Posts Tagged ‘narrow majority’

Parliamentary notebook: Cameron’s wafer-thin majority belies the Tories’ Queens Speech triumphalism

27/05/2015, 07:00:08 AM

by Jonathan Ashworth

Today, us MPs will be summoned to the other place to hear Her Majesty’s Gracious Address, the first Queen’s speech by a majority Conservative government for almost 19 years.

Later, in the Commons, jubilant Tory MPs will wave their order papers and cheer the returning triumphant prime minister Cameron to the rafters. His every (lame) gag will be met with guffaws as if he’s now the Tory answer to Peter Kay. Every snide put-down of an opponent will be met with much whooping and exaggerated slapping of thighs.

As the prime minister exits the chamber and heads for his customary glass of claret in the members’ dining room, ambitious Tory MPs will queue up to shake his hand. And let’s face it, given the scale of our defeat who can blame them?

But although our defeat in the country was resounding the parliamentary arithmetic that has consequently been thrown up offers even the most pessimistic Labour Uncut correspondent some hope.

Five years ago when Harriet Harman spoke for the opposition in the Queen’s speech debate she faced government benches with a working majority of 83. Today she will be opposite government benches with a working majority of just 16.

In the last Parliament, government MPs rebelled in 35 per cent of divisions. In those votes where the opposition defeated the government we won often because Tory MPs – many of whom have just been re-elected to the Commons – routinely voted against their own side.


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