A whiff of Conservative revolt
The Tory rebellion on Europe tonight looks like being below 20.
Younger Euro-sceptic MPs blame the bad management of the revolt by “old guard” Tory sceptics brandishing their Maastricht medals. The old guard blames David Cameron, his Lib Dem allies protecting him from the impact of a Tory Euro-sceptic revolt and Ed Miliband for failing to join their cause.
The Commons is getting a whiff today of the next big (known) uprising: voting rights for prisoners serving sentences of under 4 years.
Ken Clarke warned his fellow Tory MPs not to “go too far” in their rhetoric, enraging their own constituents further. He said all that would happen if the government dropped its commitment to giving votes to some prisoners was that Europe would impose millions of pounds-worth of compensation charges on the government.
We don’t know yet exactly how or when the measure will come before Parliament – a separate Bill or part of a bigger one – but Tories have been laying into it (“wholly offensive” – James Gray) and whips are braced for difficult times ahead on this one.