Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Clegg wins it for the Gurkhas

The Commons is still reeling this evening from the shock defeat of the government on a Lib Dem motion, voting by a majority of 27 to allow all retired Gurkhas to settle in the UK.

The result was 267 votes to 246 with the Tories backing a Lib Dem motion along with 27 rebel Labour MPs. This is a huge victory for Nick Clegg, the first time a Lib Dem motion has won a vote since the Lib Dems emerged from the old Liberal party, I'm told.

However the vote is symbolic and will not automatically change government policy, although the Home Office may now find it impossible to resist demands for a radical rethink.

Phil Woolas, the Immigration Minister is due to give a statement to the House later tonight, after the Sri Lanka debate and the statement by Alan Johnson on Swine Flu.

It's all go down here, you know. I've had my head wrapped around "Afpak", the new pejoritive term for the Afghan-Pakistani tribal regions all day so haven't had much of a look in.

I sat in for Prime Minister's Questions though which was one miserable minute after another for Gordon Brown. Really it was Nick Clegg's day, he tore into the Prime Minister over his "evasive" answers on the Gurkha campaign.

"What kind of an answer was that?," demanded Clegg. "It is the answer of a man who seems to know he is doing a shameful thing but has not got the guts to admit it or change it. It is the answer of a Government that has no principles and no courage."

Now, after the chilling sight of David Cameron and Nick Clegg celebrating together outside parliament, Brown is facing the possibility of the government losing the vote on expenses reform tomorrow.

He has already been forced to put on hold his plans to award them a daily allowance for attending parliament and no Labour backbencher I've spoken to is happy about voting for them.
There has just been a meeting of the Scottish parliamentary Labour party with the Prime Minister. The message we're getting was that the message to them was don't be distracted, stick to the big themes. Er, like Post Office part-privatisation?

No Scottish Labour rebels among those who voted against the government though we haven't worked out abstentions yet.

A total of 27 Labour MPs, including Keith Vaz and former Cabinet minister Andrew Smith voted for the Liberal Democrat motion. They were:
Diane Abbott (Hackney North & Stoke Newington), Ian Cawsey (Brigg & Goole), Harry Cohen (Leyton & Wanstead), Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North), Paul Farrelly (Newcastle-under-Lyme), Mark Fisher (Stoke-on-Trent Central), Neil Gerrard (Walthamstow), Kate Hoey (Vauxhall), Kelvin Hopkins (Luton North), Joan Humble (Blackpool North & Fleetwood), Glenda Jackson (Hampstead & Highgate), John McDonnell (Hayes & Harlington), Shona McIsaac (Cleethorpes), Andrew Mackinlay (Thurrock), Gordon Marsden (Blackpool South), Bob Marshall-Andrews (Medway), Julie Morgan (Cardiff North), Dr Nick Palmer (Broxtowe), Stephen Pound (Ealing North), Nick Raynsford (Greenwich & Woolwich), Andy Reed (Loughborough), Linda Riordan (Halifax), Alan Simpson (Nottingham South), Andrew Smith (Oxford East), Paul Truswell (Pudsey), Keith Vaz (Leicester East), Mike Wood (Batley & Spen)

1 comment:

  1. well done andy reed.........your a credit to the nation