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Faced with such an overwhelming defeat, the government allowed two more major amendments to go through without a vote rather than risk another hammering in the division lobbies.
Labour MPs will no longer troop docile through the division lobbies to support legislation which they don't believe in, particularly regarding backdoor privatisation and draconian attacks on civil liberties.
It has even been suggested that a return to late sittings would require breathalysers in the division lobbies, to prevent MPs voting half-drunk.
Having therefore effectively forced some dutiful Labour MPs to vote on an issue which they profoundly disagreed, the least the Prime Minister could have done would have been to set an example and to troop through the division lobbies with his faithful friends.
My office at Westminster is half a mile away from the division lobbies where MPs go to vote, so walking between them provides a chance to get some exercise.
The government defeated both moves, but its majority slumped to 60 during the second vote as Conservatives joined Labour rebels and the Liberal Democrats in the division lobbies.
It is not stretching the imagination to foresee a situation where a British government that did not have a majority of English MPs and relied on Scottish MPs in the division lobbies, decided to impose a deeply unpop- ular English education or transport law.
A Conservative amendment calling for a referendum was defeated by 311 votes to 248 - a majority of 63 - as just 29 Labour rebels joined the Tories in the division lobbies.
As Blair troops into the division lobbies tonight hand-in-hand with Tory toff David Cameron, he should pause and reflect.
He believes the system of publicly filing through Division Lobbies is outdated and MPs should cast their votes in a secret ballot.

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