Some interesting links: rebel MPs, e-petitions, hung parliaments, and political disengagement

1. Rebels of the Chamber Isabel Hardman has a fascinating piece looking at some of the most rebellious backbench MPs in the UK House of Commons: Once an MP starts down the route of the serial rebel, it seems easier for the whips to leave them be. Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn, is one such example. “A whip called me once, saying: ‘I just wanted to confirm that you will definitely be voting against us tonight’,” he says. “I replied, yes, your intelligence is right.” 2. Procedure Committee releases its report on e-Petitions In an earlier post, I reported on a hearing of the UK House of Commons Procedure Committee into the Government’s e-petitions scheme. The Committee recently released its […]

No backbench rebellions, please, we’re Canadians

There has been much media focus in the United Kingdom over the numerous government backbench rebellions among both Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs since May 2010. This is regularly monitored on the Revolts.co.uk website. By September 2011, the number of Coalition Commons rebellions so far this Parliament stood at 150, a rebellion rate of a rebellion in 44% of votes. Sixty-six of those rebellions involved Liberal Democrat MPs, a rate of a rebellion in 19% of votes. More recently, Mark Pack took a closer look at the Liberal Democrat rebellions, and provided quite a few interesting statistics which you can read here. I have previously written that such large scale rebellions are practically unheard of in the Canadian House of […]

On Members’ attire

Robert Flello (Stoke-on-Trent South) (Lab): I pay tribute to all the public sector workers we rely on time and time again, and in particular those in Staffordshire. Over many months, I have had letters from serving police officers concerned about the Winsor report and the knock-on effect on morale, and about A19 and losing senior officers. Now they are concerned about the fact that having been called on at our time of need—out on the streets, putting themselves in the firing line—they are having their leave cancelled and having to give up holidays due to overtime requirements. It was an hour and a half before we heard the words “Her Majesty’s inspectorate of constabulary”, and we have heard nothing about […]

Some interesting links

1. Time to salute the post-2010 election Parliament BBC parliamentary correspondent Mark D’Arcy has a good column providing an interesting overview of the current UK Parliament and an assessment of some of the many reforms introduced in the dying days of the previous Parliament and at the outset of this one: “So I’m afraid, as I head off for my holidays, I’m going to indulge in a little optimism. A stronger Parliament is doing a better job. And that is a good thing for the country.” 2. The Death Penalty: A Matter of Emotion, Not Reason With efforts underway by pro-capital punishment forces to force the House to debate the issue by gathering 100,000 signatures on an e-petition, the Spectator’s […]

It’s my party

About a month ago, Samara, an independent charitable organization, founded in 2008 to study citizen engagement with Canadian democracy, released three reports based on exit interviews with Canadian MPs who had decided not to seek re-election in the next general election. While all three reports are worth looking at, I was particularly interested in the findings of the third, entitled, “It’s My Party”: Parliamentary Dysfunction Reconsidered, which blamed much of the “brokenness” of Canada’s Parliament on political parties and how they manage themselves, their members and their work. The report describes two trends. First, it found that what MPs described as their “real work” was done away from the public spotlight, in venues such as committees and party caucus meetings. […]

The empty House

If you limit your viewing of parliamentary proceedings to Question Period (in Ottawa) or Prime Minister’s Questions (in the UK), you may be under the impression that the House of Commons is always well-attended. Indeed, both events usually play out to a full House as MPs from all parties turn up for what is without question the most media-friendly event in the House. Should you decide to watch other proceedings in either House, you may well be shocked to see that more often than not, the Chamber will be close to empty, with only a skeleton crew of MPs present to ensure that the required quorum is met. In the Canadian House of Commons, 20 MPs (out of the total […]