Bye Bye Tam

A study by academics at Nottingham University says ten out of the thirty most rebellious Labour backbenchers are not expected to contest their seats at the polls.

The ten, who have voted how they thought best, rather than how the whips told them, a total of 423 times since 2001, include the veteran campaigner Mr Dalyell, who is Father of the House of Commons, and Alice Mahon, the stalwart of the Socialist Campaign Group of MPs who acts as the shop steward for the Labour left.

Other free thinkers standing down include Llew Smith, MP for Blaenau Gwent since 1992 and a Campaign Group member, Denzil Davies, MP for Llanelli since 1970. Mr Sedgemore, the veteran MP for Hackney and Shoreditch for the past 21 years, is also leaving.

Labour MPs have increasingly been breaking free from the control of the whips, rebelling an unprecedented 300 times against the Government since Labour won power in 1997. The current parliament has been one of the most unruly in the past century. Backbench revolts against the Government whips have doubled since the last general election, with more than 200 rebellions since 2001. And a fat lot of good it has done ’em.


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