Mike Hancock (Portsmouth South) and Bob Russell (Colchester) both rebelled against the Coalition on VAT tonight, as had been suggested earlier in the week. It's worth comparing their backgrounds - both born 1946, both ex-Labour and ex-SDP, both have held Lib Dem spokesman positions but are probably a bit old to be ministerial material, so are examples of the left-wing Lib Dem non-payroll vote that is realistically the only rebellion material in the whole Government.

It's also worth pointing out that there's another ex-Labour, ex-SDP man in Parliament, who's only three years older than the rebels and who has previously expressed opposition to the VAT increase and has a reputation for principled, reasoned argument.  His name is Dr. Vince Cable, but apparently his principled opposition was rather more flexible than we might have expected.  Still, there you go, eh?

[Keen readers may note that the Telegraph has it in for Dr. Cable a bit.  This is all of a piece with the Government-In-Exile theory of that paper at present]