David Cameron‘s leadership as PM, at present, is being seriously undermined by serial rebels in his party. The fact that he is in coalition with the Liberal Democratsconstrains him further still. Recent students of politics haven’t really seen this dynamic until the Coalition. It has changed the legislative vs executive relationship. There is some great stuff here for your unit on British Politics…
There are a few very interesting and notable facts that suggest the rebellions will continue and perhaps we are entering an era where Parliament is really re-asserting itself against an often over-powerful Executive:
- Of the 81 Tory rebels, 49 were drawn from the 2010 intake. In other words 59% were new MPs. New MPs are usually disproportionately loyal.
- Of the 81 rebels, 64 already had defied the whips at least once.
- There have now been 121 Conservative rebellions so far this Parliament, i.e. almost one third of all votes have seen some Conservative dissent.
- The rebellions could be seen as MPs having to respond directly to the wishes of their local electorate and the local party ‘selectorate’ (selectors who put forward candidates) who are Eurosceptic – particularly as the Eurozone goes from crisis to crisis. In this sense we can say that local politics and the ‘electorate’ really have had an influence in Cameron’s embarrassment.
- Finally, yes it is probably correct to call it ’embarrassment’ as Cameron woefully mismanaged his party when he called for the three line whip!
- David Cameron faces guerrilla war with Conservative MPs over Europe (telegraph.co.uk)
- The era of the Tory supercharged backbencher | Tim Montgomerie (guardian.co.uk)
- Full list of MPs who voted against the EU referendum (guardian.co.uk)
- Exclusive: Tory rebels form new Eurosceptic group (independent.co.uk)