Will the bill give David Davis a chance to shine against Clarke?
With about 20 Labour MPs rebelling in last night’s second reading vote on the ID cards bill the betting exchange, Betfair has opened a market on whether the Government will get the legislation on the statute book during this session of Parliament.
This is the first time that I can recall that gamblers have been able to have a punt on a specific piece of legislation although so far there’s almost no liquidity in the market and the options are very limited. Under the terms of the bet the bill has to become law during this session which means, effectively, by October or November next year.
Given that this is such a flagship piece of legislation that has been introduced right at the start of the session there is plenty of parliamentary time available. Although there will be many concessions and the bill is likely to have a tough time in the House of Lords it is hard to see it going down completely within the time-scale.
From a betting perspective the real interest might be how the Tory front-runner, David Davis, performs.
For as Shadow Home Secretary he is leading the fight against the bill and critics and supporters within the party will be watching carefully to see how he handles himself. Will it help or hinder his chances of becoming Tory leader for which he is currenty 1/2 favourite.
If Davis cannot make the most of a parliamentary situation where there’s huge opposition on the Labour benches then the doubts might grow. On the other hand his contest with Charles Clarke gives him a great opportunity to shine.