Will tonight’s vote be career-defining for some?
Imagine you are an ambitious young Tory MP keen to make your mark in the world of politics and very eager to get a step on the ministerial ladder. What do you do about tonight’s vote?
Do you decide to support the referendum move in the knowledge that this could possibly undermine your chances of preferment and leave you on the back benches.
Or do you support the official line which could make it harder winning the support of Tory activists when candidates are being chosen for the new seats following the boundary changes.
It’s not an easy choice for you know that what you do will be recorded and remembered for, perhaps, years to come.
It’s here that party’s Westminster machine has great influence and, no doubt, William Hague, in his speech will provide a host of reasons to make it easier for MPs to vote with the government.
This evening we’ll hear a lot of the “Doctrine of unripe time” – while you might support something you’ve been persuaded that the time is not ripe for this move to go forward.
Downing Street is putting it about that there’ll by 85 rebels – that sounds a bit like expectation management.
Have a good evening PBers.