An "unholy" alliance against Tony Blair
The sub-headling for one Guardian account of tonight's vote is:
The government is facing an unholy coalition of Tories, Lib Dems, nationalists and, of course, their own rebels in tonight's Commons vote, writes Tania BraniganTony Blair may face a stunning defeat in the Commons tonight. The Guardian:
Downing Street has warned there would be "very real consequences" for British troops if the government is defeated tonight in a crunch vote on whether to hold another inquiry into the Iraq war.This vote will be close. But, it seems like someone might be counting seats and positioning Blair for a defeat.
The warning came amid increased speculation that opposition parties could succeed in their attempt to embarrass the government.
Tonight's motion, tabled by the SNP and Plaid Cymru, demands an immediate investigation of the war by a committee of senior MPs.
But a Tory amendment calls for an inquiry along the lines of the Franks report into the Falklands War at an "appropriate time" within the next year.
The Conservatives have warned that if their compromise is not accepted, they will "reluctantly" back the nationalists' call for an immediate inquiry in order to make the government think again.
The Tories' threat to back the Scottish and Welsh nationalists' motion is thought to have caught government chiefs unawares.
One insider said up to 50 Labour MPs are absent from the Commons today, making the likelihood of a government defeat even greater.
Tory and Scottish National party insiders seemed uncertain of victory but they claimed the closer the result the more embarrassing it would be for Mr Blair.