You may remember how Chief Whip Nick Brown recently castigated some of his MPs as "lazy" in a speech to journalists: "What impresses me is just how hard some Labour parliamentarians work; they wouldn't have to work quite so hard if the others worked harder."
And you may remember how he and Deputy Chief Whip Tommy McAvoy made MPs sitting on the Apprenticeships Bill sit until 4am as punishment after Dawn Butler and Sion Simon managed to lose a government clause in the bill after Butler screwed up the whipping.
Well, he wasn't taking any chances tonight, with a two-line whip as Labour sought to reinstate the deleted clauses back into the bill. Labour MPs were ordered to turn up for a series of votes from 3.30pm to 10pm.
Unfortunately, McAvoy, then failed to turn up for the start of the debate. His absence didn't go unnoticed by Tory MPs*.
Not that the hard-working Chief Whip can give him too much of a bollocking. Nick Brown clocked off before five so he could go and watch the SIX HOUR-long Lohengrin at the Royal Opera House.
Still, while Nick Brown was enjoying Wagner his "lazy" MPs were only dealing with the trivial matter of reforming child protection laws in the wake of Baby P's murder.
*"Bill Wiggin (Leominster) (Con): My hon. Friend is rightly teasing the Government for wasting the House’s time. Does he know where the Government deputy Chief Whip is — he was omnipresent in Committee, so is he ill?"
"Mr. Gibb: My hon. Friend makes a good point; the deputy Chief Whip was present throughout the later stages of our discussions. I have seen him today, looming around the Palace, so I am pleased to say that he is not ill—no doubt, he will be joining us later."
"Mr. Hayes: I am reluctant to interrupt the hon. Gentleman as I know that he takes a great interest in these matters and speaks with authority, but I thought that the House might wish to note that the deputy Chief Whip has now joined us — I presume in order to ensure that proceedings go more smoothly than they did the first time."
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
What a Goetterdaemmerung for Nick Brown
From a parliamentary correspondent...