Baroness Williams of Crosby and former leader of the LibDems in the House of Lords, had threatened to resign and rejoin the Labour Party, unless Ming Campbell likewise abandoned the dangerous policy of giving the British people a vote on the Lisbon treaty.Shirley Williams has a letter in The Times today denying that there is any truth in the story.
The artificial and insincere idea of offering us instead a vote on 'in or out of the EU' was Ming Campbell's way of wriggling out of the Liberal Democrats' commitment to a vote on the amended constitutional treaty without making the party look "undemocratic".
So why were we saddled with this absurd policy?
Again writing a couple of weeks ago, Nick Robinson thinks he knows. Writing of Nick Clegg's decision to impose a three-line whip to force Lib Dem MPs to abstain on the vote on a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, Robinson says:
Worse than that, the bulk of the Lib Dem MPs would have been led through the Aye lobby by Vince Cable, the media's favourite Liberal Democrat and the whispering about the leadership would have started all over again.
So why did he order his MPs to sit on their hands, to vote neither yes nor no in this week’s referendum vote in the Commons? That is the question being asked not least by those heading today to the Lib Dem spring conference in Liverpool.
The answer is that he feared something much worse. Given a free vote, a vast majority of his MPs – some suggest as many as 50 - would have voted with the Tories to try and force a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty and to defeat the government.
The problem is that a number of key figures would have refused to join them. The former leader Charles Kennedy, the man Nick Clegg narrowly beat, Chris Huhne and above all, Mr Clegg himself.
Support for the European project used to be the policy which proved the modernity and continued releveance of the old Liberal Party at a time when everyone else was making unkind jokes about telephone boxes and bar stools.
Today, our unconditional support for that project is beginning to have a tinge of nostalgia about it. Nick Clegg's appeal is that he seems prepared to challenge some of the party's sacred cows, such as support for the producer interest in public services.
Is he also prepared to do so on Europe?
We shall see.