For true political anoraks the Telegraph has a full list of who rebelled in last night’s epic Eurosceptic uprising. The figure, including abstentions, is slightly over 50 per cent of the Tory backbenches. For David Cameron that is truly inconvenient and embarrassing; given the vote did not need to be whipped.
More sensational is the news that 49 of the 81 rebels only entered Parliament last year – and 9 of those who abstained. Partly this reflects the fact that the new intake are instinctively Eurosceptic in the main. It also shows how many feel they have no chance of advancement in the current Parliament given that the Lib Dems have squeezed the Tory share of ministerial jobs. There is also the pressing matter of the imminent boundary review, which means all MPs need to play to their constituents to ensure they keep their seats.
Philip Cowley and Mark Stuart of Nottingham University have another great piece of analysis here today, with the immortal quote:
“First, one of our rules of rebellions is that they almost always end up being smaller than the figures that were initially bandied around: deals are done, favours called in, appeals to party loyalty are made….there is a Masada-like tendency developing on the Conservative benches that should worry the government’s business managers.”