Mark Reckless MP

2 Feb 2011 06:29:15

20 Tory backbenchers back Peter Bone's amendment calling for a trigger on an in/out EU referendum

By Jonathan Isaby

At the end of proceedings on the European Union Bill yesterday, there was an opportunity for the Commons to debate and vote on the amendment from Wellingborough MP Peter Bone, which he wrote about here on ConHome last month.

The thrust of his amendment was that an in/out referendum on British membership of the European Union would be triggered if people voted against a transfer of a competency to Brussels under the terms of the new EU Bill.

Peter Bone Bone summarised:

"Let me explain why the Committee should support my new clause. First, it would not alter in any way the purpose of the European Union Bill. The Bill is designed, under certain circumstances, to give the British people, through a referendum, a say on our relationship with the European Union. My proposal would merely extend the referendum lock, under certain circumstances, to whether we should remain part of the European Union.

"Why do I think that this would improve the Bill? If the British people have a chance to approve or disapprove of a transfer of power in the future, and they say yes, then there is clearly no need for an in/out referendum, as it would show that the British people are happy with their relationship with Europe. If they say no, clearly they are unhappy with a proposed change to the European Union. Surely it is right that the alternative question is then put as to whether the British people wish to remain in the European Union.

"An added advantage is that the in/out referendum would be triggered by an event, not by politicians. In the past, referendums have been timed to favour the proponents of the referendum, not necessarily for the benefit of the British people."

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9 Dec 2010 18:43:11

A full breakdown of who voted which way and who rebelled in tonight's votes

By Jonathan Isaby

Both divisions tonight - on increasing the upper tuition fees limit to £9,000 and on raising the cap on basic tuition fees to £6,000 - saw identical results: 323 votes in favour and 302 votes against.

Factoring in two tellers from each side, you had 325 MPs backing the Government line and 304 opposing it, meaning that 629 out of a possible 640 MPs participated in the divisions (the remaining ten are accounted for by the 5 Sinn Fein MPs, the Speaker, 3 Deputy Speakers and the vacancy in Oldham East and Saddleworth).

So who voted which way?

IN FAVOUR

Conservatives
297 of the 305 Conservative MPs, comprising:

  • All 77 Ministers and Whips
  • 39 PPSs (no longer including Lee Scott, who resigned to abstain)
  • 181 of the 189 backbenchers

Liberal Democrats
28 of the 57 Lib Dem MPs, comprising:

  • 17 of the 18 Ministers and Whips (Chris Huhne being at the conference in Cancun)
  • The 3 remaining PPSs (no longer including Mike Crockart and Jenny Willott, who resigned to vote against)
  • 8 of the 36 backbenchers (namely: Sir Alan Beith, Tom Brake, Malcolm Bruce, Don Foster, Stephen Gilbert, John Hemming, David Laws and David Ward)

AGAINST

  • 6 Conservative MPs (namely: Philip Davies, David Davis, Julian Lewis, Jason McCartney, Andrew Percy and Mark Reckless)
  •  21 Liberal Democrat MPs (namely: Annette Brooke, Sir Menzies Campbell, Mike Crockart, Tim Farron, Andrew George, Mike Hancock, Julian Huppert, Charles Kennedy, John Leech, Stephen Lloyd, Greg Mulholland, John Pugh, Alan Reid, Dan Rogerson, Bob Russell, Adrian Sanders, Ian Swales, Mark Williams, Roger WIlliams, Jenny Willott, Simon Wright)
  • All 253 Labour MPs
  • 7 of the 8 DUP MPs
  • All 6 SNP MPs
  • All 3 Plaid Cymru MPs
  • All 3 SDLP MPs
  • The 1 Alliance MP
  • The 1 Green MP
  • All 3 Independent MPs

ABSENT FROM THE VOTE (DELIBERATELY ABSTAINING OR OTHERWISE)

  • 2 Conservative MPs (namely: Tracey Crouch and Lee Scott)
  • 8 Liberal Democrat MPs (namely: Loreley Burt, Martin Horwood, Simon Hughes, Chris Huhne, Tessa Munt, Sir Robert Smith, John Thurso, Stephen Williams)
  • 1 DUP MP (William McCrea)

Of the six Tory rebels, most have quite a lot of "form" when it comes to walking through the lobbies against the Government line:

  • Philip Davies - Tonight's rebellions were his 26th and 27th rebellious votes
  • David Davis - Tonight's rebellions were his 13th and 14th rebellious votes
  • Julian Lewis - Tonight's rebellions were his 11th and 12th rebellious votes
  • Andrew Percy - Tonight's rebellions were his 13th and 14th rebellious votes
  • Jason McCartney - Tonight's rebellions were his 4th and 5th rebellious votes
  • Mark Reckless - Tonight's rebellions were his 11th and 12th rebellious votes

Of the two Tory abstainers, as a PPS until yesterday, Lee Scott, has no history of rebellion; meanwhile, Tracey Crouch, who also abstained, has still never actively voted in a division lobby against the government line.

8 Jun 2010 17:56:24

Matthew Hancock speaks in praise of localism in his maiden speech as Mark Reckless and Nigel Mills highlight police accountability and funding

Matthew Hancock Commons Matthew Hancock, who replaced Richard Spring as MP for Suffolk West, used his maiden speech yesterday to endorse “the devolution of power to people more locally:”:

“That is a thread that binds together all of us on this side of the House. We believe that the constitution has become too centralised and that local people should be given more of a say. That is certainly true in West Suffolk. Such attention to local need is unfortunately in marked contrast to the one-size-fits-all, we-know-best attitude that Newmarket has seen over the past 13 years, and it is to that point that I turn in the final moments of my speech.

“For many years, the constitution has endured a creeping centralism. In particular, in planning, John Prescott’s regional spatial strategies have tried to turn every market town into a clone town. The powers of local people to resist have been stripped away, but already the new Government are succeeding in giving power back to the people. The regional spatial strategy was forcing through an inappropriate proposal to build thousands of homes and an industrial park in the middle of Newmarket, which the council found itself powerless to reject—but no more. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has given councils the power to make decisions for themselves once again. The people were given their voice and their democratically elected councillors voted unanimously to reject the proposal.

“So there we have it. After less than a month in office, the new Government are already improving our constitution to make it more local, more responsive to the people and less in hock to unelected, unaccountable quangos. A law and a quango cannot solve every ill of this world, but by trusting people and sharing responsibility, we can make a start. That principle binds us together on these Benches.”

Mark Reckless Commons Mark Reckless , the new MP for Rochester and Strood and a keen supporter of localism and direct democracy, turned his attention to police accountability:

“I should declare an interest: I am a member of the Kent police authority. However, on occasion, turkeys do vote for Christmas, and I should like to welcome the coalition’s proposals to abolish police authorities and replace us with directly elected individuals. It must be right that those who exercise the coercive power of the state should be held to account by those whom they serve.“

“I have heard the odd senior police officer oppose those plans, yet there is no suggestion of any intrusion on the chief constable’s prerogative. The powers that will be transferred are currently those of police authorities. Surely, the objection is not merely that directly elected individuals will exercise those powers more effectively than police authorities have done to date.

“We will also codify operational independence. I would caution that that does not mean that the police should be allowed to get along with things solely as they wish. The Metropolitan police have a tradition of independence because we have had a concern to guard against them becoming the arm of central Government. However, our tripartite system is a compromise between counties, where chief constables would occasionally receive instructions, and boroughs, where oversight was much greater. Indeed, the watch committee of the borough of Preston met twice a day—once in the morning, to give the chief constable his instructions, and once in the early evening, to check that he had carried them out.

“Before I close, I should like to draw the House’s attention to what I consider the major trend in policing of the past 25 years. It is the movement of power from locally appointed and accountable chief constables to an organisation that is both a private company and a trade union with a closed shop: the Association of Chief Police Officers, which has grown to dominate the field of policing without the sanction of the House. It has its committees and its cabinet, and it issues instructions to us in Kent on how much we should charge for policing the Faversham carnival or the Maidstone water festival. It is right that we should now move and have directly elected police commissioners to rebalance the policing landscape and restore local democracy.”

Nigel Mills Commons Meanwhile, Nigel Mills, who gained Amber Valley, concentrated on the issue of police funding in his county of Derbyshire:

“We know that the size of the budget deficit run up by the previous Government means that difficult decisions need to be taken, and Derbyshire police will have to take their share of that pain. I note that the amendment that bears the name of the right hon. Member for Blackburn [Jack Straw] contains a request that the cuts do not damage the number of police officers. I point out to the Minister that the police funding review carried out some six years ago noted that Derbyshire police needed a significant increase in funding, of approximately £5 million a year. However, that funding has still not been provided to this day, due to the damping mechanism. I urge the Government to have a full review of the allocation of funds for police forces, to ensure that Derbyshire police—who are currently being deprived of the 100 officers whom those funds could be used to provide—get the fair funding they are entitled to for the level of crime in Derbyshire. Only by ensuring a fair allocation of funding can we make sure that we have police services that are both effective and efficient.”

Jonathan Isaby