By Jonathan Isaby
Two weeks ago I published the first in a regular series of tables noting the most rebellious Conservative backbenchers.
Since then there has been a further series of votes on various aspects of the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill (which will reduce the number of constituencies and set up the AV Referendum) so it is a good moment to take stock of the running totals.
First, here are the top five rebellions from the proceedings on the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill:
- Charles Walker Amendment to reduce the size of government in line with the reduction in size of the Commons (25 October) – 20 rebels backed the amendment and there were 3 positive abstentions*
- Bill Cash Amendment to introduce turnout threshold of 40% (2 November) – 19 rebels backed the amendment and there were 2 positive abstentions
- Graham Brady Amendment to allow all British citizens overseas to vote in the AV Referendum (18 October) – 16 rebels backed the amendemnt
- 3rd Reading of the Bill (2 November) – 14 rebels opposed the 3rd Reading and there was 1 positive abstention
- Bernard Jenkin Amendment to set Referendum date apart from other elections (12 October) – 13 rebels backed the amendment
* Positive abstention is when an MP voted in both Aye and No lobbies
Here is the latest table of Top Ten Tory rebels:
- 1 (-) Philip Hollobone (34 rebellions)
- 2 (+1) Philip Davies (22)
- 3 (-1) Peter Bone (20)
- 3 (-) David Nuttall (20)
- 5 (-2) Christopher Chope (18)
- 6 (-) Bill Cash (15)
- 7 (-) Richard Shepherd (12)
- 7 (+3) Andrew Turner (12)
- 9 (-2) David Davis (10)
- 9 (-) Bernard Jenkin (10)
And the most rebellious of the new intake:
- 1 (-) David Nuttall (20 rebellions)
- 2 (-) Andrew Percy (7 + 3 positive abstentions)
- 3 (-) Mark Reckless (7)
- 4 (-) Jacob Rees-Mogg (5 + 1)
- 5 (+1) Steve Baker (4 + 1)
- 6 (-) Zac Goldsmith (4)
- 6 (-1) Karl McCartney (4)
- 6 (-1) Bob Stewart (4)
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.
"It suggests "rebellion has become the norm and cohesion the exception". They claim the coalition is "saddled with two wobbly wings", and the opportunities for rebellion are likely to grow. So far, 89 coalition MPs have broken ranks against the government – 67 of them Conservatives. In percentage terms at least one Tory MP has broken ranks in 35% of whipped votes; at least one Lib Dem MP has done so in 28%. These two figures add up to more than 54%, because in some votes both parties had dissenters."