“Today I wish to dispel the wrong notion put around by some commentators that the rebellions are by the old and grumpy in the Conservative Parliamentary party, sitting in safe seats with no hope of preferment or recognition by the present leadership. We read that this small group of malcontents rebel and disrupt, causing difficulties for everyone else and making it more difficult for people in marginal seats.  The briefing usually distinguishes between the 2010 intake, the future, and the rest, implying it is some of  the rest who are the problem. This simply is  not the case.”

So John Redwood writes on his blog today, almost certainly responding to Matthew Parris in the Times (£) on Saturday, and perhaps to the briefing that I was given last week.

As evidence for his claim, the Wokingham MP cites five rebellions, all “led by MPs who first entered Parliament in 2010”, three of whom “sit for marginal seats” – David Nuttall, Jesse Norman, Mark Reckless, Andrew Bridgen and Nigel Mills.

Parris has done some research which suggests that Tory MPs in marginal constituencies are not preoccupied by the EU issue, though I would like to see how they compare with their colleagues in safer seats as a whole.

Certainly, it would be simplistic to assert that those inclined to rebel on Europe-related issues sit only for those less vulnerable seats.  I repeat my view that the longer David Cameron puts off developing his position on renegotiation/reform, the louder the explosion of dissent is likely to be.