Daily catch-up: Yvette Cooper bests Theresa May; and the state of the parties

All you need to know about rebellious MPs, opinion polls, ice and smog

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1. Great excitement in the House of Commons yesterday, although it didn't amount to much in the end. Labour came within nine votes of disrupting proceedings on a timetable motion, and Yvette Cooper surprised the Government by proposing "that the Question be not now put". This would have postponed debate for a day, which would have been a symbolic embarrassment. Government whips had to scramble to get MPs back to Westminster, including David Cameron in white tie from the Mansion House dinner, to defeat Cooper's motion.

What it means is that the UK continues to be part of the European Arrest Warrant system. The Government had given notice that it was going to opt out of a lot of EU justice schemes, but it wants to carry on being part of the Arrest Warrant, so it had to opt back in to it. This is a ministerial decision that does not require a vote in the Commons, but Cameron had promised there would be one.

Some Conservative tactical genius thought that, instead of having a separate vote on a declaratory motion saying "this House congratulates HMG on its decision to opt back in to the European Arrest Warrant", MPs could vote on other EU opt-ins and Theresa May, the Home Secretary, would take that as a vote on the Arrest Warrant.

It did not seem to have occurred to the tactical genius that Tory Eurosceptics might regard this as "underhand" (Jacob Rees-Mogg, Conservative, Pomp and Brimstone) and kick up a fuss.

All good clean fun for those of us who love the House of Commons. At one point May was reduced to saying: "I have just said words that agree with the Speaker."

Kenneth Clarke said: "Nobody enjoys a procedural row in the House of Commons as much as I do and this is one of the best we've had." But he warned Cooper that she was playing with fire, trying to cause trouble for the Government by allying herself temporarily and tactically with Tory Eurosceptics. You can read the debate here.

2. The net effect was to enhance Yvette Cooper's reputation with Labour MPs, which was timely in the light of Alan Johnson repeating for slow learners:

"I have never stood for the leadership of my party, and for the avoidance of doubt, regardless of the circumstances, I never will."

3. Yesterday's opinion polls:

ICM Lab 32%, Con 31%, UKIP 14%, LD 11%, Green 6%

Populus Lab 36%, Con 34%, UKIP 13%, LD 8%, Green 4%

Ashcroft Lab 29%, Con 30%, UKIP 16%, LD 10%, Green 7%

YouGov Lab 33%, Con 32%, UKIP 17%, LD 6%, Green 6%

Average Lab 32½%, Con 32%, UKIP 15%, LD 9%, Green 6%

4. Michael Deacon has proposed some new parties, including Ukep, the United Kingdom Emigration Preventionists. Inspired.

5. Lovely photograph of man delivering ice in the London smog, 1919, via Sir William Davenant.




6. And finally, thanks to Chris Heaton-Harris for this:

"My mate used to sell computer parts, but then he lost his drive."