When Will Laws Be Rewarded for His Loyalty?
McSMITH, Andy, The Independent (London, England)
We all notice when there is a rebellion in the Tory ranks, such when 81 Conservative MPs - a quarter of the parliamentary party - defied the whip to vote for a referendum on EU membership.
But those assiduous Commons watchers, Phil Cowley and Mark Stuart, of Nottingham University, point out that when an equally sizeable proportion of the Liberal Democrats defy Nick Clegg, no one seems to notice.
They have counted 86 Liberal Democrat rebellions since the Coalition was formed, 18 months ago. Early this month, 14 Lib Dem MPs - again, a quarter of the total - rebelled over various aspects of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill. There is only one backbench Liberal Democrat MP who has a completely clean record as far as the whips are concerned. It is David Laws, still hankering after his old seat in the Cabinet.
Don't read too much into this
Yvette Cooper, Labour's talented shadow Home Secretary (pictured), sent an interesting message on Twitter addressed to The Independent on Sunday's political commentator, John Rentoul (pictured). This is what it said: hwghghghghghghghghghghghghghghghghghghghghghghghghghhghghghgggghggg.
This cryptic tweet set the political twitterati wondering whether it was a coded message (note the mysterious appearance of a couple of Ws amid all the Hs and Gs) or a late entry for Rentoul's recent book, The Banned List; A manifesto against jargon and clich.
The prosaic truth is that Cooper was hurrying to get off a train and stuffed her unlocked BlackBerry into her bag.
The MP tasked with testing the water
Despite the large number of rebels on the Tory backbenches, there is at least one whose loyalty to the government is almost total, namely Harriet Baldwin, the MP for West Worcestershire. Like a canary down a mineshaft, she is the kind of loyalist who could be trusted to put out a controversial idea on the Government's behalf, just to …
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Publication information: Article title: When Will Laws Be Rewarded for His Loyalty?. Contributors: McSMITH, Andy - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: November 19, 2011. Page number: 24. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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