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Thursday 20th October 2011 | 09:09
Looks like the Tory rebellion keeps on growing.
Today's Order Paper (or rather its Future Business section HERE) shows that the number of Conservative MPs who have signed up to the Nuttall motion on referendums has increased from 46 to (by my count) 60. Thanks to Labour and DUP signatures, the total backing Nuttall now stands at 76.
Among the new Tory names are old hands like John Whittingdale, Patrick Mercer and John Baron. But more worrying for No.10 will be the new intake on the list overnight: Matthew Offord, Caroline Nokes, Justin Tomlinson, Mike Weatherley, Sarah Wollaston, Andrew Bingham, Nick de Bois, Chris Kelly, David Mowat, Stephen Mosley and Sheryl Murray (apols i didn't count her at first).
Mark Prichard was on Today insisting that he would defy the 3-line whip on Monday because he would put country first, party second, "career last".
Still, there look like being a few Tories whose careers could benefit. Let's see just who will put forward an amendment to the Nuttall motion that is in line with Government policy. They may see career advancement but could well win the 'Lickspittle of the Month' award from Eurosceptic colleagues.
William Hague wants to join the PM in leading from the front on Monday. I also hear that Nick Clegg played a part in the decision to bring the debate forward from Thursday.
Clegg was not going to be abroad like the PM and Foreign Sec, but he did have other engagements that clashed with the Nuttall debate. He too will now attend the key debate - not least to underline that the Coalition Agreement has its own red lines on Europe...
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