Philip Cowley and Mark Stuart of Nottingham University (and the excellent website) have analysed voting patterns in recent parliaments and notice a decline in the willingness of the Tory opposition to vote against the principle of Government legislation:

Screen shot 2010-01-09 at 10.30.14 In a briefing note, (PDF here) Cowley and Stuart write:

"The data show a parliament-by-parliament decline in the propensity of the Official Opposition to object to the principle of government legislation. William Hague’s Conservative Party voted against the principle of about two out of every five bills. Under IDS and Michael Howard that fell slightly, to just under one in three. But under David Cameron it has fallen yet further, down to just one out of every five pieces of government legislation."

An explation for the decline was given by an unnamed "senior Tory MP" to The Times:

“Cameron is forever on the lookout for
a Brown dastardly plot. He wants to manoeuvre us
into a position where we are seen to be voting against motherhood and apple
pie. So rather than vote against the Bill as a whole we try to change it
later. There is a lot in the Equality Bill that we did not like at all, but
they would have loved it had we been put in a position where we were
opposing equality. Brown has also been trying to get us to oppose the 50p
tax rate. But we won’t play his game.”

Tim Montgomerie

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