MPs voted to ban wild animals in circuses last night after David Cameron's attempts to bully Conservative backbenchers into voting against the measure backfired and ended in a humiliating public defeat. In a decision hailed by campaigners as an "historic victory for animal welfare and protection", MPs of all parties unanimously backed a ban and the Government signalled that it would introduce one, ending forever the days of lions, tigers, elephants and other wild animals in the big top.A three line whip? Over a ban on wild animals in circuses?
In an act of desperation, Conservative whips had warned they would impose the most serious parliamentary voting sanction, a three-line whip, to bring recalcitrant backbenchers to heel and get them to support the Government's alternative proposal of a licensing system. (1)
Clearly, the Conservative part of the government (as distinct from the Conservative Party) has had enough of being forced into U turns. Why the decided to make a stand on this topic is beyond me, and I'm glad to see they're attempt to bully their MPs into voting against their conscience failed.
Note, that this shows how untrue Cameron's claims to be listening and responsive are. He thought he could pull this one off, so suddenly the nice, touchy-feely Dave disappeared, to be replaced by a would-be tyrannical parliamentary autocrat.
A rare day when I'm impressed with the Tories, putting decency ahead of their factional interest.
1 - "Victory in the campaign to ban circus animals," by Martin Hickman,. Published in The Independent, 24th of June, 2011. (http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/victory-in-the-campaign-to-ban-circus-animals-2302073.html)