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Nine reasons why the chief whips are near powerless this week

To understand the Brexit rebellion look to the broader forces at work in parliament

By Philip Cowley  

Chief Whip Julian Smith has a difficult job ahead of him. Photo: NurPhoto/SIPA USA/PA Images

It was with some horror that I realised recently that I had been studying the way MPs vote for a quarter of a century. “Anyway,” people would say at parties once I had explained what I did, “it’s been lovely to meet you, must be off.”

One of my first bits of academic work looked at the rebellions over Maastricht, under John Major. The largest of these saw 41 Conservative MPs vote against…

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