By Matthew Barrett
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We know that 91 Tories voted against the Lords Reform Bill last night. That's the big, headline grabbing figure – the biggest rebellion in this Parliament.
However, there is, perhaps, an even more remarkable set of related figures drawn to my attention by Jonathan Isaby. Firstly, the number of non-payroll-MPs who did not rebel, but who could not support the Government. While it's worth noting that some of these MPs may have been unavailable due to personal circumstances, etc, the Government's whipping operation means 19 MPs would not have been allowed to skip the vote. Therefore some will have taken the conscious decision not to support the Government. Those MPs were:
- James Arbuthnot (North East Hampshire) – interestingly, Arbuthnot was a signatory to the letter by 70 MPs opposing the programme motion
- Sir Paul Beresford (Mole Valley) - also a signatory to the letter
- Fiona Bruce (Congleton)
- Robert Buckland (South Swindon) – also a signatory to the letter
- Aidan Burley (Cannock Chase) - also a signatory to the letter
- Rehman Chishti (Gillingham and Rainham)
- Jackie Doyle-Price (Thurrock)
- Sir Roger Gale (North Thanet)
- Oliver Heald (North East Hertfordshire) - also a signatory to the letter
- Gordon Henderson (Sittingbourne and Sheppey)
- Pauline Latham (Mid Derbyshire) - also a signatory to the letter
- Stephen McPartland (Stevenage)
- Neil Parish (Tiverton and Honiton) - also a signatory to the letter
- Priti Patel (Witham) - also a signatory to the letter
- Mark Pritchard (The Wrekin)
- Sir John Stanley (Tonbridge and Malling)
- Mike Weatherley (Hove)
- Heather Wheeler (South Derbyshire)
- Tim Yeo (South Suffolk)
Add these 19 MPs to the 91, and you have 110 backbenchers who did not back the Government last night, despite the three-line whip. The number of those backbenchers who did support the Lords Reform Bill was 80.
Amongst backbenchers, at least, there was a 30-MP majority against Lords reform.