Having previously shown that the electorate has more pressing concerns than encouraging a fur-fight among MPs over the EU, I couldn’t resist revisiting last week’s prediction on last night’s Commons vote. Here’s what I said last Wednesday:
“Even if half the Tory MPs were to rebel, most of the other half, and most Lib Dems, together with the Nationalists and some Northern Irish MPs, would more than cancel them out. Mil The Younger and the rest of the Parliamentary Labour Party could take the evening off”.
So was I right, or was I right? The total number of votes for the referendum motion was 111, of which 81 were Tories. The nominal strength of the Tory Party in the Commons is just over 300. 15 more Tory MPs abstained. The vote was lost by a majority of 372.
19 of those 111 were Labour MPs, and one a Lib Dem. Had Labour, with nominally almost 260 MPs, not turned up, the rebels would have mustered just 92 votes and those opposing them would have totalled around 245. So the motion would still have been lost by a more than 2 to 1 majority.
Had a full 50% of the Parliamentary Tory Party voted for a referendum, then those supporting the motion would have got to about 145, while opponents would still have garnered around 190. So the motion would still have been lost. I was right, so, as the man said, I thank you.
Whatever some pundits have said about this vote, it has been about the Tories squabbling over Europe, the issue that finished Margaret Thatcher and hobbled “Shagger” Major. Had Mil The Younger shrugged his shoulders and given Labour MPs a free vote, it could have been yet more embarrassing.
Just three and a half years to go, Dave.