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-timer 12 November 2020 @ 14:21 12 Nov 2020 @ 14:21 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Cabinet Minister: We Will End Up Very Close to EEA

One line in James Forsyth’s column that explains why Brexiters are so concerned and why the Cabinet is split. He quotes a Cabinet minister as being upbeat on the likelihood of an EEA light option where the UK is forced to copy EU regulations and not diverge in future without the consent of Brussels:

“That’s where we’ll end up. Not in (the EEA) but very close.”

Such an outcome is unacceptable, it does not allow Britain to go its own way, it keeps us attached at the hip to the EU, it is not Brexit. Forsyth confirms Guido’s story on Monday that it is Hammond, Heywood, Rudd and Olly Robbins who are pushing for this outcome. Cabinet ministers saying we are going to end up very close to EEA membership are not delivering the will of the people, that they are so bullish about winning this argument rightly has Brexiters worried…

mdi-timer 21 September 2017 @ 11:38 21 Sep 2017 @ 11:38 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments