Well, it appears that the latest in Nadine Dorries’ attempts to limit women’s reproductive freedom got pretty short shrift in Parliament (The Guardian). From the Guardian’s live blog:
What does it mean? On Twittershortly before the vote took place Labour’s Chris Bryant posted this:
I suspect Nadine Dorries has done more harm to social conservatism on abortion than anyone in 25 years. Hurrah!
Really? It is certainly a terrible defeat, perhaps even a textbook example of how not to approach a free-vote, conscience issue. Dorries tabled what appeared at face value a relatively technical change, and yet she ended up losing the support of her government, a large section of her party and even the co-sponsor of her amendment (Frank Field).
But this wasn’t really a decisive encounter in the culture war; it was more a case of Westminster ganging up on one of parliament’s easiest targets. (Which is why the PMQ’s exchange earlier was significant. When your own party leader treats you as a figure of ridicule, you are in trouble.) Does this really tell us much about the balance of power between social liberalism and social conservatism in Britain today? I doubt it. The only lesson that really stands out is that, if you want change legislation on a contentious issue, don’t ask Dorries to take the lead.
I don’t suppose that will stop her attempts to limit abortion rights.