Peter Bone has an article on Conservative Home suggesting that the vote in support of his amendment (see previous post) could have been higher. Whilst castigating the Liberal Democrats for not voting for his amendment, Bone continues:
"However, what is more interesting still is the hidden detail behind the Conservative vote.
There were five Conservative members who I know were unable to vote because they were away from the Palace of Westminster who would have supported the in/out referendum. In addition there were eighteen Conservative backbench members who defied the three-line whip and deliberately abstained. The vast bulk of them were in the Palace of Westminster at the time of the vote, but chose to positively abstain to show their support for an in/out referendum, but not necessarily the technicalities of the new clause. As well as those 43 Conservative members who deliberately defied the three-line whip, there were a further sixteen who voted with the government but support an in/out referendum. Some of those spoke openly in the four-hour debate of their support for such a referendum, but believed the new clause was technically flawed.
There is of course another group of Conservative MPs who would support an in/out referendum but they are stopped from expressing that opinion by collective responsibility. Many ministers in the Government have expressed to me privately that they would support such a policy.
When you add the Conservative MP’s who are openly supportive of an in/out referendum and those closet Conservative MPs who would if they could, then you have a substantial part of the parliamentary party in favour of a referendum on our membership of the European Union."
Now we get down to political principles coupled with the hold parties have over their own MPs. Abstaining is not defying the Whips, abstaining is nothing but a cop-out by the MPs concerned. When does a 'technicality' become more important than a principle? Either they (the 18) were in favour of an in/out referendum, or they weren't - does the method of achieving one matter? The same criticism is levied against the 16, to whom Bone refers, who felt that the amendment was 'technically flawed' - again a cop-out. The fact that 'collective responsibility', referring to Cabinet members, stops their voting against the government line only confirms that those Cabinet members have put party before their democratic responsibility to represent their constituents - and as such are not worthy of our respect.
The examples Bone provides illustrates yet again that some Conservative MPs are more interested in their careers, fearing deselecting (directed by cameron), should they actually put their principles first. The people are supposed to trust and respect MPs with that 'craven courage'? Bone's comments against the Labour Party, coupled with the last paragraph of his post, just demonstrates even further how that party views its obligations to the people of this nation.
Eventually the people of this land will rebel and realise that the only course of action they have is, paraphrasing a song by Leonard Cohen, to "take Westminster"
"Ah you loved me as a loser, but now you're worried that I just might winAnd therein, I suggest, lies the method of our success!
You know the way to stop me, but you don't have the discipline"