Did the Chief Whip Help Grieve Get His Votes?

One theory doing the rounds among Brexiteers this morning is that the whips engineered the loss of the Grieve amendment – it is notable that 25 Tory MPs voted for it compared to just two on the other two amendments. Chief whip Julian Smith, according to one Tory MP, had a smile on his face when the amendment passed and the whips did little or nothing to pressure MPs regarding it. Is this a Machiavellian tool to encourage Brexiteers to back May’s deal?

Look at it from the the Remain-backing chief whip’s point of view – while it has no more force of law than a debate at the Oxford Union, it does give the whips an opportunity to frighten Tory MPs, “look old boy if you don’t fall into line, Grieve’s lot will force us into a second referendum or, worse still, a general election”.  These are febrile times, nothing would surprise Guido…

Tory MPs Put On Three Line Whip For Tuesday Afternoon

Chief whip Julian Smith has just emailed Tory MPs putting them on a three line whip for Tuesday afternoon. No explanation has been given.

Dear colleague

Please be advised that the whip on Tuesday will now be a three-line whip from 12:30pm. All colleagues should be on the estate and available. 

Many thanks for your cooperation.

Julian

Sajid Javid’s Commons debate on anti-Semitism is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon. Unless the PM now thinks she has the numbers for a retrospective vote on Syria…

UPDATE: Senior government source says “no change in our position” but a second government source says they are planning for a retrospective vote on Syria.

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