It’s not just the Lib Dems who’re revolting…

As the analysis of the votes on the Treaty of Lisbon continues to filter in, it looks very much like all the leaders of the main political parties have had their problems in the House.

Pride of place, of course, goes to Nick Clegg of the Lib Dems, whose performance of late more than vindicates the feeling I got when he was elected as leader that, with a man named Clegg leading the party, it wouldn’t be long before the speculation kicked off as to which members of his front bench should be regarded as Compo and Foggy. Any sightings of the Lib Dem leadership careering down the Embankment in wheeled bathtub will be much appreciated, particularly if accompanied by photographs.

On the Labour side, the number of rebels on the key referendum vote was pegged to 29, which is not too much more than the regular membership of the party’s parliamentary ‘awkward squad’ and therefore no big deal – the sight of Jeremy Corbyn, Kate Hoey and Frank Field voting against the government whip isn’t so much news as business as usual and I think its a fair bet that the Whips will be congratulating themselves on a job well done.

Somewhat amusingly, the Beeb is quoting William ‘it’s a Pound not a Euro’ Hague as claiming that “the Lib Dems could still help secure a referendum on the treaty if they abstained again in the Lords, where the government has no overall majority”.

Given that Hague also told Channel 4 news that:

“As you can see from the figures, the Government only won by 63 votes, and 50 Liberal Democrats abstained, and if they had voted, we could be having a referendum on the Lisbon treaty….”

I wonder if Cleggy might consider redeeming himself a little by loaning Vince Cable to the Tories while they’re trying to figure out the numbers.

And then there’s Cameron who, according to revolts,co.uk, also copped a whiff of parliamentary buckshot from his own benches:

As everyone examined the damage done to Nick Clegg’s leadership by the largest Lib Dem rebellion in six years, the Commons also divided on New Clause 9 in the name of William Cash. It stated that nothing in the new Treaty of Lisbon should be construed by any court in the United Kingdom as affecting the supremacy of the United Kingdom Parliament.

The Conservative frontbench line was to abstain. But 40 Conservative MPs, including 12 members of the 2005 intake, voted for Cash’s clause. Europhile Ken Clarke voted with the Government in the no lobby.

This was the largest Conservative rebellion since David Cameron came to power, involving a quarter of his MPs. It was also the largest rebellion by MPs of any party during the passage of the Bill to date.

The official explanation seems to be that Cameron tried to cover his arse on this one by facing both ways at the same time – he set an officiql line for his frontbench while allowing his backbenches a free vote, but as Revolts goes to note:

There’s a clear frontbench line (which is to abstain), and 40 MPs go into the other lobby. It may not be a rebellion, but it’s a split, and a revealing split.

And given that Cash’s amendment relates to specifically to whether to the question of whose sovereignty the courts should observe, I can see UKIP having a bit of fun with this over the next few days.