January 31, 2006

BUT DO THEY HAVE THE APPETITE FOR CAMERON?:

Missing MPs and rebels leave Blair humiliated over religious hate Bill (Brendan Carlin and Neil Tweedie, 01/02/2006, Daily Telegraph)

Tony Blair's authority was gravely weakened last night after the Government crashed to a double defeat over the religious hatred Bill.

In farcical circumstances, the Prime Minister was apparently allowed home shortly before the second crucial Commons vote, which the Government lost by one.

The defeat, combined with an earlier one by 10 votes, raised fresh doubts about how he could now survive. It also put a question mark over his chances of pushing through education reforms and introducing identity cards.

The twin defeats - only the second and third since Mr Blair came to power in 1997 - suggested that Labour Whips are losing the control of dissident backbenchers who increasingly regard Mr Blair as a lame-duck leader. This is despite the Government's nominal majority of more than 60.

Hilary Armstrong, the Labour Chief Whip, could struggle to hold on to her job after it emerged that 40 Labour MPs did not take part in the first of last night's two votes.

Of those, at least 15 were Scottish MPs - fuelling rumours that up to 25 Labour MPs had been campaigning for next month's Dunfermline and Fife West by-election.

Labour MPs suggested that party rebels, who first tasted success against Mr Blair last November by rejecting his plans to detain terrorist suspects for up to 90 days, had got the appetite for revolt.


Posted by Orrin Judd at January 31, 2006 8:35 PM
Comments

Blair should resign, form a new party with the sane Laborites and Conservatives, annoint Cameron as his successor and win a new election. He won't but he should.

Posted by: Bob at February 1, 2006 10:05 AM

I just love the fact that the initial resistance was led by the House of Lords and Mr. Bean.

Posted by: Mike Earl at February 1, 2006 12:29 PM
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