Breitbart reports that Great Britain’s Prime Minister suffered the largest party defection ever on a European Union issue, with 80 (or 81; official numbers forthcoming soon) members of the Conservative Party abstaining or voting against the postponement of a national referendum.
The defections came despite a “three-line whip,” an instruction that party members must vote in accordance with the party leader’s desire. Such disobedience normally results in some form of party discipline. Already there is some fallout:
Adam Holloway, Member of Parliament (MP) for Gravesham, resigned as aide to the Europe Minister. Stewart Jackson, MP for Peterborough, was sacked from his parliamentary private secretary position after voting against the postponement.
The Daily Mail quotes Holloway as saying “During the last parliament, all three parties promised a referendum on Europe. Apparently 67 per cent of those polled by YouGov this weekend want their MP to vote in favour of this very unspecific, unbinding back-bench motion.”
Cameron is adamant that now is not the time for such a referendum, saying “When your neighbour’s house is on fire, your first impulse should be to help him put out the flames – not least to stop the flames reaching your own house.”
The reference is to the Eurozone crisis and the attempt by EU members to find a solution to the financial problems of Greece now and Portugal, Spain, Italy, and Ireland subsequently.