• 25 OCT 2011
By Patrick O'Flynn | Daily Express
FIRST let us salute the MPs who held their nerve, despite heavy whipping and the threats and blandishments of their leaders.
That so many stood firm and, after 36 years, got another vote on our relationship with Brussels counts as a stunning success.
These MPs are the ones who understand that political power can only legitimately be exercised by public consent.
Senior Tory and Labour backbenchers were foremost among the rebels.
But last night some younger MPs showed their mettle by voting in defiance of party chiefs.
Anybody searching for new political stars should look to them first. Big political figures are defined by their readiness to make elbow-room at the top table rather than just bow to the whips.
On that basis, it will be MPs like Priti Patel (Witham), Zac Goldsmith (Richmond Park) and Tracey Crouch (Chatham) who will have a big say in the future of the Conservative Party, for this vote will be long remembered by the British people. Those MPs who let them down will suffer the consequences at the next election.
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