26 September 2011

Andrew George, Libdem MP for St Ives, recently said that altogether “two thirds” of what he called “unfettered” Liberal Democrat MPs rebelled against the Health and social care bill (the health bill) in various votes on it.

Let me suggest another way of looking at this.

The official record of the make-your-mind-up final vote, the third reading vote, in the Commons reveals the shame of the Libdem party (Hansard 7 September 2011 column 497).

There are 57 Libdem MPs and 41 of them supported the health bill on third reading (40 votes for and a teller).

How many of the 57 voted against? Get your heavy duty calculator out. Are you ready for this? Okay? Four. Yes, that’s right, just four. Let me repeat that. How many Libdem MPs voted against the health bill at third reading? Four and only one of them from a Cornwall seat, namely Andrew George to his credit. There were also abstentions.

George has also now described what happened as “my almost sole rebellion against the health bill” which suggests the cold and cruel reality of four has trumped two thirds.

It’s been a joint Conservative Liberal Democrat bill from the start; indeed, the bill passed in the Commons only because Liberal Democrats voted for it; it would have failed had that forty one voted against. They’re up to their armpits in it.

None of this is a surprise. The coalition Liberal Democrats have supported every reactionary measure the Tories have introduced and only a progressive handful have dissented in vain. Truly the orange poodle party.

The extant and details of the rebellion by Libdem MPs on third reading is set out on the Public Whip and the Social Liberal Forum.