17 Feb 2011 07:44:54

House of Lords finally concedes over 40% referendum threshold

By Jonathan Isaby

Yesterday afternoon, Tim noted that the House of Lords was standing its ground and had inflicted another defeat on the Government over retaining a 40% threshold in the Bill setting up the AV referendum for May 5th.

The Bill then returned to the Commons, which again rejected their Lordships' amendment by 310 votes to 231 in a vote just after 8pm, with 18 Tory MPs voting in favour of the Lords' amendment:

  • Brian Binley
  • Graham Brady
  • Bill Cash
  • Chris Chope
  • James Clappison
  • Geoffrey Cox
  • Philip Davies
  • David Davis
  • Richard Drax
  • Philip Hollobone
  • Bernard Jenkin
  • Julian Lewis
  • Anne Main
  • David Nuttall
  • Andrew Percy
  • Richard Shepherd
  • Sir Peter Tapsell
  • Sarah Wollaston

The measure then returned to the House of Lords for further discussion at 10.30pm, at which point one of those Tories who had been in favour of the threshold, Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, indicated that now was the time to call off the parliamentary ping-pong:

"We have now asked the other place to think about this issue twice and we have had a clear answer twice - by 70 votes last night and by 79 this evening, if my mathematics are right. We have heard a powerful speech from the noble and learned Lord, Lord Lloyd of Berwick. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the amendment, he was right to tell us that we are discussing an issue that focuses narrowly on a matter that affects the other place alone. Therefore, while I continue to have considerable and very grave doubts about the course on which my Government are embarking, I am afraid that I have now concluded, after two disobliging votes, that the time has come for the Members of the elected Chamber to make a final decision, because they alone will have to live with the consequences of their deliberations."

Not all rebel Tory peers voted with him - the likes of Lord Forsyth of Drumlean, Lord Lawson and Lord Hamilton of Epsom continued to insist on the threshold in the voting lobby - but the Government won the vote at 11pm by 221 votes to 153.

So by 11.45pm, Royal Assent was given and the Bill became the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011, meaning that the ball is now formally rolling for the AV referendum on May 5th - and indeed for the Boundary Commission to reduce the number of constituencies from 650 to 600.

4 Feb 2011 17:41:43

A-Listers are less likely to vote against the Government than the rest of the 2010 intake

By Jonathan Isaby

Earlier in the week I concluded that of the 147 new Conservative MPs elected for the first time last year, those 38 who had been on the party's original "priority list" of 100 candidates were more likely to have been appointed parliamentary private secretaries.  

I have now taken a look at how rebellious those 38 have been, compared to the rest of the 2010 intake and the conclusions are even clearer.

Of the 38 A-Listers, eight - equivalent to 21% - have voted against the whip on substantive government matters (i.e. not including Private Member's Business, Ten Minute Rule Bills, procedural and programme motions and House of Commons business). However, as the list below demonstrates, six of those eight have only rebelled on a single occasion:

  • Zac Goldsmith - 11
  • Andrew Percy - 10
  • Caroline Dinenage - 1
  • Jane Ellison - 1
  • Andrew Griffiths - 1
  • Chris Heaton-Harris - 1
  • Pauline Latham - 1
  • Andy Stephenson - 1

The other 30 A-Listers have never voted in a lobby against the Government on government business.

However, of the 109 non-A-Listers, 32 - equivalent to 29% - have actively voted against the Government, with nearly half of those having done so on more than one occasion. They are:

Continue reading "A-Listers are less likely to vote against the Government than the rest of the 2010 intake" »

3 Feb 2011 18:50:12

Tory PPSs will get a free vote on votes for prisoners

Prisoners votes By Jonathan Isaby

Earlier in the week I reported that Tory backbenchers would get a free vote next Thursday on the David Davis/Jack Straw motion defying the ECHR ruling on votes for prisoners. However, confusion reigned as to whether this would apply to the 40 parliamentary private secretaries, who are usually deemed to be part of the "payroll vote" which is expected to vote with the Government on all policy matters.

However, I have had it confirmed this afternoon that PPSs have today been told that they will be free to vote as they wish next week, making a bumper majority in favour of the motion all the more more likely. Ministers will not be able to vote for the motion but have permission to abstain, I am reliably informed.

Meanwhile, another potential spanner has been thrown into the works by St Albans MP Anne Main, who has been increasingly rebellious of late, not least over the European Union Bill. She has tabled the following amendment to original motion, reports Paul Waugh at PoliticsHome:

At end add 'and instructs the Government not to pay any compensation to prisoners and former prisoners in consequence of the maintenance of the current situation.'

We are unlikely to know until hursday whether it will get called for debate or voted upon.

2 Feb 2011 21:44:26

Three Tory MPs vote with Labour to condemn forest sell-off plans as "fundamentally unsound"

By Jonathan Isaby

I've just had a quick glance at the division list from the vote at the end of today's opposition day debate on the proposed forest sell-off and note that three Conservaitve MPs defied the whip and voted for the following Labour motion:

That this House believes that the Government’s intention in the Public Bodies Bill to sell off up to 100 per cent. of England’s public forestry estate is fundamentally unsound; notes that over 225,000 people have signed a petition against such a sell-off; recognises the valuable role that the Forestry Commission and England’s forests have made to increasing woodland biodiversity and public access, with 40 million visits a year; further recognises that the total subsidy to the Forestry Commission has reduced from 35 per cent. of income in 2003-04 to 14 per cent. of income in 2010-11; further notes that the value of the ecosystems services provided by England’s public forest estate is estimated to be £680 million a year; notes that the value of such services could increase substantially in the future through the transition to a low carbon economy as a carbon market emerges; notes that the public forest estate has been retained in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland; and calls on the Government to rethink its decision on the sale of England’s public forest estate in order to protect it for future generations.

The rebels were:

  • Zac Goldsmith
  • Julian Lewis
  • Caroline Nokes

The motion was defeated by 310 to 260, but there were a further half dozen Lib Dem rebels and evidently further abstentions on the Conservative side.

Tory MPs have certainly been deluged with letters over this issue and the feedback I have been getting from a large number of them is that the whole issue has been very badly handled in terms of prebuttal, rebuttal and briefing from the department and handling of MPs for whom the issue is an especially sensitive one.

> Tim Montgomerie's defence of the Coalition's forestry plans

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."

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

1 Feb 2011 11:27:24

Tory backbenchers will reportedly get a free vote when votes for prisoners are first debated next week

By Jonathan Isaby

Prisoners votes Next week sees the first parliamentary debate on whether to give the vote to prisoners - not in government time, but initiated by Tory MPs David Davis and Dominic Raab, along with Jack Straw, in time allocated by the backbench business committee.

The motion before the Commons - to be debated next Thursday - reads:

"That this House notes the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights in Hirst v the United Kingdom in which it held that there had been no substantive debate by members of the legislature on the continued justification for maintaining a general restriction on the right of prisoners to vote; acknowledges the treaty obligations of the UK; is of the opinion that legislative decisions of this nature should be a matter for democratically elected lawmakers; and supports the current situation in which no sentenced prisoner is able to vote except those imprisoned for contempt, default or on remand."

The Government has indicated that it is very reluctantly intending to implement the ECHR ruling granting votes for prisoners sentenced to four years or less (although there has been speculation that it could be restricted further).

However, minsters are yet to formally set the wheels in motion and in the mean time it is an issue which has been causing massive dissent throughout the Conservative parliamentary party, even among usually loyal backbenchers.

Paul Waugh from PoliticsHome reports this morning that backbenchers will be granted licence to show their opposition to the proposal:

Tory backbenchers are set to be allowed a free vote on a Commons motion opposing prisoner voting rights, PoliticsHome.come has learned. Faced with possibly his biggest ever rebellion by Conservative MPs, David Cameron is looking closely at allowing the Government payroll vote to abstain on the motion.

The Liberal Democrats have long believed in giving the vote to prisoners, so can be expected to oppose the motion as above, but I can't imagine that they'll be joined by many others.

1.45pm update:

James Landale from the BBC is now reporting news that might make the issue give the Governmnt a headache even sooner:

The government has been warned it must give prisoners in Scotland and Wales the right to vote in May's elections or risk compensation claims for allegedly breaking human rights laws. Ministers had thought a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights would force them to give prisoners the vote only in Westminster or European parliamentary elections. But giving evidence to MPs lawyers said the ruling applied to all elections that create a legislature, such as the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly.

More here. Meanwhile the Telegraph suggests that the nationwide AV referendum may come under this ruling too...

25 Jan 2011 06:12:20

James Clappison fails in his attempt to make Parliament - not ministers - decide when a transfer of power to the EU requires a referendum

By Jonathan Isaby

The European Union Bill returned to the floor of the Commons yesterday for the first of three days this week. (Europe Minister David Lidington wrote about its benefits here on ConHome yesterday)

The Bill sets out that if there is deemed to be a transfer of power to the EU and the government of the day supports it, that there should be a referendum on the matter - although it is the government which decides if a transfer of power has taken place.

James Clappison Hertsmere Tory MP and member of the European Scrutiny Committee, James Clappison, tabled an amendment (number 11) to the BIll to give that power to Parliament.

He explained that overall he felt the Bill was "a great improvement on the existing position", but explained his amendment thus:

"It will be very disillusioning for all those whom we have promised and have led to expect that there will be a referendum on great transfers of power or great decisions in the European Union if that referendum does not take place. We want to do all that we can to avoid that sense of disillusionment. It is against that background that I seek to deal with the problem of the significance condition, to which hon. Members have referred.

"Simply, amendment 11 would give Parliament a vote on the question of whether certain transfers of power to the European Union are significant enough to warrant a referendum. As the Bill stands, the decision on whether matters are significant enough is in the hands of the Minister alone, subject to a challenge in the courts. Parliament does not get a say, however, at least on the question of whether there should be referendum."

"Broadly, the question is this: does Parliament decide, or does a single Minister decide? The Government propose that a single Minister should decide, but, as my hon. Friend knows, there is a fall-back position, namely that the Minister should be challenged not in the House but by means of judicial review. I find that somewhat strange, as did some of the distinguished academic witnesses who gave evidence to the European Scrutiny Committee.

"Under the Bill, if one of our constituents is aggrieved by what the Government propose, his recourse will be not to his Member of Parliament but to the courts, through judicial review. I think that that in itself sends a very odd signal. What should I tell a constituent who comes to my surgery and complains about the European Union, as some of my constituents do when it introduces a regulation that has an adverse effect on their jobs or companies, or when they disagree with some transfer of power? Should I say, “I am sorry. You may want a referendum, but you have come to the wrong place: you need to visit the solicitor’s office down the road”? I do not think that that is a very satisfactory state of affairs."

"I see no reason of policy or substance that is an obstacle to my proposal. Perhaps the Minister will tell us why. He has been very reasonable and persuasive on many other points in the Bill... He has been a model of charm and ministerial competence, but he has not yet produced any credible reason why we cannot have a vote in Parliament to decide whether something is significant enough to trigger a referendum, as opposed to leaving it simply to a Minister. What is wrong with trusting Parliament?"

Summing up later on, Europe Minister David Lidington set out his reasons for opposing it:

Continue reading "James Clappison fails in his attempt to make Parliament - not ministers - decide when a transfer of power to the EU requires a referendum" »

22 Jan 2011 13:40:27

Seven Tory ex-Cabinet ministers back successful amendment in the Lords to retain the Isle of Wight as a single constituency

By Jonathan Isaby

Isle of Wight When the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill was going through the House of Commons, Isle of Wight Tory MP Andrew Turner passionately made the case for his island not to be linked to the mainland after the forthcoming boundary redistribution.

With the reduction in seats from 650 to 600 and a deviation of only 5% to be allowed for any electorate (except for the far-flung Scottish seats of Orkney & Shetland and Na h-Eileanan an Iar), the Bill as currently constituted would mean about two thirds of the Isle of Wight's 110,000 electors being in one constituency, with the rest of the island being attached to a seat in mainland Hampshire.

The cross-party One Wight campaign - for which I expressed my support here - has been calling for the island to be allowed keep a single MP, effectively consenting to being slightly under-represented in Parliament.

And there was good news for islanders from the House of Lords this week.

Former Conservative Party chairman Lord Fowler, who has been an Isle of Wight resident for over 25 years, tabled an amendment during the Bill's passage through the House of Lords on Wednesday, saying:

Picture 19 "The consequence of what is being proposed in the Bill is that a new constituency would be formed that would be partly on the mainland and partly on the Isle of Wight, in spite of the fact the two parts would be eight to 10 miles apart, over a stretch of sea and with expensive ferries being the only means of communication. It is claimed that there must be this kind of new constituency because it is essential that all constituencies should have electorates of around 76,000, when the Isle of Wight has 110,000. No exceptions are possible, except the two in the Bill both concerning island constituencies and where the electorates are not abnormally high but abnormally low.

"My amendment would allow there to be one or two constituencies on the Isle of Wight. Most importantly, it follows the amendment put down in the other place by Andrew Turner, the excellent Member of Parliament for the island who was elected on a manifesto that promised opposition to a cross-Solent constituency. You might think that his amendment would have been carefully considered in the other place, but you would be absolutely wrong. Due to the timetabling arrangements in the other place, which perhaps underlines a little the debate that has gone before, he was allowed no time at all in Committee, four minutes on Report and no opportunity to bring the proposition to a vote.

Continue reading "Seven Tory ex-Cabinet ministers back successful amendment in the Lords to retain the Isle of Wight as a single constituency" »

12 Jan 2011 06:47:45

27 Tory MPs back Bill Cash's amendment on reaffirmation of parliamentary sovereignty

By Jonathan Isaby

Bill Cash Yesterday saw a whole day's debate in committee on the floor of the House on the European Union Bill, principally considering Bill Cash's amendment, which would have added to Clause 18 of the Bill:

"The sovereignty of the United Kingdom Parliament is hereby reaffirmed."

We covered the issues involved in yesterday's ToryDiary on the subject, and Cash's lengthy speech to his amendment can be read here, with Europe Minister David Lidington's reply to the debate here.

The amendment was defeated by 314 votes to 39, with 27 Tory MPs backing it, namely (* denotes 2010 intake):

  1. Steve Baker*
  2. Brian Binley
  3. Peter Bone
  4. Andrew Bridgen*
  5. Douglas Carswell
  6. Bill Cash
  7. Chris Chope
  8. James Clappison
  9. David Davis
  10. Richard Drax*
  11. Zac Goldsmith*
  12. Gordon Henderson*
  13. Philip Hollobone
  14. Bernard Jenkin
  15. Chris Kelly*
  16. Edward Leigh
  17. Julian Lewis
  18. Jason McCartney*
  19. David Nuttall*
  20. Mark Reckless
  21. John Redwood
  22. Richard Shepherd
  23. Sir John Stanley
  24. Sir Peter Tapsell
  25. Andrew Turner
  26. Charles Walker
  27. John Whittingdale

They were joined by 8 Labour MPS,  5 DUP MPs and 1 Independent MP.

It was the first time that Bernard Jenkin, Chris Kelly*, Edward Leigh, Sir John Stanley and John Whittingdale have rebelled on a European issue this Parliament.

Conversely, three of those who have rebelled in at least two of the three previous Euro rebellions (see here for previous European rebellions this Parliament) failed to back Cash's move: Philip Davies did not participate in the vote (I do not know his reason - he may have been on parliamentary or constituency business out of Westminster) whilst both Andrew Percy and Martin Vickers both voted with the Government.

2 Jan 2011 17:55:53

Is a Commons defeat on Europe really on the cards for David Cameron?

By Jonathan Isaby

Picture 9Today's Sunday Telegraph splashed on Melissa Kite's story suggesting that David Cameron "faces the prospect of an embarrassing defeat on Europe" when a Committee of the Whole House debates amendments to the European Union Bill on Tuesday 11th January.

The Bill introduces the "referendum lock" on the future transfer of powers to Brussels and - as Martin Howe noted this morning here on ConHome - seeks to make it explicitly clear that laws emanating from the EU have effect within the UK only for so long as that remains the will of Parliament.

However, the Telegraph reports that Bill Cash has tabled amendments to the Bill to further strengthen it by "reaffirming the supremacy of the UK Parliament" over British law.

But how real is the prospect of the Government being defeated on a European matter? The Coalition has a working Commons majority of 84, meaning that on a full turnout of MPs, at least 43 Government backbenchers would need to vote against a measure to raise the possibility of defeat.

Liberal Democrat MPs cannot be expected to do anything but back the Government in the face of a eurosceptic rebellion on European matters. The Telegraph suggests that Labour are open to backing Tory eurosceptic rebels on this matter, although it is surely unlikely that Labour would repeat its feat from the tuition fees vote and deliver a 100% turnout of its MPs. Then there are the assorted nationalists and Unionists to factor into the equation.

Thus far there have been three noteworthy Tory rebellions on European issues since the general election**:

  1. July 14th - 6 Conservative MPs opposed a motion supporting the establishment of the EU External Action Service, with one (Justin Tomlinson) registering a positive abstention by voting in both lobbies.
  2. October 13th - 37 Conservative MPs voted for an amendment to a motion tabled by Douglas Carswell demanding a reduction in the EU Budget contribution - although a further 12 had signed the amendment but did not in the event vote for it.
  3. November 11th - 25 Conservative MPs opposed a motion noting European Union documents relating to the co-ordination of economic policy in the EU.

** A fourth division relating to matters European - namely a motion tabled on December 14th supporting the Government's approach of working closely with the European Commission to deliver a strong, principles-based framework for financial sector corporate governance - saw just one Tory MP, Philip Hollobone, registering a vote against.

So who were they? (2010 intake are marked with an asterisk*)

Continue reading "Is a Commons defeat on Europe really on the cards for David Cameron?" »

20 Dec 2010 07:01:33

Who are the least rebellious Tory MPs?

By Jonathan Isaby

For a while now I have regularly been identifying the most rebellious Conservative MPs, so it seems only right to consider who are the least rebellious MPs as well.

The "payroll vote" of 63 Ministers, 14 Whips, 39 PPSs and 1 party deputy chairman are expected always to vote in line with the party whip, so are not included in the calculations.

Excluding them, there is a total of 188 backbenchers.

Believe it or not, no fewer than 164 backbenchers have rebelled on at least one occasion, using my broad definition of at some point voting in a lobby without a single government minister or whip for company.

Many of those are included because they voted either way for the Ten Minute Rule Bill on the smoking ban (on which the payroll abstained) or for Rebecca Harris's Private Member's Bill on Permanent Daylight Saving Time (on which the one minister voting cast a vote against).

Even if you exclude the 50 whose only rebellions were on one or both of those Bills, you still get the figure of 114 backbenchers having rebelled at some point.

But who are the MPs with the completely unblemished records?

There are 24 Tory backbenchers who have only ever voted in a lobby when a government whip or minister has been there too (although some of these have abstained on certain votes, eg both Tracey Crouch and Lee Scott abstained on the crunch votes on tuition fees).

The 24 are (2010 intake marked with an asterisk*):

  1. Dan Byles*
  2. Alun Cairns*
  3. Neil Carmichael*
  4. Tracey Crouch*
  5. Nadine Dorries
  6. Lorraine Fullbrook*
  7. Helen Grant*
  8. Simon Hart*
  9. Sir Alan Haselhurst
  10. Kris Hopkins*
  11. Jonathan Lord*
  12. Stephen McPartland*
  13. Jesse Norman*
  14. Guy Opperman*
  15. Mark Pritchard
  16. Sir Malcolm Rifkind
  17. David Ruffley
  18. Lee Scott
  19. Nicholas Soames
  20. Mark Spencer*
  21. Gary Streeter
  22. Julian Sturdy*
  23. Heather Wheeler*
  24. Nadhim Zahawi*

16 Dec 2010 06:32:41

27 Tory rebels back Douglas Carswell's attempt to amend the Loans to Ireland Bill

By Jonathan Isaby

Steve Baker has written elsewhere on the site this morning about the Loans to Ireland Bill, which went through all its Commons stages in one day yesterday.

14 MPs rebelled on the timetable motion (13 opposing and 1 registering a positive abstention by voting in both lobbies) which provided for its rapid passage through the Commons and 7 defied the whip to vote against the Bill's Second Reading.

CARSWELL DOUGLAS But the biggest rebellion yesterday was on an amendment tabled by Douglas Carswell, to give Parliament the final say on the interest rate on the Irish loan. He told the Commons:

"Amendment 6 seeks to ensure that the interest on this £3.2 billion overdraft extension is kept low. The small print is certainly not definitive on the subject. The summary of terms states: “The rate of interest payable on a loan will be at a fixed rate per annum equal to the aggregate of: (a) the Margin; and (b) the Sterling 7.5 year swap rate at the date of disbursement.”

"We are told by the Chancellor that, at the moment, that would be 5.9% and the document suggests that figure, but it is not definitive. We need to give the House of Commons the final say on the rate, and we need a formal means to allow the House to ratify the rate of interest.

"Hon. Members will have heard some discussion about how Iceland got a significantly lower rate. Why is that? Is Iceland a better friend? It is for public debate, public concern and the legislature, not technocrats in the Treasury and watery eyed officials, to decide the rate of interest that we charge our friend."

"Over the past seven months, we have seen what happens when the House takes its eye off the small print. We have seen what happens when we leave it to Ministers, officials and Treasury negotiators to handle the small print. For example, we have seen how non-euro member countries, such as Britain, become liable through the small print for open-ended eurozone bail-outs until 2013. That is the price we pay as a House for taking our eyes off the small print. It would be quite wrong, incidentally, to blame the previous Government for that. The deal took effect after the coalition Government came to office.

"When this House took its eye off the small print on Treasury negotiations on matters European, the Government managed somehow to sign us up to a European Council document that established a common legal framework for pan-EU economic governance. I suggest that this House should not form a habit of deferring the small print to the Treasury and its officials. It is prudent to require the Government to gain the approval of this House over the interest rate.

"The amendment goes to the heart of why we are here and why we have a House of Commons in the first place. It is the purpose of us as MPs—and it has been for many hundreds of years—to oversee what Ministers do with our money. That should include the terms under which they lend our money and the terms under which they make taxpayers liable for debts incurred through such financial arrangements. The amendment is reasonable and in line with what the Government are seeking to do—or claim that they are seeking to do—in the explanatory notes drafted by officials.

"The amendment would ensure that Ministers thought very carefully and wisely when they entered negotiations and finalised arrangements. It would also help to restore purpose to the House, which some of us would suggest has been in the past rather supine, submissive and spineless. Ultimately, it would ensure a fairer deal for our closest friend and our closest neighbour."

Continue reading "27 Tory rebels back Douglas Carswell's attempt to amend the Loans to Ireland Bill" »

15 Dec 2010 17:15:51

The Lords rebellion on tuition fees that never was

By Jonathan Isaby

Last week saw the crunch votes in the Commons on increasing the upper tuition fees limit to £9,000 and raising the cap on basic tuition fees to £6,000 pass by a majority of just 21 votes. 6 Tory MPs and 21 Liberal Democrats voted against the measures.

Yesterday the House of Lords had to approve the plans and rumours in some parts of the media of a potential government defeat proved completely foundless.

Labour tabled wrecking amendments to two motions which were defeated by 283 votes to 215 (majority 68) and 273 to 200 (majority 73) respectively.

Not a single Conservative peer voted against the Government and only five Lib Dems did so: Baonress Tonge and Lords Cotter, Fearn, Smith of Clifton and Dykes (the latter of whom only voted in one of the two divisions).

The main motions were then passed without a vote.

15 Dec 2010 07:07:41

Philip Hollobone continues to top the league table of backbench rebels

By Jonathan Isaby

It's five weeks since my last league tables noting the most rebellious Conservative backbenchers.

Since then there have been several significant rebellions which have already been noted here on ConHome, namely:

Another division during the proceedings on the Fixed Term Parliaments Bill which attracted more than a handful of rebels was Bernard Jenkin's attempt to make the Speaker's certification of a general election not subject to being questioned in any court of law. 8 Tory MPs backed that amendment.

Two further divisions saw considerable numbers of Tory MPs walking through a lobby without a single government minister or whip for company (my definition of a rebellion, as below). These related to Rebecca Harris's Private Member's Bill to introduce permanent Daylight Saving Time.

On December 3rd, 75 Tory MPs voted for the Closure motion on the Second Reading debate to allow it to go to a vote. These included 8 PPSs, 5 of whom had never before gone through a lobby without a government whip or minister for company before: Nigel Adams, Conor Burns, Tobias Ellwood, Greg Hands and Mary Macleod.  The Closure motion was passed (with more than the requisite 100 voting in favour) and only 5 Tories opposed the closure, with the only minister participating - Lib Dem Ed Davey - also opposing it.

The House then voted on the Second Reading of the Bill, again opposed by the one minister voting (Davey) along with 6 Conservative MPs. However, although the PPSs were barred from voting on the Second Reading, there were still 66 Conservatives who went through the lobby without government whips or ministers for company to back the bill.

Those who registered their first technically rebellious votes of the Parliament by backing the Closure motion and the Second Reading were: Tony Baldry, Nicola Blackwood, Karen Bradley, Roger Gale, John Glen, Marcus Jones, Brandon Lewis, Mark Pawsey, Claire Perry, Laura Sandys and David Tredinnick.

Here is the latest overall table of Top Ten Tory rebels:

  • 1 (-) Philip Hollobone (48 rebellions)
  • 2 (+1) David Nuttall (31)
  • 3 (-1) Philip Davies (27)
  • 4 (-1) Peter Bone (25)
  • 5 (-) Christopher Chope (21)
  • 6 (+1) Richard Shepherd (19)
  • 6 (+1) Andrew Turner (19)
  • 8 (-2) Bill Cash (18)
  • 9 (-) Bernard Jenkin (15)
  • 10 (New Entry) Andrew Percy (14 + 3 positive abstentions)
  • 10 (-1) David Davis (14)

And the most rebellious of the new intake are:

  • 1 (-) David Nuttall (31 rebellions)
  • 2 (-) Andrew Percy (14 + 3 positive abstentions)
  • 3 (-) Mark Reckless (12)
  • 4 (+2) Zac Goldsmith (9)
  • 5 (-1) Jacob Rees-Mogg (8 + 1)
  • 6 (-1) Steve Baker (7 + 1)

NB As previously stated, my definition of a rebellious vote is as follows: when an MP votes in a division lobby and not a single government Whip or Minister joins them in the lobby to vote the same way. This means that any vote on a Ten Minute Rule Bill is regarded as a rebellion since the "payroll vote" abstains on such motions - although as one whip pointed out to me, the "more ambitious and sensible colleagues" will similarly sit on their hands during such divisions rather than exercise their free will on the issue. A positive abstention is when an MP voted in both Aye and No lobbies.

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?


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)


  • 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


  • 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.