Saturday, January 26, 2008

Did the Labour Whips screw up on Friday?

File this under geeky, but did the Labour Whips screw up on Friday morning? Michael Fallon's private members bill on planning and energy passed its second reading in the Commons 45 votes to 0. Not all that surprising you may think, after all all the parties now (officially at least) support renewable energy, which Fallon's bill professes to promote. But the Minister responding to the debate (Hartlepool byelection winner) Iain Wright made it explicit in his speech that the Government opposed the Bill.

So why didn't he vote against it?

Well I suspect the whips got their maths wrong. A division in the Commons needs forty votes to be quorate, or else the business being debated falls. The whips must have told Wright, and the rest of the Labour loyalist vote, to stay away when the division was called expecting that Fallon and his supporters could muster less than 40 votes. Hence they could kill the bill without having to annoy the green lobby by voting against it. A cunning plan indeed, with one small flaw, it appears that the whips can't count.

2 Comments:

Blogger James Graham (Quaequam Blog!) said...

Either that or they could count, realised they didn't have enough people in the room, and decided it would be better to abstain than vote against. Any MP voting against would be subject to unhelpful literature being distributed in their constituency pointing this fact out.

6:37 pm  
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6:44 am  

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