Source: Daily Telegraph 14th November 2014
In July 2012 91 Conservative MPs voted against Lords reform, defying a three-line whip and kiboshing Nick Clegg’s dream of reform to the upper chamber.
A furious David Cameron was reported to have confronted the leader of the rebellion, Jesse Norman MP, just outside the House of Commons division lobbies late on the night of the vote as it became clear that normally loyal Tory MPs were determined to register their opposition.
In August 2013 vote for British air strikes in Syria was defeated in a Commons vote after a rebellion of 31 Tory backbenchers and opposition from the Labour Party.
MPs complained that Britain’s mission in Syria was not clear: was it simply to destroy the regime’s stockpiles of chemical weapons; or to weaken the regime enough to swing the civil war in the rebels’ favour; or to simply send a message that the world would not tolerate chemical weapons attacks? And after that, what? Many asked whether this really had to be Britain’s fight.
It damaged Mr Cameron and made him more cautious over such votes in the future. A key reason British airstrikes against ISIS are now limited to Iraq not Syria is because the Prime Minister was not willing to risk losing again.
On 31 October 2012 Mark Reckless, the Conservative MP who has since defected to Ukip was credited with masterminding the coalition’s first Commons defeat leading 53 Tory rebels to join with Labour to back a motion demanding a real terms cut in the European Union budget.
The vote came as an embarrassment to David Cameron on the eve of crucial talks in Brussels but the Prime Minister has since negotiated the first real-terms cut in the EU budget.
The Prime Minister suffered one of his biggest rebellions over gay marriage with 134 of his MPs voting against in May last year.
Mr Cameron was in the Commons to hear that the bill had passed by 366 to 161 and despite the rebellion there was applause in the House when the result was announced.
Afterwards Mr Cameron said that there were “young boys in schools today who are gay” who will “stand a little bit taller today and I am proud of the fact that that has happened.”
Nicky Morgan, the Education Secretary and equalities minister, voted against the move but has since said she has changed her mind and would back it if voting again.
In October 2011 a total 79 of his MPs voted for a Commons motion calling for a referendum on Britain’s relationship with the EU, even though Mr Cameron had ordered his party to oppose it. Two tellers indicated they supported the motion.
In the vote another two Tories voted yes and no, the traditional way of registering an abstention. A further 12 did not vote.
MPs voting against Mr Cameron in such numbers meant that about half of all Conservatives outside the “payroll vote” of ministers and their aides scorned Mr Cameron’s authority.
European referendum, again
In this symbolic expression of deep unease with the Coalition’s European policy, 114 Conservative MPs, including ministerial aides, backed an amendment regretting the omission of a referendum law.
Mr Cameron has promised to hold a referendum by 2017 but many of his MPs say his promise is not enough and only a law will persuade voters that the referendum will happen.
The vote which was believed to be the first time since 1946 that members of a governing party have voted against a Queen’s Speech, and reflected deep Conservative unhappiness with Mr Cameron’s coalition deal with the Liberal Democrats and concern over the inexorable rise of Ukip.
In February 2014 the Prime Minister was faced with a 86-strong rebellion on an amendment to the Immigration Bill.
The amendment, crafted by Dominic Raab, a Eurosceptic Tory rising star, sought to make it easier to deport foreign criminals who claim a right to a family life as protection under the European Convention on Human Rights.
Theresa May said that the amendment would be illegal, but the Tory front bench abstained. In the end the Prime Minister was saved the embarrassment of defeat although he was forced to rely on Labour and Lib Dem votes to quash it.
The worst offenders
Philip Hollobone is top rebel, ignoring party orders 129 times, followed by David Nuttall on 88, Philip Davies on 85 and Peter Bone on 68.