As the media scramble from one MPs declaration of voting intention to another, it is worth putting the whole issue the fees voting into the context of the whole House of 650 members. The winning post - assuming no abstentions would be 326, so the whips on both sides will no doubt be working out how to get to that figure.
Presumably the Speaker and his team will not vote; knocking out John Bercow (Buckingham), Nigel Evans (Ribble Valley), Lindsay Hoyle (Chorley) and Dawn Primarolo (Bristol) from the vote. In addition, the 5 Sinn Fein MPs will no vote either. In addition there is one vacancy in Oldham East & Saddleworth. Which leaves us dealing with Coalition strength of 362 and a total opposition strength of 278; so the anti-fees MPs would have to solidify all of their own MPs and overcome an 84 vote lead (which is, essentially, switching 43 MPs).
Are the opposition united on this? It is difficult to imagine many or any of them not voting against the government; Labour sense an opportunity here and have even drafted in Gordon Brown (Kirkcaldy) to vote. If any Labour MPs did agree with the policy I suspect they were lept on froma great height a long time ago. It also looks very likely that the DUP, SNP, Plaid and SDLP will all fall into line too. Alliance MP Naomi Long (Belfast N), Green MP Caroline Lucas (Brighton Pavillion) and the three Independents (Lady Hermon, North Down; Dennis McShane, Rotherham & Eric Illsley, Barnsley Central) all look solid too. So short of illness or some other disaster (snow?) it should be a united front from the opposition; 278 in the bag.
Despite his own claims, it looks like David Davis (Haltemprice) will not be a rebellion of one; so far Illford's Lee Scott, New Forest's Julian Lewis and Shipley's Phillip Davies have said they will vote no too. In addition, Bob Blackman (Harrow E) and former teacher Andrew Percy (Brigg & Goole) may yet vote no too. Six Tories in total; bringing the vote numbers to 356 to 284.
And then the question is which LibDems will break ranks and vote no and which might abstain (even an abstention impacts the total votes). Today Tim Farron (Wesmoreland & Lonsdale), LibDem President, has come out against. In addition to Tim, we have on record former Leaders Ming Campbell and Charles Kennedy. Plus Mike Hancock (Portsmouth), Julian Huppert (Cambridge), John Leech (Manchester), Ian Swales (Redcar), John Pugh (Southport), Bob Russell (Colchester), Mark Williams (Bristol), Simon Wright (Norwich S), Roger Williams (Brecon), Martin Horwood (Cheltenham) & Greg Mulholland (Leeds). Total, so far, of 13. Before abstentions that leaves the vote 343 to 297; a government majority of 46.
So it is going to take one massive earthquake; even if all the non-government LibDem MPs vote against, and even the PPSs, it would still take a mass Tory rebellion to bring this down.
I admire anybody who is willing to take to the streets for what they believe in (as long as it is non-violence), but for all the excitement that student leaders and the media are trying to whip up about the vote I cannot see a way, at this moment, that the government can lose. That may all change but with 24 hours to go, the fees vote looks a lot less exiting than we are lead to believe.