We’ve just had the results of the vote on the Lords amendment which sought to commit the UK to EEA membership. The overall result was the amendment was rejected by 327 votes to 126, but the interesting story is that Labour managed to split three ways on the topic.
Labour’s whipped position was to abstain, much to the frustration of Stephen Kinnock and a band of pro-EEA MPs on the opposition benches. Their expected rebellion in favour of the EEA amendment materialised – and how, with 74 rebels plus one teller, including five Opposition frontbenchers who resigned in order to back the amendment. They were joined by three Conservative rebels, whose names are no great surprise: Ken Clarke, Anna Soubry and Dominic Grieve. (I’ve listed all the rebels from each main party on both sides of the issue below, for the record.)
However, more surprising is the scale of the simultaneous Labour rebellion to vote against the EEA: 15 Labour MPs voted with the Government, including one (Laura Smith, Crewe and Nantwich), who quit as a Shadow Cabinet Office minister to do so.
As well as bringing the total number of resignations from Corbyn’s front bench past 100, this means a total of 90 Labour MPs rebelled in one direction or the other over the EEA tonight – rebelling against an abstention policy which was supposedly chosen in order to minimise rebellion. That’s more than a third of the Parliamentary Labour Party, a figure which won’t heal Tory bruises from yesterday’s events but will at least draw some of the sting from Opposition politicians’ gloating tweets about disunity on the Government benches.
In short, then, Labour whipped its MPs not to vote at all, but some rebelled by voting for the EEA, and some rebelled by voting against the EEA. Meanwhile, there was also a small Conservative rebellion in favour of the EEA.
Here are the rebels on each side of the issue, by party:
Conservative Pro-EEA rebels
Labour Pro-EEA rebels
Teller: Susan Elan Jones
Labour Anti-EEA rebels