We name the 13

Hansard has now updated to give details of the vote earlier today.

Here are the 13 Lib Dem MPs who voted with the Tories in favour of a referendum

Brooke, Annette
Carmichael, Alistair
Farron, Tim
Gidley, Sandra
George, Andrew
Hancock, Mike
Heath, David
Hemming, John
Holmes, Paul
Horwood, Martin
Mulholland, Greg
Pugh, John
Younger-Ross, Richard

Those of us following Richard Gadsden on Twitter will now know this is not the biggest Lib Dem rebellion of all time. That honour goes to a division in April 2002 on the thorny issue of the Aggregates Levy.

Cobden’s Comments also points to a time when the Liberals were split three ways:

I suppose it is not as bad as the vote on the Boar [sic] War over a century ago when a third of the parliamentary Liberal Party walked into the ‘Aye’ lobby, a third into the ‘No’ and the rest abstained; which could have been the outcome this evening if there had been a free vote.

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  • You Tories never fail to make me chuckle, you don’t get it and will never get it.

    You scoff at the lib dems who rebelled, but those rebellious MPs were supporting you…Square that one. Takes flip flopping to new dimensions, ridiculing people who actually supported your amendment to the Lisbon Treaty Bill

    Those who rebelled, their seats are now safe as houses. They can go to their constituencies with their heads held high, and will be admired for their stance.

    Also today was supposed to be Browns annus horriblous, but he is back at No ten this evening chuckling into his drinking chocolate.

    Cameron lost, IWAR look stupid, and furthermore in the weeks running up to this vote IWAR did more to publicize the Treaty debate than the Tories. In fact cowardly cambo hide behind the coat tails of IWAR.

  • This looks hilarious on lib dem blogs – Sandra George and David Hemming!

    No? Just my weird sense of humour again then…

    *Shuffles feet blushes*

  • But Cobden’s right, even if his spelling’s off. Lib-Dems tonight wound up holding the bag on this thing because they have failed to articulate a coherent position. They have been defensive for years on the EU project, ducking the legitimate questions about its institutional integrity for fear of being taken for skeptics, while dodging the responsibility for fulsome support of the benefits of being European.

    The EU is the most important political venture on the planet at this moment. But it is bedevilled by many failings, opacity, poor governance and corruption among them.

    Lib-Dems should be trying to rescue the EU from its failings, not shielding it from its critics.

    Can anyone tell me what, exactly, Lib-Dem policy is on this treaty? Does that not matter?

  • Richard Gadsden 6th Mar '08 - 8:05am

    My source: revolts.co.uk

  • 16 Lib Dem MPs voted in favour of a referendum last night. The second amendment put by a Labour backbencher attracted 15 Lib Dem votes. However one of the original 13 MPs fell back into line, with the result that there were 3 new rebels for the Labour amendment, according to BBCnews24.

  • Ahem. It’s being overlooked that the Tories suffered their own major revolt last night.
    See: http://www.revolts.co.uk/cat_news.html#000456

    “This was the largest Conservative rebellion since David Cameron came to power, involving a quarter of his MPs. It was also the largest rebellion by MPs of any party during the passage of the Bill to date.”

    Where are our PR people?

  • Passing Tory 6th Mar '08 - 10:19am

    Am I scoffing? I have argued before that I think that the official Lib Dem position is ludicrous and so those who broke the whip to vote for a referendum on the Treaty appeared to show a rare display of common sense (although who knows how much was common sense, and how much it was to guard their backsides at the next election).

  • Vanessa Pine 6th Mar '08 - 10:57am

    Looking at the position tactically…
    making a point of abstaining meant that last night the media were actually reporting the Lib Dem position – in favour of an in/out vote and a proper debate – on all the evening news bulletins, rather than ignoring the Lib Dems althogether.

    If our MPs had been given a free vote we would not have been part of the story at all and, in the eyes of the public, our position on Europe would have been much less visible.

  • Very belatedly, others are starting to pay attention to the Tory revolt:



    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/nickrobinson/2008/03/post_4.html (see update at end of the post)

    Pay attention people. Enough already with the introspection.

  • Steve Garner 6th Mar '08 - 11:59am

    Nice try Vanessa Pine, but I think you’ll find that not being reported at all is rather better than losing 3 frontbenchers, having a 25% rebellion and trying to defend the indefensible. Clegg himself gave the game away on Newsnight by castigatin Labour for abandoning a manifesto commitment. Sheer hypocrisy laced with a fair amount of incompetence.

  • This is really poor management – how on earth did it get to the stage where 3 front bench spokespeople had to resign over the issue?

  • Bad news in the short term, but in the long term, isn’t an in/out referendum going to look like the right policy.

  • First – for a bunch of people who are either not completely kosher on fundamental EU support or are protecting their backsides from eurosceptics in their electorate to do this to a new leader at this early vulnerable point is not easily to be forgiven – even if they thought he was wrong on this one.

    Second – Nick had an agreement at a parliamentary party meeting a few weeks ago that abstension coupled with the in/out referendum argument would shut up the internal critics. He now knows better. Once you start running you never stop. Nick knew that at this stage of the game voting against a referendum on this particular treaty was the right thing to do. If he had insisted on this we would have had a positive position – no sitting forlornly in the chamber, no cojones jokes – and (I would venture) the same bunch of rebels to deal with.

    It is not that we have suffered some serious defeat,it is that we look pathetic right now and it will take some sustained and effective effort from Nick and his closest advisers before we lose this mantle.

    As a start please preserve us from any attempts at the conference to defend all that has happened. It is time to say “OK not our finest hour but hey,let’s get stuck into the enemy – there’s plenty to attack.”

  • Looking at the MPs who revolted, the majority of them are in Lib Dem/Tory marginal seats. Is this the main reason for their revolt rather than a passionate desire for a referendum?

  • Well done the 13 – or is it 15?

    I suspect I agree with them – and even if I didn’t I still admire them for sticking to their principles.

    (And I’m a Lib Dem/ Labour battle person)

  • Andy Higson 7th Mar '08 - 8:57am

    ‘Is this the main reason for their revolt rather than a passionate desire for a referendum?’

    Hey! Maybe they think a manifesto promise is something worth sticking by! Just a thought.

  • David Roberts -so what?

    The point is not that the content may be similar, the point is about its effect.

    There is a big difference between the effect of introducing a Euro constitution – which by definition would be superior to national laws – and having a ‘normal’ treaty – which is subservient to national law (even if its deals with issues on a supranational basis).

    You might like to consider that Chipanzees share 99.4% of human DNA. Yet we don’t give them the vote, even if we allow them to post pro-Conservative comments on this website 😉

  • “We find that very roughly 70% of the Constitution consisted of sections from the two main treaties (mostly word for word the same), and that the Lisbon Treaty amendments (with some significant but relatively few exceptions) were actually in the Constitution.” (David Roberts).

    The real point is that we should never have offered a referendum on the “constitution” in the first place. It was never a constitution in any real sense and the Euro heirarchy in general should never have indulged Giscaird d’Estaing in his grandiose enterprise.

    We are a representative democracy and referendums should be very rarely employed. In/out of Europe, bits leaving the UK, setting up a republic – that sort of thing. Otherwise as in this case referendums are nearly always offered in order to avoid internal party difficulties.

    As far as the Lib Dems are concerned the referendum idea was put fortward several leaders ago. Nick should just have said -under my leadership no referendum even if it had been the original so-called “constitution”.

  • Passing Tory 7th Mar '08 - 1:32pm


    No. The in/out question is nopt a particularly sensible option.

    The “Europe question” is far more multidimensional than this. For instance, I think that a lot of people support the idea of the EU but do not support the way that it is being run.

    As far as I am concerned the question is not so much whether we should be in or out of Europe, but rather how we can try to develop a sensible EU. Currently there is a deifinite trend to centralise power at the EU level, and this is something that I would have thought that Lib Dems (with their emphasis on localism) should thoroughly agree with. Recently there was a debate about the Lib Dem lead initiative to ban patio heaters across the EU. I am afraid the current structure makes this sort of lunacy far too simple, and there are precious few democratic checks and balances.

    The reason that the yes/no to the Lisbon treaty is the correct referendum is that the question we should be addressing is not so much whether we should have an EU, but rather what sort of EU we should have; how it should be organised and run. This is precisely what both the constitution and the Lisbon treaty define (one in the form of an ammending treaty, the other by the consolidation of past treaties into a single document, but with the same endpoint). And so this is the point where there would be real value in having a referendum.

    The problem with an in out referendum is that you are confusing the questions of whether people want and EU, and whether they want to be part of the EU as currently constituted. Or to put it another way; there are horrible problems with the way the EU works currently and so a lot of people would be very wary of voting to support such a system.

  • There is a lot to agree with David Roberts as to over-centralising, complexity etc etc. I am sure the Lib Dem leadership would concur and I wish they would concentrate more on such issues rather than running scared of anti-europeans – glad to see DR is not one of those, by the way. Might even read his book!

    As to Passing Tory he or she is falling into this nonsense of thinking there is a great ideal Europe out there (ideal to Tories, Passing or otherwise I mean) and the UK just has to ratchet up the rhetoric and mess up a few treaties to bring us to this Shangri La.

    The truth is that to maintain the undoubted benefits of Europe we need to give and take. The only way to influence the real issues is to be in there pitching and to be recognised as “good Europeans” – to me a badge of honour despite the pressing need for improvements, including a real implementation of that invented word “subsidiarity”.

  • Passing Tory 7th Mar '08 - 7:02pm


    In a word, no. For several (somewhat unfortunate) reasons the UK is the country that a lot of others look to to provide a counter view to the more traditional Franco-German axis. Just going along and agreeing achieves nothing except perpetuate the status quo (which is generally seen to be very far from ideal).

    The point here is, I think, that constructive opposition should be seen as a good thing (whereas the Lib Dem position seems to be to try to portray the Tory position as negative). Just blindly saying yes to everything that comes out of Brussels does noone any favours.

    I am not claiming that we should aim to perfection, but there is a VERY large gap between where we are now and Shangri La which it is quite legitimate to want to move towards.

  • Elizabeth Patterson 7th Mar '08 - 7:17pm

    Over at the Norfolk blog some of the boys are getting quite hysterical about breaking promises.
    Let’s hope none of them are divorced; manifestos like marriage vows, deal with the honest intention at the time.
    In marriage we say that, other things being equal, it will be until death us do part.
    But circumstances change.
    So it is with a manifesto, and a referendum on a constitution is not the same as a referendum on something less; even a tiny bit less.

    I believe we have another example in the Labour pledge to give a vote on PR?
    Independence of the Bank of England was never in a labour manifesto. Brown simply announced it immediately after a general election.
    So why are the Norfolk boys getting themselves into such a paddy?
    The fact is that we couldn’t possibly have a referendum because it would be lost and
    we would be relegated to the back of the European class.
    It would be lost because the politically uneducated still have the hatreds lingering from centuries of wars in Europe; they still think in terms of Frogs and Krauts; and they are encouraged in this by our tabloid newspapers.

  • “It would be lost because the politically uneducated still have the hatreds lingering from centuries of wars in Europe; they still think in terms of Frogs and Krauts; and they are encouraged in this by our tabloid newspapers.”

    Elitist nonsense. Ordinary Brits do not feel they have any influence on and within the EU. EU supporters, including Lib-Dems, need to raise their game and start to genuinely represent the UK interest in better governance, improved transparency, less waste and corruption, etc. We’ve conceded all that territory to the EU haters and baiters.

  • OK, Passing Tory, we are now into that rarified region in the blogosphere – a constructive discussion.

    I do not think it is fair to accuse most Lib Dems of blindly saying yes to everything that comes out of Brussels. As I have already said I wish our leadership would make this clearer but it is definitely in the policy summaries for all to see.

    My point is that whatever reforms we want to see can only come about by wholehearted and constructive engagement in Europe at all levels. The current Tory leadership is doing the opposite – especially in leaving the top Conservative grouping containing the Angela Merkels of this world and desperately seeking pals among the right wing headbangers where even I will be generous enough to say most British Conservatives definitely do not belong.

    Can we not find some common ground there, PT?

  • Passing Tory 9th Mar '08 - 1:07am


    I am quite familiar with the Lib Dem policy documents on the EU and in many senses there should be common ground. However, note that it is Cameron who is saying we should stay in the EU but we need to look carefully at the current way of doing things (which is very close to how I understand the official Lib Dem position), and the Lib Dems who are banging on about an in/out referendum (and desperately trying to misrepresent the Tory position).

    What gets lost in all of this is the actual way that the EU functions. Now, we can have a detailed debate about the “constitutional” nature of the Lisbon treaty but what I think we should all agree on is that the Lisbon Treaty looks to set the rules by which the EU works (both in terms of the functional details and, maybe more importantly, in terms of aspirations). The fact that because the EU doesn’t official exist as an independent institution (and therefore can’t legally have a constitution) doesn’t fool many people who see that in reality the EU functions as a distinct instition with its own political momentum and a set of rules by which it operates.

    The single reason I think that most people object to the EU is not because they are little Englanders, but because they see a EU proto-institution that contains FAR less democratic accountability than they are used to in the UK system. The Lib Dems may support localism (or “decision making at the appropriate level, usually … the lowest …”) but the current EU does NOT implement this.

    There also seems to be very little recognition by the Lib Dems that many see opposing the Lisbon Treaty as a constructive move towards an EU that better represtents the democratic ideal. Instead party politics has taken over and we see all sorts of silly games and name calling. I think it is a real pity, and an enormous missed opportunity.

  • Passing Tory 9th Mar '08 - 1:24am

    Sorry, I should add that where legitimate differences do exist (in terms of vision for the EU) merely cuddling up to major parties who have strong and non-negotiable visions for the EU is not particularly useful. You end up playing the role of the useful idiot. It is far better, and more honest, to campaign for an alternative vision and I strongly hope that we are able to put together a strong group that can promote free trade, individual freedom and poltical comradeship within a collection of distinct sovereign states. The EPP in its current form fails distinctly on this last point.

  • Thanks PT. I cannot agree about ignoring the Angela Merkels of this world and running around looking for the least unacceptable of what I persist in calling largely headbangers.

    Yes let’s seek reform and improvement in the EU – I agree not everyone opposing this or that Treaty is lost to the basic idea,indeed necessity,of an effective and answerable supranational body which the EU at its best could be.

    But the hope that this can be done by attempting to bypass the real power centres of Europe, many of whom can show us a thing or two about running complex and successful economies, sorry PT that is strictly for the birds.

  • Passing Tory: haven’t you passed yet?

  • Passing Tory 9th Mar '08 - 5:32pm

    I am (literally) passing by 🙂

    But I assume that you are saying that the Lib Dems should join the EPP to jump into bed with Angela Merkel? Or do you only apply your arguments to people you want to see disagreement with?

  • Come on PT, I thought we were having a constructive debate.

    Any nursery primer will tell you that the UK Conservatives should work inside the main Conservative grouping. The Lib Dems should (and do) work inside the main Liberal Democratic grouping.

    If this is really the best you can do in defending Tory antics in Europe well………

  • passing tory 9th Mar '08 - 9:28pm


    I am always on for a debates that attempt to be constructive, but the problem here is that I fundamentally disagree with your “nursery primer” axiom. It is always nice to work from within the system, but I find it quite staggering that you think that people should not stand up for what they believe from time to time. It seems quite clear to me that attempting to work within the EPP has not had much impact so it seems to me to be entirely realistic to look to form a new group which looks to address the central aggregation of power that the bulk of the EPP seems more than happy to go along with.

    It seems to me that you are basically saying that anyone who has an alternative vision should just shut up, which is a viewpoint I find rather concerning (and not a little naive).

  • I’ve made my point. I now sign off.

  • I wondered why this came up…

    So Passing Tory is saying that the Tories are no longer conservative, which will explain why their election results were such an improvement.

    I see trouble ahead (for them).

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