The tail wagging the dog

The government’s handling of the vote on opting back in to various EU police and justice cooperation measures was shambolic — and caused entirely by the Conservative party’s civil war on Europe, with the government afraid of its own backbenchers.

But at the end of the day, there was an overwhelming majority of 464 to 38 in favour of opting back in.

This begs the obvious question: had the government put the initial opt-out to the House of Commons, would there have been a majority for that? On these figures, almost certainly not!

This is perhaps the real story: Britain only opted out previously because the government is terrified of the eurosceptic minority on its own backbenches. Tails wagging dogs spring to mind.

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