Op-ed: When MPs vote in the House of Commons they do so as our representatives. Sometimes they follow their conscience other times hard facts.
At times they have to obey the party whip and disobey at their peril. The party whip may try to make MPs vote following the line their party is supporting but rebelling is always an option.
A rebellion can be by way of a soft option abstention or a tough direct opposition.
As a backbencher Jeremy Corbyn regularly rebelled against the party whip. He was and is a known rebel but that is no bad thing. It can and will of course make it difficult for him to make his MPs toe the party line now that he is the leader.
But his record on rebelling is pretty good and shows a Labour MP truly representing the left wing of politics and his constituents.
Jeremy Corbyn consistently voted against introducing foundation hospitals, while most Labour MPs generally voted for.
Monday there was an important vote on an amendment to the immigration bill. It would have enabled vulnerable children such in refugee camps in Europe access to the UK but it was defeated.
The vote was lost by a slim margin and according to Politics UK absent Labour MPs allowed the government to block the child refugee measure.
That article led to a debate which included the practise of 'pairing' for voting in the House of Commons.
Parliament UK describes pairing like this: "Pairing is an arrangement between two MPs of opposing parties to not vote in a particular division. This enables an MP to be absent without affecting the result of the vote as they effectively cancel each other out. Pairing is an informal arrangement which is not recognised by the House of Commons but must be registered with the Whips. Pairing is not allowed in divisions of great political importance."
But does it represent true democracy in parliament?
On the surface it may sound acceptable but it has to be 'sloppy seconds'.
Certainly there are times when an MP will not be able to attend a vote in the Commons; our MPs are after all human beings and hit by the usual stuff which can affect us all such as bereavement and ill health.
But is 'pairing' used too often and for trivial reasons?
One thing it does do is allow people to check who has voted and how and criticise perhaps unfairly.
In the end no matter how those in the inner political circle and its fringes try to spin pairing it just feels wrong and gut instinct can be telling.
Perhaps the way MPs vote in important Commons debates needs to be brought into the 21st Century by utilising technology. It should be worth any cost and as we all know MPs sit in the Commons with their IPhone or whatever gizmo to hand their fingers working away through events.
But maybe some prefer to maintain the staus quo?
SNP MP Defends Locking Himself In The Toilet During Crucial Vote
Like this writer's work please donate
British political scene
The next General Election in the UK may not be scheduled any time soon but the British political landscape is changing. With that in mind this blog will concentrate on the political scene but with a left wing perspective. Opinion pieces and news will bring you the stories that the MSM prefer to ignore.
Running a news based website is fun, time consuming and can be costly. If you would like to help the site keep afloat please use the donate button