9 May 2005


Just to back up my point about the decline of Labour’s backbench rebel army, I’ve had a quick once through my clippings to identify the MPs who on previous performance are most likely to take an anti-government line over the European constitution – the most important issue facing the government in the next 18 months (assuming France votes yes). And by my reckoning the Europhobe rump in the parliamentary Labour Party now has only 29 members:
Diane Abbott (Hackney North and Stoke Newington); Ronnie Campbell (Blyth Valley); Colin Challen (Morley and Rothwell); Michael Clapham (Barnsley West and Penistone); Harry Cohen (Leyton and Wanstead); Frank Cook (Stockton North); Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North); Jim Cousins (Newcastle upon Tyne Central); Jon Cruddas (Dagenham); Ann Cryer (Keighley); John Cummings (Easington); Ian Davidson (Glasgow South West); David Drew (Stroud); Gwynneth Dunwoody (Crewe and Nantwich); Bill Etherington (Sunderland North) ; Frank Field (Birkenhead); Mark Fisher (Stoke-on-Trent Central); Dr Ian Gibson (Norwich North); Roger Godsiff (Birmingham Sparkbrook and Small Heath); Tom Harris (Glasgow South); Kate Hoey (Vauxhall); Kelvin Hopkins (Luton North); John McDonnell (Hayes and Harlington); Austin Mitchell (Great Grimsby); Alan Simpson (Nottingham South); Dennis Skinner (Bolsover); David Taylor (Leicestershire North West); Alan Williams (Swansea West); and Mike Wood (Batley and Spen).
Even if I’ve missed a couple – I don’t know the views of all new Labour MPs – that’s not enough to deny the government a majority even if Labour’s anti-Europeans team up with every single MP from the opposition. Compare and contrast with John Major after 1992.

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