Some 150 MPs, mainly Tories, defied David Cameron in a key vote on equal marriage on Monday of this week.
They backed an amendment to the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) bill that would allow heterosexual couples the right to civil partnerships.
Many of those who pushed the amendment are bigots who oppose the bill altogether.
Cameron claimed that the amendment, if passed, would delay the implementation of the bill and send costs soaring.
Labour dismissed this as “farcical” scaremongering. Ed Miliband said he would abstain on the amendment.
But within hours he had capitulated to Cameron and agreed to vote against the it.
Cameron tried to spin the vote as a victory. But it’s humiliating for him to have to beg Labour for help in order to defeat a rebellion in his own party.
And for all the gloss, the row has shown just how nasty and bigoted the Tory party remains.
Senior Tories publicly denounced Cameron’s backing for the bill.
Defence secretary Philip Hammond said the bill was a waste of time. Others have claimed it has led Tory voters to abandon the party.
Less than half the Tory parliamentary party backed gay marriage in a vote in February.