Tony Benn, influential Labour eurosceptic, supports Ed Miliband
The Labour amendment to change the date of the AV referendum and in effect ensure it fails, is expected to pass with the support of Conservative backbench MPs. In this game of political musical chairs, brought on by the coalition, the supposed leaders of the coalition are finding themselves increasingly unable to enforce their agreed terms on their own party memberships.
The Lib Dems are seeing a collapse in their numbers of supporters. The Conservatives and Labour are seeing rising levels of support in polls, and politics is rapidly polarising once more into a two way battle.
Who knows which direction the Labour will head in, but it is becoming clear that Cameron’s right wing, his back bench MPs are willing to commit acts of rebellion in support of their beliefs, as the AV battle demonstrates.
Short of the Lib Dems withdrawing from the coalition in disarray, leaving Cameron short of a working majority, forcing another election, one wonders if this latest development, of Labour left working in league with Tory right, might repeat. If Labour MPs start to return to their former pre-Blair euroscepticism and challenge Cameron on a European issue, they might well get support from the Conservative backbench rightwing.
David Miliband is solidly sold out to the EU, signing the Lisbon Treaty as Foreign Secretary. His brother Ed is possibly the same, but appears more nuanced. As a key economic adviser to The Treasury and to Gordon Brown, he can hardly have been in favour of the Euro. He also enjoys the strong support of one Tony Benn, who was not known for his love of the EU.
If he wanted to differentiate himself from his brother, Blair and Brown, the abandonment of total euro-devotion would be one way he could do that. It would be a fine scene to find Labour dividing the Conservatives over Europe, but from the sceptic side of the debate.
The Conservative right wing is not especially happy with the coalition. If Labour threw them a chance to join forces to challenge or quit the EU, I would imagine they’d go for it, and rebel. In shot, John Redwood, Dan Kawzynski and two others not known by me. Commenters might inform?
People might remember that it was not a Conservative government that decided to fight Hitler. They wanted to parley with Mussolini. It was Churchill’s faction in combination with Labour who decided that Britain had to fight. When Britain’s left and right join together, we are at our strongest and most dangerous, or as some would say, at our best. It is not inconceivable that the same elements, tired of ultra-centrist politics, will ally once again, and bring about revolutionary change in our international relations, and in our society.
Paul Waugh sees Ed Miliband’s campaign gradually overtaking his brother’s.
Conservative Whips are getting edgy at rebelliousness of new MPs. Conservativehome.