James Forsyth

Rebels ‘owe’ David Cameron their support

Rebels 'owe' David Cameron their support
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I bumped into a Tory MP earlier who one might have expected to be rebelling tonight. But he told me he was, reluctantly voting for the AV bill, because “I owe him [David Cameron] this.” His logic was that Cameron had come to the parliamentary party and told them he was going to offer the Lib Dems this so the party was honour-bound to vote it through.

This argument has resonance with Tory MPs. The only thing that limits its appeal is a feeling that Cameron might not have been entirely straight with them about why he had to offer the Lib Dems AV.

I expect tonight’s rebellion to be relatively small, 10 to 12 according to those on the backbenches who should know. But the real drama will start in the committee stage when all sorts of amendments are put down.