Two doesn’t make a trend, but yesterday (Monday, 11 January) saw the Conservative frontbench oppose the principle of Government legislation for the second time this year. As we reported in our recent briefing paper (pdf), the Conservatives only opposed four bills in the whole of the last session.
The latest Conservative frontbench reasoned amendment – declining to support the Children, Schools and Families Bill – also attracted three Labour rebels: Jeremy Corbyn, David Drew and John McDonnell. Small fry, but some Labour MPs, including Kate Hoey (who abstained on Second Reading), also expressed concerns over the Government’s plans to regulate home education. Those plans – outlined in the Badman Report – have also been opposed in a large number of petitions presented to the House by Conservative MPs. The Government also intends to make personal, social and health education (PSHE) (‘sex education’ to you and me) compulsory, which we suspect may also provoke a rebellions from socially conservative Labour MPs worried about introducing sex education into Church and faith schools should the Bill make it to Report stage before the general election.