It’s on the BBC, it must be true

Michael White on the Today Programme, 25 July:

This government early on got a reputation for having very craven backbenchers. It was never true at the beginning but it’s got more so, quite assertive. Figures here from a Guardian leader [and where do you think they got them from?!]. More than one in four votes there are rebels, 112 Labour backbenchers broke with the government at least once.

And there is this genius of a sort of anorak, called Dr Phil Cowley, I want to pay tribute to this man on the radio, Nottingham University. You’re sitting there typing about a revolt late at night and up pops an email, which says this is the 33rd worst Labour rebellion on a wet Wednesday since 1946. And it’s made us all much more aware that they do vote against the government a lot, even though there’s a core of loyalists, and a core of disloyalists, of course, the Campaign Group, 25 often vote against the government a lot. The rest is a mixed bag. They follow the government on issues. They don’t like 90 day detention for terrorism, so they beat them down to 28. Quite active, quite impressive on a lot of issues.

We couldn’t have put it better ourselves! More praise, here.