Government whips confident on AV referendum vote
Whips worked hard before the recess to peel off some rebels, enough to make them confident they’ll win not just the second reading vote tonight but that they’ll beat off any rebel amendments further down the line after the party conferences.
The rebels are talking about more than a dozen Tory rebels, maybe 15 to 20, tonight with quite a few abstentions on top of that.
Interestingly, at 6pm there was a joint meeting of the Cornerstone group, the No Turning Back group and the 92 Group, all Tory MPs who could make trouble for the government in other areas as well as this one, coalition sceptics you might call them.
One Tory MP I just spoke to called them “the real Tory Party.” David Cameron’s earlier tactics, trying to “nationalise” the backbench 1922 Committee, seem to have triggered a bit of coordination on the Tory Right.