On 30 August 2013, David Cameron asked the House of Commons to support the principle of military action against the Syrian government if it was shown to have used chemical weapons against its own citizens. His defeat in the Commons’ vote was widely expected to be the prelude to a crisis for his leadership, even putting the survival of the coalition government in the balance.
Solving the Miliband problem? While the reforms promised to remove a useful weapon from the armoury of Labour’s critics, they also presented an opportunity for the leader to cement his authority over the party and improve his standing with the British electorate. Ed Miliband’s victory over his brother David, in the Labour leadership contest of September 2010, had been secured thanks to support from within the unions rather than from Labour’s parliamentarians or individual members of constituency parties.