Two Rebellions Two Rebellions Ready to Wreck Cameron's 2011; INSIDE THE NEW POLITICS
Byline: James FORSYTH
DAVID CAMERON likes to compare the Coalition to a seesaw. But his backbenchers are getting increasingly irritated at how the Government keeps shifting its weight down to the Lib Dem end to try to keep the thing in balance.
With the Lib Dems polling in single figures, Cameron has to help Nick Clegg demonstrate why it is worth his party's while to be in government. But every time he does that, Tory backbenchers - who feel taken for granted by their leader - begin to fret that the tail is wagging the dog.
Adding to this annoyance is a sense that Tory backbenchers are treated differently from Lib Dem ones.
Tories complain that the consequence for Simon Hughes of abstaining in the vote on tuition fees was that he became a Privy Counsellor and the Coalition's access advocate, while Tracey Crouch, a Tory backbencher who abstained, faced dire warnings about her future career prospects and lots of personal and unpleasant briefings against her.
There is already talk of two major rebellions in the New Year. Soundings are being taken about who is the MP best placed to table and garner support for an amendment to the Government's European legislation demanding an in-or-out referendum on EU membership. If this amendment were put down, it would cause a major headache for Cameron.
As he tries to keep his Coalition together, and get the economy growing again, the last thing he needs is a row over Europe. Talk to Tory MPs privately and many of them like the idea of getting out of the European Union altogether. …