So Number 10 has yielded and decided to stave off the Queen’s Speech rebellion by accepting the rebel amendment to it, thereby stopping the first defeat of a government on its legislative programme since 1924. A spokesman said: ‘As we’ve said all along, there is no threat to the NHS from TTIP. So if this amendment is selected, we’ll accept it.’
So job done, rebellion gone. But it is still a bloody nose for the government from eurosceptics, who are forcing the Prime Minister and the rest of the executive to support something that regrets that they failed to table a bill exempting the NHS from something they have been insisting for over a year is already exempt from the trade agreement. It shows how bad relations have become in the Tory party that its MPs are prepared to engineer this sort of situation.
This is embarrassing, bend-over-backwards politics. But it’s still better than being defeated on your legislative programme.