As predicted earlier, the Lib Dem leadership has just suffered an embarrassing defeat on the conference floor this afternoon on a grassroots motion on the Justice and Security Bill. The wrecking amendment which removed the call for parliamentarians to defeat the legislation received just a smattering of votes, and the overall motion was carried unamended.
During the course of the debate, the amendment received support on stage from Julian Huppert, Alistair Carmichael and Tom Brake. That MPs were turning up to oppose the party’s grassroots is not a good sign: remember that the pause in the Health and Social Care Bill came about because of a groundswell of anger within the Lib Dem membership that those in Parliament did not pick up on until much later. MPs and peers will return to Westminster after the conference recess with their own party expecting them to rebel on government business.