David Cameron suffered his first defeat in the House of Commons on Monday of this week just four months after the general election.
Some 33 right wing Tory rebels teamed up with Labour and the Scottish National Party to defeat a government amendment to its European Union (EU) Referendum Bill. It included two former cabinet ministers.
That’s bigger than the first rebellions Tory prime minister John Major faced over the EU in the 1990s. Then 26 backbenchers dissented during the first EU Maastricht Treaty vote and 22 against the European Communities Bill in 1992.
The vote shows up the splits in the Tory party.
A poll last week for the first time suggested that a slim majority of voters support leaving the EU.
Cameron would not survive a referendum defeat, which would plunge the Tory government into crisis.
We have to make sure that our side benefits from it—not the Tory right and Ukip. That means putting a case against the EU based on solidarity with workers and migrants.
Europe’s brutal repression of migrants has shown that the EU is not a defender of refugees’ rights or a bulwark against racism.
Meanwhile, the EU remains determined to crush resistance to austerity from Greek workers.
Cameron’s defeat shows the weaknesses that our struggles can take advantage of.