Monday, May 13, 2013

Conservative backbenchers are scribbling on the constitution

I have just watched Jacob Rees-Mogg trying to defend the absurdity of Conservative backbenchers voting to amend their own government's Queen's speech.

But then respect for the constitution, which used to be a hallmark of Conservatism, has pretty much been thrown out of the window. Forget Burke and representative democracy: the reaction of modern Conservative MPs when they find themselves part of a minority in the Commons, is to demand a referendum.

The latest example, reports the Guardian, is over the Coalition's plans to bring in equal marriage.

Political Animal reminded us on Twitter earlier today that Margaret Thatcher once quoted with approval Clement Attlee's argument that the referendums "a device of dictators and demagogues". He was right and so was she.

Tory backbenchers opposed AV and the reform of the Lords (even though the latter was in their own manifesto), but they are quite ready to trash the constitution if they think it is to their advantage.

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