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Remove the undemocratic whips system #94

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philipjohn commented Feb 1, 2014

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Philip John added some commits Feb 1, 2014

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PaulJRobinson commented Feb 3, 2014

RE WHIPS:

I hate the whipping system, but I'm not sure it's as easy as banning it.
It's like political parties - I would much rather have a House of Commons
full of Independent MPs, but even then they would gather into their own
groups of like-minded MPs and you would still end up with them forming into
'parties' (by some other name) in order to organise and ensure legislation
was passed.

Similarly even without formal Party Whips, or formally whipped votes, party
leadership could still make it clear the 'line' that they are taking, and
there would always be an expectation that their MPs follow that line.
Anyone that doesn't may suffer very subtly: not being selected for the
Committee on which they'd like to sit; not being made a PPS or a Junior
Minister; not being allocated a decent office in Portcullis House
(apparently that's at the whim of Party Leadership - ie the Whip's Office);
not having a Cabinet heavyweight come and visit their swing constituency
when they're hoping to be re-elected; leadership putting pressure on the
Association to not reselect them at the next election. There are numerous
discreet and not so discreet ways the leadership can manipulate and cajole
their MPs to do their bidding. It's awful, but I think it would continue
for as long as parties exist.

Ultimately constituents will (hopefully) reward MPs who demonstrate they
have independence of spirit and are better at representing their own
interests than that of their party leader.

with kind regards,
Paul Robinson

about.me/pauljrobinson

On 1 February 2014 20:56, philipjohn notifications@github.com wrote:


You can merge this Pull Request by running

git pull https://github.com/philipjohn/manifesto whips

Or view, comment on, or merge it at:

#94
Commit Summary

  • Housing
  • Adding rent stabilisation
  • Remove undemocratic whips

File Changes

  • M democracy.mdhttps://github.com//pull/94/files#diff-0(2)
  • A housing.mdhttps://github.com//pull/94/files#diff-1(17)
  • M index.mdhttps://github.com//pull/94/files#diff-2(1)

Patch Links:

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philipjohn commented Feb 3, 2014

I agree they'll still do it, but it's much easier WITH the whips system, which provides the party leaderships with a ready made tool to bully and cajole MPs. We should take that away tool from those... tools.

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frankieroberto commented Feb 3, 2014

There's 3 file changes wrapped up in this one pull request. Can you separate them please.

I agree with @PaulJRobinson in that it's not as simple as 'abolishing the whips' – politicians should be free to collaborate together in this collective vote-as-one-block way if they so choose.

However it might be worth removing any formal recognition of whips within parliament (such as official job titles and associated salaries), but I'm no expert on how this works.

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Floppy commented Feb 3, 2014

@frankieroberto @philipjohn yes, I think there is some housing stuff included here accidentally.

Regarding the main thrust of the PR; I agree, whips are evil. Regarding subtle influence, I think we need to widen the scope a little, and make it illegal to seek to coerce any MP into voting a particular way. That way, whips are banned automatically, and if it can be shown that subtle influence is happening, then investigations can be done, etc.

I figure there is some existing electoral law we can use here - I guess it's illegal to make a member of the public vote a particular way. Why should that be any different in the Commons? (or Lords, or local councils, etc etc)

👍 from me as is, but I'd like to see it extended as well.

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philipjohn commented Feb 4, 2014

Sorry chaps, must have messed up my branches. Now fixed.

I like that idea @Floppy so I tried to find something along those lines but so far coming up empty handed. Not entirely sure I'm using the right phrases to search... any ideas?

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Floppy commented Feb 4, 2014

Also, offences are listed in http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1983/2 - search for "Personation" for the start of the section. I can't see anything in there that explicitly states that it's illegal to exchange a vote for favours or prospects; there is obviously stuff on direct bribery, but I'm not sure about the more implicit stuff. Anyone else know?

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philipjohn commented Feb 8, 2014

How's this, folks?

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Floppy commented Feb 8, 2014

I think that's a bit wide. Doesn't that make me asking my MP to vote a certain way on a certain issue illegal?

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philipjohn commented Feb 9, 2014

I guess it does. An exception for constituents probably wouldn't cut it
either, would it? Otherwise, campaign groups would find their jobs more
difficult... I'm wary of restricting it just to political parties, but
would you say that's the right way to go?

E.g. "A new criminal offence will be created outlawing the influencing of
the parliamentary vote of any sitting MP by a political party, other MPs or
the Government."

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frankieroberto commented Feb 9, 2014

I'm not sure this is a good idea. Influencing parliamentary votes is how democracy should work...

A limited policy of reforming parliamentary roles and removing official support / recognition of whips might get my vote. Needs a bit more research though – i.e. what do they do (officially) at the moment?

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PaulJRobinson commented Feb 10, 2014

Can I be a gigantic pain in the backside and change my mind? I'm coming round to the idea of a simple PR stating "Every vote in the House of Commons should be a free vote". The government should have to convince and persuade and build a fresh coalition of votes from across the House on every Bill put before Parliament. I wouldn't ban whips. Whips would still exist in order to be the government's people on the ground who go around trying to build those coalitions. But because every vote is a free vote they have to use persuasion rather than coercion.

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frankieroberto commented Feb 10, 2014

@PaulJRobinson How is that different from the status quo?

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PaulJRobinson commented Feb 10, 2014

Because the vast majority of votes at the moment are whipped votes. Very
few are considered 'matters of conscience' and given a free vote. I propose
that all votes are free votes, but that the Whips (the roles/positions)
continue to exist in order to allow the government to gather together
enough votes (from whichever parties) in order to pass their legislation.

with kind regards,
Paul Robinson

about.me/pauljrobinson

On 10 February 2014 11:23, Frankie Roberto notifications@github.com wrote:

@PaulJRobinson https://github.com/PaulJRobinson How is that different
from the status quo?

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frankieroberto commented Feb 10, 2014

But isn't the whipping system fairly unofficial? i.e. all votes are technically 'free votes'.

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Floppy commented Feb 10, 2014

I have no problem with people trying to build consensus, but the shadowy world of trading benefits and influence for toeing the party line must be stopped. Whether I get a corner office overlooking the Thames shouldn't be affected by whether I voted in line with my party. I'm sure there must be proposals out there on this. Will look around.

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PaulJRobinson commented Feb 10, 2014

No each party makes clear distinctions to their MPs for each Bill that goes
through Parliament: Most are whipped votes (you're expected to follow party
line unless very good reason not to eg an MP made it clear during their
election campaign that they disagreed with that particular element of their
manifesto - many 'rebel' Tories make it clear they want to leave the EU
when they get elected even though it's not official party policy); a Three
Line Whip (you will bloody well turn up and vote along party lines or
expect to be removed from the party) or a free vote (ie no official party
line on the matter, for example this afternoon's vote banning smoking in
cars with children is a free vote). There may well be others of which I'm
not aware. I have no idea if there is a Two Line Whipped vote for example.

with kind regards,
Paul Robinson

about.me/pauljrobinson

On 10 February 2014 11:35, Frankie Roberto notifications@github.com wrote:

But isn't the whipping system fairly unofficial? i.e. all votes are
technically 'free votes'.

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PaulJRobinson commented Feb 10, 2014

Better clarity here on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whip_(politics)

In the United Kingdom, there are three categories of whip that are issued
on particular business. An express instruction how to vote could constitute
a breach of parliamentary privilege, so the party's wishes are expressed
unequivocally but indirectly. These whips are issued to MPs in the form of
a letter outlining the parliamentary schedule, with a sentence such as
"Your attendance is absolutely essential" next to each debate in which
there will be a vote, underlined one, two or three times according to the
severity of the whip:

  • A single-line whip is a guide to what the party's policy would
    indicate, and notification of when the vote is expected to take place; this
    is non-binding for attendance or voting.
  • A two-line whip, sometimes known as a double-line whip, is an
    instruction to attend and vote; partially binding for voting, attendance
    required unless prior permission given by the whip.
  • A three-line whip is a strict instruction to attend and vote, breach
    of which would normally have serious consequences. Permission not to attend
    may be given by the whip, but a serious reason is needed. Breach of a
    three-line whip can lead to expulsion from the parliamentary political
    group in extreme circumstances and may lead to expulsion from the party.
    Consequently, three-line whips are generally only issued on key issues,
    such as votes of
    confidencehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motion_of_Confidence
    and supply http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loss_of_Supply. The nature of
    three-line whips and the potential punishments for revolt vary dramatically
    among parties and legislatures. Disobeying a three-line whip is by
    definition a newsworthy event, indicating as it does a potential mutiny; an
    example was the decision on 10 July 2012 by 91 Conservative MPs to vote
    against Prime Minister David
    Cameronhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Cameron on
    the issue of reform of the House of
    Lordshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reform_of_the_House_of_Lords
    .[16] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whip_(politics)#cite_note-16

with kind regards,
Paul Robinson

about.me/pauljrobinson

On 10 February 2014 11:41, Paul Robinson robinson.pauljames@gmail.comwrote:

No each party makes clear distinctions to their MPs for each Bill that
goes through Parliament: Most are whipped votes (you're expected to follow
party line unless very good reason not to eg an MP made it clear during
their election campaign that they disagreed with that particular element of
their manifesto - many 'rebel' Tories make it clear they want to leave the
EU when they get elected even though it's not official party policy); a
Three Line Whip (you will bloody well turn up and vote along party lines or
expect to be removed from the party) or a free vote (ie no official party
line on the matter, for example this afternoon's vote banning smoking in
cars with children is a free vote). There may well be others of which I'm
not aware. I have no idea if there is a Two Line Whipped vote for example.

with kind regards,
Paul Robinson

about.me/pauljrobinson

On 10 February 2014 11:35, Frankie Roberto notifications@github.comwrote:

But isn't the whipping system fairly unofficial? i.e. all votes are
technically 'free votes'.

Reply to this email directly or view it on GitHubhttps://github.com//pull/94#issuecomment-34621953
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frankieroberto commented Feb 10, 2014

But as it says, these are indirect instructions, and are part of the party system, not parliament itself.

I'm not sure you can (or should) legislate on how a party negotiates internally on how their MPs vote.

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philipjohn commented Feb 10, 2014

I think there are two issues here;

  1. Whipping coerces MPs to vote a certain way, sometimes against their own
    wishes or those of their constituents (read: Iraq War). It flies directly
    in the face of representative democracy (caveats to that aside).

  2. Whips are effectively Government agents. I've just remembered there's a
    more official name for them, Lords of the Treasury with First Lord of the
    Treasury being the PM, Second the Chancellor and the others are whips.
    Appointing them increases the size of the Government, strengthening the
    Government's hold on the Commons
    . The size of Government has doubled
    since 1900[1].

Those are the reasons for proposing the whips system be dropped, by
whatever means we think best.

interestingly, this stood out to me from your comment @PaulJRobinson: "Breach
of a three-line whip can lead to expulsion from the parliamentary
political group
in extreme circumstances and may lead to expulsion from the party." One
approach might therefore be to use a mechanism akin to unfair dismissal to
outlaw party expulsion on those grounds. That would allow whips (although
honestly for reason 2 above I think they need to go) but eradicate the fear
MPs associate with rebelling.

An interesting way to think of this whole issue is around "parliamentary
supremacy" (as much as I hate that phrase) - that supremacy is based on
representation, and an unrepresentative Parliament (i.e. one controlled by
the leadership - via whipping - of three parties who have a combined
membership less than that of the RSPB[2]) cannot justifiably be the supreme
legal authority.

Refs
1.
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmpubadm/457/45703.htm
2.
http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/feb/06/party-political-system-decline-lord-odonnell

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PaulJRobinson commented Feb 11, 2014

There is another counter argument to @philipjohn's point above that perhaps
hasn't been articulated yet: All MPs (other than Independents - and there
are few of those) stood for election on the basis that they back a
particular party manifesto. In return for backing that manifesto they get
support of the party machine, and the name recognition, that helped them
get elected. They didn't have to do that. They could have stood on their
own banner as an Independent, but we all know they probably wouldn't have
won.

So they did the deal with the devil, and now they're in Parliament. Those
constituents who put them there made a choice to put a Con/Lab/LD/Green etc
to represent them. Doesn't the Party who helped them get into Parliament
(and those constituents who put them there) have the right to expect the MP
to vote in line with that manifesto?

Speaking for myself I made a decision to stand for election to Council in
2011, and I did so under a party banner. I was elected despite nobody
knowing my name, but because they wanted someone from that party to
represent them, and to implement that particular manifesto. Now in 2014 I
would rather be an Independent and go against my party. But that wasn't
what voters elected me to do. So I shall serve the remainder of my term to
fulfil my duty to them, and continue on that basis for the next 15 months.
I think that's the honourable thing to do.

So one could argue that Whips help ensure that MPs are fulfilling their
promise to those who elected them. MPs took the party support and resources
when it suited them during the campaign, and now they should fulfil their
side of the deal.

with kind regards,
Paul Robinson

about.me/pauljrobinson

On 10 February 2014 19:02, philipjohn notifications@github.com wrote:

I think there are two issues here;

  1. Whipping coerces MPs to vote a certain way, sometimes against their own
    wishes or those of their constituents (read: Iraq War). It flies directly
    in the face of representative democracy (caveats to that aside).

  2. Whips are effectively Government agents. I've just remembered there's a
    more official name for them, Lords of the Treasury with First Lord of the
    Treasury being the PM, Second the Chancellor and the others are whips.
    Appointing them increases the size of the Government, strengthening the
    Government's hold on the Commons
    . The size of Government has doubled
    since 1900[1].

Those are the reasons for proposing the whips system be dropped, by
whatever means we think best.

interestingly, this stood out to me from your comment @PaulJRobinson:
"Breach
of a three-line whip can lead to expulsion from the parliamentary
political group
in extreme circumstances and may lead to expulsion from the party." One
approach might therefore be to use a mechanism akin to unfair dismissal to
outlaw party expulsion on those grounds. That would allow whips (although
honestly for reason 2 above I think they need to go) but eradicate the fear
MPs associate with rebelling.

An interesting way to think of this whole issue is around "parliamentary
supremacy" (as much as I hate that phrase) - that supremacy is based on
representation, and an unrepresentative Parliament (i.e. one controlled by
the leadership - via whipping - of three parties who have a combined
membership less than that of the RSPB[2]) cannot justifiably be the supreme
legal authority.

Refs
1.

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmpubadm/457/45703.htm
2.

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/feb/06/party-political-system-decline-lord-odonnell

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Floppy commented Feb 11, 2014

It's a fair point, but it assumes that parties stick to their pre-election promises and manifestos, which we all know they do not. Especially in this case where there is a coalition agreement which supercedes everything pre-election (and even that's not being stuck to, I don't think).

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Floppy commented Feb 11, 2014

I see this as an attempt to reduce the influence of party politics in general. I agree that whips are an essential component of party politics, but it's party politics that has people disillusioned. It's explicitly not something we believe in here (we are aiming for direct democracy in the long run), so removing the influence of the whips is a step along that road.

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philipjohn commented Feb 11, 2014

Good point, well made. Here's my rebuttal :)

  1. "They could have stood on their own banner as an Independent, but we all
    know they probably wouldn't have won."
    This is a weakness of the party political system, so rather than except the
    whips as necessary result, we should seek to fix the broken system instead.
  2. "Those constituents who put them there made a choice to put a
    Con/Lab/LD/Green etc to represent them."
    With the caveat that I need to offer more than presumptions, I think it's
    widely acknowledged that most voters don't know what's in the manifestos
    they're voting for.
  3. "Doesn't the Party who helped them get into Parliament (and those
    constituents who put them there) have the right to expect the MP to vote in
    line with that manifesto?"
    To start with, it is accepted, I believe, that party members don't always
    believe in the tenets of the official manifesto - you only need to look at
    the conference policy votes to see dissenters to the official line
    Secondly, the party has NO right whatsoever to influence the commons. it
    is the democratically elected body representing the people - only the
    people have the right to influence it.
  4. "But that wasn't what voters elected me to do."
    I'd disagree - whether they chose a party because their own views broadly
    align with that party is of no consequence. Elected representative are
    there to represent, in the best interests of their constituents,
    not in the best interests of themselves or their party. I can't find it
    but I'm sure I'd submitted a PR that includes the proposal to give MPs
    tools to better consult constituents on issues, for this very reason. We
    need to encourage more representative politics and less party politics.
  5. "and now they should fulfil their side of the deal"
    Whether explicit or implied, there can be no such deal - it devalues the
    democratic election and leads to apathy.
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PaulJRobinson commented Feb 11, 2014

All very good points indeed. With reference to James' earlier point
regarding direct democracy, I suppose the point we are arguing over here is
on the basis that we stick with a representative system. I'm very much in
favour of moving away from representative towards direct democracy. I think
we now have the tools to do this. Direct Democracy would certainly negate
the need to discuss this particular point about the value of the whipping
system. Nevertheless that's what we're discussing here. I have a few more
thoughts on each of @philipjohn's points above:

  1. Agreed: I would like to fix the system to improve the chances for
    smaller parties and independents to get elected. I think electoral reform,
    and funding reform, will help.
  2. I agree that most voters probably don't know what's in the manifesto of
    the MP who gets elected. That information is freely available though. I
    also agree with James that much of what MPs are asked to vote for isn't in
    a manifesto (eg the Coalition Agreement). But where a Bill does match a
    manifesto commitment, public ignorance of that manifesto does not justify
    ignoring that commitment. Otherwise you end up with lots of scenarios
    replicating the Lib Dems reneging on their tuition fee pledge.
  3. "Only the people have the right to influence it". Coalitions built
    behind closed doors after an election which bear no relation to manifestos
    are at odds with this concept. But how else to deal with a Hung Parliament?
    Can't keep on holding election after election.
  4. I'm very supportive of better tools to enhance consultation with
    residents.
  5. I think politicians do have a responsibility and a duty to fulfil the role that constituents elected them
    to do. Unilaterally declaring a switch of positions like Nick Clegg with
    tuition fees, just erodes trust. Perhaps the whipping system helps force
    MPs to maintain that trust, by sticking to their election commitments.

OK so in summary: I favour Direct Democracy - which would allow us to get
rid of whipping. In the meantime let's have more free votes relating to
non-manifesto commitments.

On 11 February 2014 10:57, philipjohn notifications@github.com wrote:

Good point, well made. Here's my rebuttal :)

  1. "They could have stood on their own banner as an Independent, but we all
    know they probably wouldn't have won."
    This is a weakness of the party political system, so rather than except the
    whips as necessary result, we should seek to fix the broken system instead.
  2. "Those constituents who put them there made a choice to put a
    Con/Lab/LD/Green etc to represent them."
    With the caveat that I need to offer more than presumptions, I think it's
    widely acknowledged that most voters don't know what's in the manifestos
    they're voting for.
  3. "Doesn't the Party who helped them get into Parliament (and those
    constituents who put them there) have the right to expect the MP to vote in
    line with that manifesto?"
    To start with, it is accepted, I believe, that party members don't always
    believe in the tenets of the official manifesto - you only need to look at
    the conference policy votes to see dissenters to the official line
    Secondly, the party has NO right whatsoever to influence the commons. it
    is the democratically elected body representing the people - only the
    people have the right to influence it.
  4. "But that wasn't what voters elected me to do."
    I'd disagree - whether they chose a party because their own views broadly
    align with that party is of no consequence. Elected representative are
    there to represent, in the best interests of their constituents,
    not in the best interests of themselves or their party. I can't find it
    but I'm sure I'd submitted a PR that includes the proposal to give MPs
    tools to better consult constituents on issues, for this very reason. We
    need to encourage more representative politics and less party politics.
  5. "and now they should fulfil their side of the deal"
    Whether explicit or implied, there can be no such deal - it devalues the
    democratic election and leads to apathy.

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frankieroberto commented Feb 11, 2014

On the bigger question, I'm not convinced about 'direct democracy' vs 'representative democracy'.

Even if we were to favour the former though, I’m not sure that abolishing whips is the best way to achieve this, or even if it's workable. You can't ban MPs from voluntarily voting with their party / a group...

I can't support this PR as it stands.

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philipjohn commented Feb 11, 2014

I'll respond fully later, but on this one: "You can't ban MPs from
voluntarily voting with their party / a group..." this PR isn't doing that,
it's attempting to do prevent parties from restricting MPs voting
freedom. They can vote with their party if they wish to, but they shouldn't
be forced to by a system of bullying and threats.

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frankieroberto commented Feb 11, 2014

@philipjohn the PR bans 'the influencing of the parliamentary vote' – this seems crazy. It would make writing to your MP to try and persuade them to vote a particular way a criminal offence!

I can understand the desire to have more independently minded MPs, but I don’t think you can achieve this by simply banning parties from asking their MPs to vote as a block. You could, for instance, make all parliamentary votes secret ballots – however I think this would be terrible.

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Floppy commented Feb 12, 2014

Yeah, I agree here. We need to limits the power of the whips, but this is far too broadly written as is. As @frankieroberto points out, it would make asking your MP to vote on something illegal, which is far too broad. I'm also 👎 as currently written, though I agree with the principle.

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philipjohn commented Feb 15, 2014

Wouldn't returning to my original suggestion deal with that? edae5e7

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frankieroberto commented Feb 15, 2014

Your original suggestion banned whips, and made all votes 'free votes', but gave no suggestion as to how this could be implemented – parties could simply rename whips, declare all votes free, but give strong suggestions as to how their MPs vote, which in effect is what we have now.

I think the most constructive thing to do would be to allow the current system to continue, but to look at the incentives for MPs to follow their parties, such that they're more likely to feel able to rebel. For instance, at the moment party leaders can appoint their cabinet from amongst their MPs, which basically allows them to decide who gets a big pay rise and more responsibility. So one idea might be to separate the Executive (i.e. the Government) and the Legislature (i.e. Parliament) more, with politicians transferring between these through some process other than the patronage of the Prime Minister.

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Floppy commented Mar 20, 2014

Just had a conversation with @francisdavey, who has suggested an "Open Whip" system which might be an interesting compromise between the need for whips to keep a party together, and the desire for transparency and accountability. Currently, unless someone leaks the whip, nobody outside parliament knows which votes are whipped and to what level. Could we make it a requirement that the whip must be published openly, preferably at the same time the MPs get it? Is that a middle ground that gives us a way forward on this?

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PaulJRobinson commented Mar 20, 2014

@Floppy sounds good

On 20 March 2014 08:54, James Smith notifications@github.com wrote:

Just had a conversation with @francisdaveyhttps://github.com/francisdavey,
who has suggested an "Open Whip" system which might be an interesting
compromise between the need for whips to keep a party together, and the
desire for transparency and accountability. Currently, unless someone leaks
the whip, nobody outside parliament knows which votes are whipped and to
what level. Could we make it a requirement that the whip must be published
openly, preferably at the same time the MPs get it? Is that a middle ground
that gives us a way forward on this?

Reply to this email directly or view it on GitHubhttps://github.com//pull/94#issuecomment-38145599
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frankieroberto commented Mar 20, 2014

@Floppy that seems like something which should be encouraged, but I'm not sure how it could be enforced (or if it should be). We can already tell whether an MP voted with their party or not, after all.

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Floppy commented Mar 20, 2014

Yes, but the question is whether they were told to or not. More transparency can only be a good thing here. I'm not too worried about enforcement at this point, more the principle.

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philipjohn commented Mar 20, 2014

I want to agree to that as a short-term compromise, my thinking being that it'd change nothing in the Commons at all but might show the public that their MPs aren't working for them, but the party.

However, I am cynical enough to be almost certain that the general public would know about as much about "open whips" as they do about the present system (i.e., diddly squat). That leaves us in the same position where the party decides and public opinion gets brushed aside (I'm gonna have to bring up Iraq again on that point...).

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PaulJRobinson commented Mar 24, 2014

👎

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Floppy commented Apr 3, 2014

This is drawn too widely at the moment. How about:

  • Whips are allowed as a necessary evil for the operation of parties (while they exist)
  • The whip must be published openly when given to party members
  • Make it illegal for voting record to be considered when:
    • allocating benefits (offices, etc)
    • considering people for posts (e.g. in executive)
    • dismissing a person from a party (i.e. unfair dismissal)
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frankieroberto commented Apr 3, 2014

@Floppy I'm not sure how 'to be considered' is workable – very hard to prove either way.

Better in my view to examine the system of punishment / benefits themselves:

  • dismissal from a party is a party political matter, not something I believe should be legislated
  • allocating offices is really important – perhaps shouldn't be the privilege of the Prime Minister (technically the Monarch, but in practice the PM) – instead perhaps subject to the vote of Parliament, or directly elected, or approved by a committee?
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Floppy commented Apr 3, 2014

The dismissal thing may not be workable, I admit.

Perhaps the only way to remove the influence of party loyalty is to take decisions away from the parties, as you suggest. Random allocation of offices seems obvious, and the idea of more separation of legislature and executive seems good, but would need a much larger PR than this to accomplish.

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philipjohn commented Apr 3, 2014

A quick win on that might be to have Cabinet appointments subject to
approval by a Commons vote.

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PaulJRobinson commented Apr 7, 2014

Apparently before it used to be the case that any Cabinet (or ministerial) appointment was subject to constituency approval. It was considered 'swapping sides' because the MP would no longer be free to vote in favour or genuine constituency interests as they would be obliged to vote alongside Government. So an MP would call a by-election before accepting such a post. I quite like that idea!

http://www.election.demon.co.uk/causes.html

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philipjohn commented Apr 7, 2014

@PaulJRobinson Wow, that's interesting!

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philipjohn commented May 11, 2015

I'm aware this is dead, but I thought it worth sharing thoughts I blogged today that go some way to the reasoning behind the suggestion of abolishing whips.
http://philipjohn.me.uk/2015/05/11/majority-government-powerful-government-the-stability-fallacy/

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Floppy commented May 11, 2015

Nice. I'd still like to see this turned into something workable one day :)

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Floppy commented Feb 8, 2017

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