. These are the MPs who are not Government Ministers.

The committee meets each week to discuss the direction of the Conservative Party.

Why are you telling us all this?

As well as discussing the direction of the Conservative Party, the committee is important in choosing its leader.

This is because the chairman of the committee, i.e. Sir Graham, arranges and oversees a vote of no confidence.

What's a vote of no confidence?

In the Conservative Party, a vote of no confidence is a vote on whether the leader is fit for the role.

It is triggered when a certain number of Conservative MPs, at the moment 54, write to Sir Graham.

If more than 50 per cent of Conservative MPs, at the moment 180, vote for the leader in a vote of no confidence, they're allowed to retain the role. This is what happened to Theresa May in 2018, although she resigned a short time afterwards.

However, if more than 50 per cent of Conservative MPs vote against the leader, there is an election for a new leader. The old leader is not allowed to stand in it.

Who has written to Sir Graham?

Only Sir Graham knows the answer to this one. A handful of Conservative MPs have written to him in public, but a lot more are thought to have done so in private.

There are reports the all-important number of 54 is about to be reached, if it has not been reached already...