— Nick Sutton (@suttonnick) August 30, 2013
Looking at those front pages, it doesn’t make for pleasant reading for David Cameron today.
Defeat in Thursday night’s parliamentary vote on the principle of military action in Syria is not an existential wound for David Cameron, whatever his more excitable enemies say. But, after several months of good form, the prime minister looks weaker than at any time since taking office more than three years ago. Failing to win over Liberal Democrat MPs in his coalition government is one thing. Being defied by his own Tories is quite another. Prime ministers are simply not supposed to lose House of Commons votes on major matters of foreign policy.
The main losers (from the Conservative party) from last night, apart from Dave, are
1) Sir George Young – Last night was not a good night for the Whips office as they failed to spot the size of the rebellion, and as Chief Whip he will have to take the blame for the worst bit of whipping since Hilary Armstrong lost Tony Blair a crucial vote despite having a notional majority on hand within the Palace of Westminster, a new Chief Whip seems likely in the reshuffle
2) Justine Greening – She missed the vote, and was nearly reshuffled out of the cabinet last time, her actions won’t endear her further to David Cameron, she’s 7/1 as next out, in a reshuffle the dead heat rules apply
3) Michael Gove leadership ambitions, such as they were, took a hit when he yelled “You’re a disgrace” to Tory MPs who voted against the Government. Michael, remember those are the people who are going to vote in the Leadership election you’re planning to stand in. His wife’s tweets didn’t help the situation either.
4) William Hague, has seen his odds tumble as next out of the cabinet from 20/1 yesterday to 6/1 now, which makes him the new favourite, a sign of his poor performance in convincing the parliamentary party to back his and the PM’s approach to Syria. He’s now unlikely to be the next Tory Leader if Dave fell under a bus as I and others have speculated in the past.
A few months ago, it was reported that Conservative rebels had the 46 signatures to trigger a vote of no confidence in David Cameron, but were biding their time.
For the anti-Cameroon wing of the Tory party, this maybe the optimal time to strike against a weakened Cameron. His authority is diminished, and like virginity, once authority is gone, it is very hard to get it back.
The last two Conservative leaders to be deposed, Margaret Thatcher and IDS were both deposed weeks after the Tory Party Conference.
Clegg is aware how dangerous conference can be for a Lib Dem leader as Sir Menzies Campbell (and his wife will confirm)
Given that the Lib Dem Party President, Tim Farron abstained on the vote last night, is he on manoeuvres? The price has tightened on Tim Farron leading LDs at 2015 General Election from 6/1 to 5/1
Nigel Farage has also had a good non-war. He can point out whilst the other three parties have at various stages not ruled military action, he could gain support from those conservatives who were opposed to military action in Syria, UKIP’s decline in the polls since May could be reversed now.
The SNP/Yes to Scottish Independence side could have taken a minor blow as well last night, as they’ve said in the past, one of the most compelling reasons for Scottish independence is that we will never again have a UK Government take us into an illegal war that we want nothing whatever to do with.
Last night’s vote proved it is possible to be part of the Union and still not be involved in “illegal wars that we want nothing whatever to do with.”
For Ed Miliband there are a lot of positives, he has turned the weak meme around 180 degrees and it is David Cameron that now looks weak, and Ed has also helped deal with Labour’s legacy on Iraq.
There are risks for Ed Miliband as well, as Antifrank posted on the previous thread
Last night’s vote was a crushing blow to David Cameron’s authority. He’s seriously weakened as a result.
But Ed Miliband needs to pray that the Syrian government doesn’t commit any more atrocities. Because David Cameron is going to lay them all at his door from now on.
Politicians are at their most vulnerable when they aren’t in control of events, and Ed Miliband is relying on President Assad and the Syrian Government not to commit any more atrocities. That is not the ideal situation for Ed or Labour.
But there’s one other thing that needs to be considered, we could still partake in military action against Syria….