In Britain, the coalition government’s House of Lords reform bill appears doomed after 91 Conservative MPs defied the party whip to vote against it. The presence of the dissenting Tories also forced David Cameron to withdraw a motion that would have set a limit on debate of the bill.
The coalition is now entering one of its most difficult phases as Tory MPs question the prime minister’s authority. A central tactic by Downing Street – to delay a ministerial reshuffle to persuade aspiring MPs to support the government – backfired as loyalists joined the rebels who numbered close to 100. “There was strength in numbers,” one senior MP said. “But they were brave.”