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who had failed to support them in a caucus election, and that this bias could be reflected in lack of assistance in the electorate-- but none of the ministers had asked for my vote.

        There may have been processes at work of which I was unaware.   The factions might have chosen secret "tickets" and instructed their adherents to vote in disciplined blocks.   There could have been deals between left and right to ensure that each got an agreed number of ministries.   Votes might have been won by promises or threats.   Perhaps it was better for me to remain naive.

        At last, Maher returned with the voting results.   All the previous ministers had been successful in being re-elected.   Brereton and the other backbench hopefuls had been kept out; and cabinet would have the same team as before, with the addition of Hallam .

        Each defeated candidate stood up, tried to hide his disappointment, congratulated the winners, and pledged loyalty to the government.   Brereton could afford to wait for another opportunity, but for some of the others time was running out.

      The less dramatic task of electing the speaker, the chairman of committees, the whip and caucus executive was quickly completed: with the outgoing officeholders being returned without competition.   By four o'clock we were free to escape, past the waiting

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