Isabel Hardman Isabel Hardman

European Arrest Warrant rebellion shrinks after Cameron pledges pre-Rochester vote

Why did David Cameron set the vote for the European Arrest Warrant for before the Rochester and Strood by-election? It seems to be a way of picking a right-wing sore just at the wrong time.

Perhaps he felt bounced into doing it at Prime Minister’s Questions. But those involved in the rebellion think it could also be an effective way to quell a sizeable revolt by reminding Tory MPs that being disloyal before the by-election would be a good way to help Mark Reckless win the seat. The rebellion seems, according to some insiders, be shrinking. Others think that given most Tory MPs seem resigned to losing Rochester anyway, it doesn’t really matter when the vote is held. Holding it after a loss would mean MPs were angry and felt they had even less to lose.

The mood in the Tory party has really plummeted over the past week or so. Where previously MPs were upbeat that they could exact vengeance on Mark Reckless by leaving him without a seat and winning back Rochester, they now seem miserable after two polls showing Ukip ahead and local activists rather pessimistic too. There will still be many furious with Cameron for defending the European Arrest Warrant at Prime Minister’s Questions, but it doesn’t seem that they’ll blame him for losing Rochester by holding the vote beforehand, as they already assume the constituency is lost, vote or not.

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