Coalition hits 150 rebellions

The last two days have seen three Liberal Democrat rebellions on the Coalition’s troubled Health and Social Care Bill, involving a total of eleven Lib Dem MPs. Yesterday, ten Lib Dem MPs backed a Labour amendment that would have ensured that the Secretary of State would be responsible for the provision of health services. The amendment was defeated by 304 votes to 255, but the rebellion had the effect of reducing the Coalition’s majority to 49.
Four Liberal Democrat MPs went on to oppose the Third Reading of the Bill, while Stephen Gilbert cast a deliberate abstention by voting in both lobbies. The previous day three Lib Dem MPs backed a Labour amendment in the name of Emily Thornberry that would have deleted Clause 168 of the Bill, which abolishes the cap on the number of private patients who can be treated in foundation trust hospitals. The Coalition’s considerable concessions in the last few months have helped to buy off many but by no means all the Lib Dem rebels.
These latest examples of Liberal Democrat dissent have helped bring up another Coalition milestone: the number of Coalition Commons rebellions so far this Parliament now stands at 150, a rebellion rate of a rebellion in 44% of votes. Sixty-six of these rebellions have involved Liberal Democrat MPs, a rate of a rebellion in 19% of votes.