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:
- The motion on EU Economic Governance – 25 rebels
- The Equitable Life (Payments) Bill – 8 rebels and 1 positive abstention
- Bill Cash's attempt to make future early elections subject to a Commons motion passed by a simple majority – 9 rebels
- Increasing tuition fees – 6 rebels
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.