While Cabinet members grumble about the way the government’s plain packaging announcement was snuck out last week, those Tories opposed to the measure have been counting up the number of colleagues who will vote against it.
I understand that they are expecting at least 80 Tory MPs to reject the introduction of plain packaging in the free vote. Their numbers could be reduced because the measure will pass and some will wonder whether rejecting a government proposal even in a free vote is worth it.
Some are absolutely opposed to the idea on principle. Others are really annoyed at the sneaky way ministers brought it out. Others still are annoyed that this is the sort of distraction that the party, which is supposed to be saying ‘long term economic plan’ over and over again until the whole country is blue in the face, is supposed to be avoiding yet ministers have chosen to strike up a distracting row with just 100 days to go till the election.