These party games will test David Cameron’s stamina.
Today’s jape involves 50 of his own MPs who reckon he is rigging the rules of the European Union referendum and want to force through their own changes.
The sad fact is that the rebels’ amendments seem more likely to create bias than anything Cameron wants to do. Moves to prevent the referendum taking place on the same day as other elections may be reasonable, but trying to ensure that the Government cannot publish pro-EU reports “on the eve” of the vote seem intended to promote anti-EU sentiment when a level playing field is required.
But Cameron’s response, it seems, is not to reassure them of his good intentions at all – they’re Tory MPs; he might be able to fool the public that way but he won’t fool them. Instead he is resorting to bribery.
According to the Torygraph, he’s hoping rebels including former Cabinet ministers Liam Fox and Owen Paterson can be “bought off” with “credible assurances” ahead of a vote on backbench amendments to the EU referendum bill tomorrow (Tuesday, June 16).
A rebellion by 50 Tory MPs, if supported by Labour and the SNP, will overturn the Conservative Party’s tiny majority in the House of Commons and make it impossible for Cameron to have his way.
If it succeeds in changing his mind, you can rest assured it will be the first of many more such party games.
Cameron is a lame duck who has already been shot. Before you know it, he’ll be plucked and roasted.
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