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Tory MPs rebel over infected blood vote

(Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

It’s another bad day for Rishi Sunak. Hours after the Prime Minister discovered that he is polling worse than his short-lived predecessor Liz Truss and losing supporters to Nigel Farage’s Reform party, he has tonight had to confront a Tory rebellion. The sliver of good news for Sunak is that it has turned out to be a smaller mutiny than first thought.

23 Tory rebels, including former Welsh secretary Sir Robert Buckland, joined forces with the opposition this evening to support a Labour amendment to the Victim and Prisoners Bill – a little less than the 31 MPs who had signed the amendment before the vote. The matter concerns the contaminated blood scandal of the 70s and 80s, where tens of thousands of patients were given infected blood products. The Labour amendment to the bill, brought forward by Home Affairs Committee chair Diana Johnson, seeks to create a new body to help compensate those affected. It was agreed by 246 ayes to 242 noes.

The vote comes after shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves warned her opposite number Jeremy Hunt at the weekend that Labour would back the proposal, writing that: ‘For the victims, time matters. It is estimated that every four days, someone affected by infected blood dies.’ But despite this, the government said it wouldn’t be supporting the amendment.

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer was sent out on the airwaves this morning defending the government’s decision – yet it wasn’t quite enough to convince everyone in her party. The small insurgence follows a weekend of negative briefings against a Prime Minister struggling to hold his party together over immigration – and tonight’s mutiny highlights the cracks elsewhere.  

Might this backbench rebellion be the first of many? Well, Mr S is certain of one thing: you won’t see the Conservatives playing happy families anytime soon…

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Steerpike
Written by
Steerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to steerpike@spectator.co.uk or message @MrSteerpike

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