Parliament debates bombing Iraq

commons bench by UK Parliament, file at the Hansard record of Friday September 26th’s debate on going to war, one is struck by the paucity of voices raised against this folly. Caroline Lucas, the sole Green MP and George Galloway, the Respect MP, both made telling points, but of the 24 Labour MPs who voted against, very few got to do more than interject with some challenging questions. One exception was Jeremy Corbyn who spoke powerfully against the motion: Continue reading

Iraq vote: rebels and abstainers

commons bench by UK Parliament, file at afternoon a vote was taken in the House of Commons to approve the use of air strikes (but not ground troops) in Iraq (but not Syria).  This was approved by 524 votes to 43, with the bulk of the Labour Party supporting the Coalition government. Only 23 Labour MPs joined 6 Tories, 1 Lib Dem, plus the Scottish National Party, Plaid Cymru, SDLP, Green and Respect parties. There were, however, thirty-nine Labour MPs who were either absent or abstained. This does not include the one front bench spokesperson, Rushanara Ali, who resigned after going through both the yes and no lobbies. The full list of rebels and abstainers is below. Continue reading

On this day: Labour’s great rebellion against Churchill and its own leaders

Seventy years ago today, Labour MPs mounted the biggest rebellion of the second world war against the wartime coalition government’s reluctance to implement the Beveridge report. The overwhelming majority of the parliamentary Labour Party voted against its own leadership – coalition cabinet members Clement Attlee, Herbert Morrison and Ernie Bevin who had pleaded with them not to do so.

Herbert Morrison wound up the debate for the government, in what Tory diarist described as “a balanced, clever, eloquent speech which revealed his increasing Conservatism“. His biographers, Bernard Donoghue and George Jones, nevertheless recognised that in his own party he paid “a political price for his parliamentary triumph”. Continue reading

23 Lib Dems fail to support Coalition plans for the NHS

On Monday night, not a single Lib Dem MP managed to support the Labour motion in parliament opposing the Tory plans for the NHS. What a spineless bunch, you might say, and we would not disagree.  But… we should at least recognise that they’re a deeply unhappy crowd. And we should do everything we can to encourage their divisions in order to defeat the Tory attack on the NHS. In fact 23 Lib Dem MPs failed to support “their” government.“the definitive source for academic analysis of backbench behaviour in Britain” — summarised their position like this: Continue reading