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The University of Nottingham Parliament and Parliamentary Reform Philip Cowley.

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1 The University of Nottingham Parliament and Parliamentary Reform Philip Cowley

2 The University of Nottingham The House of Commons… had [1995] yet to adopt that posture of slavishness and ineffectuality that now characterises it. - Simon Heffer (2005) Labour backbenchers — the most supine Members of Parliament in British history — must decide where their loyalty lies. – Roy Hattersley (2005) In decline?

3 The University of Nottingham It is one of the assured parts of his [Blair’s] legacy that he leaves the House of Commons in a far worse state than he found it. The place is a glimmer of its former self... – Henry Porter (2007) In decline?

4 The University of Nottingham In decline? The Executive in Britain is now more powerful in relation to Parliament than it has been probably since the time of Walpole… The whips have enforced party discipline more forcefully and fully than they did in the past.

5 The University of Nottingham Four criticisms Blair’s attitude ‘Modernisation’ Lords reform Labour MPs – especially the women

6 The University of Nottingham But imagine a parliament… With rock solid discipline With part-time MPs, with no resources With MPs isolated from their constituents With no investigatory scrutiny committees With a defunct second chamber

7 The University of Nottingham MPs now more likely… to come from their constituency to live in their constituencies to have staffed offices in their constituency to spend time in the constituency to receive mail (and s) to be writing to their constituents

8 The University of Nottingham The rise of the Lords Effectively dead in 1950s More than 400 defeats since 1999 Russell and Scaria: 40% stick Forget Tony’s cronies Hung (29%) – and will stay so (until election)

9 The University of Nottingham Modernisation Meaningless term - meaning different things to different people Patchy – and dependent on people (both LoH and CW) But not all bad: Changes to Select Committees Standing Committees PQs Timetable Carry-over Westminster Hall, Liaison Committee

10 The University of Nottingham …and more likely to defy the whip A majority of 60+, but four defeats Free votes and other retreats Rebellions runs at 28% in first session Other victories by single figures Other victories thanks to Conservative support

11 The University of Nottingham % rate of rebellion, whole parliament

12 The University of Nottingham % rate of rebellion, first sessions,

13 The University of Nottingham Record breakers Largest rebellion since the repeal of the Corn Laws (Iraq) Largest ever Labour rebellion on a health issue (foundation hospitals) Largest ever Labour rebellion on an education issue (top-up fees) Equal largest rebellion at Second Reading (top-up fees) since 1945 Largest ever Labour rebellion at Third Reading (schools reform) Largest ever Labour defence rebellion (Trident)

14 The University of Nottingham 4259 votes cast against the Conservative whip,

15 The University of Nottingham 6520 votes cast against the Labour whip,

16 The University of Nottingham Casts a rebellious vote in roughly one in every 10 divisions And the average rebel casts a dissenting vote in roughly one in every 100 divisions

17 The University of Nottingham Correlation, rebellions and

18 The University of Nottingham Correlation, rebellions and

19 The University of Nottingham Correlation, rebellions and

20 The University of Nottingham How long do honeymoons last? Shortest: Churchill (1951): 5 days Major: 6 days Callaghan: 7 days Thatcher: 20 days Attlee: 5 months Blair: 6 months Longest Wilson (1964): 16 months

21 The University of Nottingham GB’s honeymoon lasted: 45 minutes

22 The University of Nottingham More record breakers Record was:Under GB: Time till first revolt 5 days (Churchill) 45 minutes No of rebellions in first month 2 (Major)9 Largest rebellion in first month 7 (Major)17 Total no of MPs to rebel in first month 8 (Major)21

23 The University of Nottingham Rebellious votes in first month of premierships,

24 The University of Nottingham The Governance of Britain Restoring power? Vote for armed conflict Vote for dissolution Scrutiny of treaties Departmental debates Vote for Recall Regional Committees


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