Sobering Maths for Dave

Given that the newspapers went to print before the votes had been cast, we’ll start with a little number crunching. Out of the assorted 111 votes for the motion last night, 81 were Tory and 19 were Labour. One LibDem – Adrian Sanders – stuck to his manifesto commitment and voted for a referendum. A further 15 Tories abstained, meaning over half of the parliamentary party that are not in government actively defied the leadership. When the message was being spread that even the Chief Whip was a little bemused by the insistence of a Three Line attendance, it was clear this was going to be a bloody nose for Cameron.

Though such a measure is only being joked about for now, it’s worth refreshing the memory of how easy it is to get rid of a Tory leader. 15% of the parliamentary party have to write to the Chairman of the 1922 Committee to trigger a vote. The 96 rebels and abstainers last night make up 31%. Is Cameron confident he would get 50%+1 to avoid a run off?

Probably, for now…


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