How do MPs behave when faced with a coalition government? For all that behaviour in the House of Commons has changed over the post-war era – with MPs becoming more rebellious and less willing to be lobby fodder – there has been one constant: rebellion has remained the exception, cohesion the norm. Whilst the exact rate of rebellion has varied from year to year and parliament to parliament, the majority of divisions (votes) in the Commons have seen complete unity amongst government backbenchers.
Yet the early signs so far in this Parliament are that the opposite is now true: rebellion has become the norm, cohesion the exception.
Listen to an interview between me and Steve Richards of the Independent, which was broadcast on Radio 4’s The Week In Westminster (12 February 2011), and explores the scale of backbench discontent so far in the parliament.