The vote saw Labour and the Liberal Democrats defeat the Conservatives 306 to 231 to overcome the first hurdle of passing a bill that could help reverse some of the changes to benefits payments introduced during the Coalition’s premiership. Nick Clegg was not present as he was attending a NATO summit in Wales, and did not vote. As the Liberal Democrats began to give their ayes to the bill, David Cameron made several phone calls to Clegg in order to take his vote by proxy, which were met with Clegg’s voicemail as his mobile phone battery lost its charge half an hour before the bill was put to the House of Commons. Several text messages were also sent in a last-ditch attempt to reach him:
you around?? We’re putting some stupid bill to a vote and we could really do with your vote here mate
i get it, this your revenge for that whole tuition fee u-turn thing right? fine we’re even JUST GET ON THE PHONE PLEASE!!!!
if you don’t answer your phone in 5 minutes I swear I’ll get Nigel to challenge you to another TV debate
On his return to London, Clegg stated that he would have totally voted against the bill if he could, and sincerely regretted forgetting to bring a charger, or asking any of the leaders to borrow theirs during the summit.