It was a fairly ordinary Wednesday in the House of Commons when that rebellion was going to take place and at five o'clock the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Mark Hoban, rose and begged to move
That this House takes note of European Union Documents (a) 9433/10, Commission Communication on reinforcing economic policy co-ordination, (b) 11807/10, Commission Communication on enhancing economic policy co-ordination for stability, growth and jobs - tools for stronger EU economic governance, (c) 14496/10, Proposal for a Council Regulation (EU) amending Regulation (EC) No. 1467/97 on speeding up and clarifying the implementation of the excessive deficit procedure, (d) 14497/10, Proposal for a Council Directive on requirements for budgetary frameworks of the Member States, (e) 14498/10, Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the effective enforcement of budgetary surveillance in the euro area, (f) 14512/10, Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on enforcement measures to correct excessive macroeconomic imbalances in the euro area, (g) 14515/10, Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the prevention and correction of macroeconomic imbalances, and (h) 14520/10, Proposal for a Regulation of the15 European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EC) No. 1466/97 on the strengthening of the surveillance of budgetary positions and the surveillance and co-ordination of economic policies; notes the Report from the Task Force on Economic Governance in the European Union; notes with approval that budgetary and fiscal information will continue to be presented to Parliament before being given to EU20 institutions; and approves the Government's position, as endorsed by the Task Force that any sanctions proposed should not apply to the United Kingdom in consideration of Protocol 15 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU.Together these various documents will hand over huge amounts of power to the EU but, presumably, none of it will be "significant" enough to put to a referendum. In fact, these documents are what we have now learnt to call in a short-hand Economic Governance.
Of course, the "take note" debates do not do much except allow people to sound off and to display their stance on the subject. And, indeed, a number of MPs made some very good points. I particularly liked Philip Davies's comment about nobody believing assurances that no more power will pass to the EU (as Mr Hoban kept assuring the Hon. Members) and Bill Cash's reference to Humpty Dumpty in Through the Looking Glass.
Then one scrolls down to find the size of that famous rebellion and finds .... that 24 Tory MPs (including the two I quoted above) managed to vote against the government with 15 others. One assumes the Labour Party officially abstained but allowed the odd dissident to wander into the No lobby. Ms Pritti Patel, the pin-up of the eurosceptic Tories, has once again decided to keep her pretty little head below the parapet and wander off to some prior engagement. Mr Halfon has clearly exhausted his ability to rebel by voting for Douglas Carswell's amendment in the last rebellion. This time he voted with the government. But why need one to list these people
So that's that. Another rebellion that never was. How many more before people stop talking excitedly about that wonderful Tory eurosceptic intake?