Lib Dems admit they 'messed up' after Brexit votes balls-up
The Lib Dem leader stands accused of throwing his party's chief whip under the bus.
Almost six years after Nick Clegg became an internet sensation for sounding very contrite, the Lib Dems are at it again.
Vince Cable and Tim Farron came under fire for missing a crucial Brexit vote in the Commons last night. Party members were understandably unimpressed after the pair failed to turn up for knife-edge votes on the issue that is supposed to be their main selling point to voters..
Explaining the leader’s absence, a Lib Dem source said: “Vince had an important meeting off the parliamentary estate that had been approved by the whips and nobody thought these amendments would ever be so close.”
Meanwhile Farron was giving a £5-a-head talk in Dorset on how he balances his work as a liberal politician with being a Christian.
But apparently it was all the fault of the party’s chief whip Alistair Carmichael.
"Last night I messed up," he said in a statement issued on Tuesday morning and promptly retweeted by Cable.
"The government squeaked home by just three votes in a key amendment. It should have been one. I was not expecting a close vote – up until 8pm, Labour were planning to abstain which would have meant the vote would be lost by hundreds.
"In fact several Labour MPs voted with the government – which is why they won. By the time it became apparent that the vote was going to be close, it was too late to get two of our MPs, Vince and Tim, back in time to vote.
"I’m taking responsibility and redoubling my efforts to stop Brexit."
Alas that explanation hasn’t gone down brilliantly in Lib Dem circles either, with one former Lib Dem staffer raging:
"It's pretty low to throw Alistair under the bus and blame whipping for this. I think anyone with half a brain could have seen in the middle of the afternoon that things were volatile and it was worth being in the Commons to vote."