, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


David Cameron suffered his first serious humiliation of the new Parliament yesterday (Tuesday), when he had to rely on the Labour Party to beat a rebellion by his own Eurosceptic backbenchers.

In a vote on arrangements for the in/out referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union, 27 Conservatives opposed their own party’s plan to scrap the traditional period known as “purdah”, when Whitehall is intended to remain neutral in the run-up to a major vote.

Cameron had already conceded ground to the Eurosceptics, in agreeing not to hold the referendum on the same day as an election, and he was expected to have to allow their demand for no pro-EU material to be produced by Whitehall.

But Labour saved his bacon by abstaining.

The SNP, which had joined the Tory Eurosceptics in supporting the amendment, tried to attack Labour for allying with the Tories once again.

Scottish Nationalists have a real problem distinguishing between an alliance between consenting parties and a coincidence of action in which they work toward the same result for different reasons: Labour did not abstain from this vote to help the Conservatives, but to further its own pro-EU cause.

Also, of course, if they’re going to attack Labour for helping Tories by abstaining from a vote, how hypocritical do they look after voting alongside Tories in the same division?

This leads us to another inescapable conclusion: Cameron cannot rely on Labour to save him all the time.

With a wafer-thin majority of only 12 MPs, he’s going to have to fight his own party on every controversial policy.

Perhaps next time, Labour will offer him help in return for a major policy reversal. Perhaps Labour won’t help him.

What’s certain is that Cameron is in deep, deep distress.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have enjoyed this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here: