The 2006-7 session still saw a Government backbench rebellion in one in five divisions, the fourth highest rate in the New Labour era (behind 2005-06, 2004-05 and 2001-02) and the seventh highest since 1979. The rate of rebellion for the Parliament as a whole remains one rebellion in every four divisions, which means the Parliament is still on course to see the highest rate of rebellion of the post-war era. The session saw 122 Labour MPs defy their whip (marginally up on the 114 in the preceding session), and the revolts over the renewal of Trident produced the largest rebellion ever by Labour MPs over their own government's defence policy. The 2006-07 session may have seen Labour dissent fall back slightly, but it did not see it vanish. There were a total of 221 divisions during the 2006-7 session, a 36 percent drop on the 343 in the preceding sessions. Excluding pre-election sessions – often curtailed, often short – this figure of 221 was the lowest number of divisions in a session since the 1995-6 session. As a result, whilst the number of Labour rebellions fell by more than 50 percent, from 95 in the 2005-6 session to 45 in 2006-7, the fall in the percentage rate of rebellion was less dramatic, from 28 percent to 20 percent. The rebellions covered a wide range of issues and bills, although the vast majority (68 percent) of Labour dissenting votes occurred over three measures: the Offender Management Bill, the Pensions Bill, and the renewal of Trident. Most of the rebellions were not large: the mean was 11 (the same as in the previous session), but the median was just three, with the mean inflated by the two very large revolts over Trident. Two-thirds of the revolts consisted of fewer than ten Labour MPs. The two largest revolts of the session – and, indeed, the Parliament as a whole - came over the Government’s proposal to renew Trident. The largest Trident revolt – on a delaying amendment moved by Jon Trickett – was backed in the lobbies by 95 Labour MPs; the rebellion on the government’s main motion saw 89 Labour MPs vote against. Revolts of this scale are extremely rare. The two largest Iraq revolts aside, there have only been two other revolts by Government MPs against the whip of this size in the entire post-war era.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Geek Alert: Labour MPs Are Revolting
Phil Cowley at Revolts.co.uk has done an in depth study into the revoltingness of Labour MPs. He concludes they are very revolting. By which, I mean, of couse, that they are much more rebellious than conventional wisdom suggests. HERE'S his report, From Blair to Brown: Dissension amongst the Parliamentary Labour Party 2006-2007: A Data Handbook. This is an extract from the Executive Summary.