Covid Proxy Voting: Not So Scandalous

The Spectator claimed this morning that proxy voting was the “… next parliamentary scandal waiting to happen”, pointing to the rapid growth in proxy voting in recent days as having “profound constitutional implications” as a result of over 200 Tory MPs now letting their whips vote for them, instead of casting their own independent vote. Coincidentally a couple of MPs have voiced their concerns to Guido, telling him to look at the huge numbers now placing their vote with the party authorities. It’s a good headline, though the truth is less exciting…

A massive growth in the government’s power would have the potential for scandal, however this is no executive coup. The rise in proxy voting is merely a temporary Covid-friendly issue to reduce the number of MPs crowding in the voting lobby – with the measures getting more takeup during lockdown 2. Even 203 proxy votes sitting with the Tory deputy chief whip doesn’t mean they control how votes are cast – proxy voting whips can rebel on behalf of the MP if that’s their wish.

James Forsyth called on the “bulk issuing of proxy votes [to] be reversed.” He’ll therefore be delighted to hear the freedom for MPs to easily use proxy voting is – in the words of the house – just for “during the pandemic” and is time-limited until 30th March 2021. Guido likes a scandal about MPs not doing their job properly as much as the next guy, however this isn’t it…

mdi-tag-outline Commons Procedure Proxy Voting
mdi-account-multiple-outline James Forsyth
mdi-timer November 12 2020 @ 14:21 mdi-share-variant mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-printer
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