To mark the largest rebellion by Liberal Democrat Peers, we thought that it was time we recognised those Liberal Democrat Peers most prone to rebellion, so here are the top five rebels of this Parliament so far…
1st – Baroness Tonge (26 votes against the Government)
Jenny would probably appear at or near the top of most lists of ‘Liberal Democrat Peer most likely to rebel’, so it perhaps isn’t much of a surprise to see her in such a prominent position. Whilst many of her rebellions have been on the Health and Social Care and Welfare Reform Bills, she also rebelled three times on each of the Public Bodies and European Union Bills. Surprisingly though, on only four occasions has she been a lone rebel and has been part of ten of the eleven biggest rebellions of this Parliament.
2nd – Baroness Harris of Richmond (17 votes)
Perhaps a more unexpected entry in the list, the generally loyal Deputy Speaker cast sixteen votes against the Government on the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill, reflecting the experience gleaned from seven years as Chair of the North Yorkshire Police Authority, although on six occasions she was a lone rebel. Another to vote in favour of excluding child benefit from the benefit cap yesterday, her position on this list is less likely to be a guide to future voting patterns.
3rd – Lord Maclennan of Rogart (13 votes)
Like most of you, I wouldn’t have expected this, but the former Party Leader rebelled seven times on the European Union Bill, a reminder of his commitment to Europe over a number of decades. He also rebelled earlier in the Session in votes on the Identity Documents, Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies and Public Bodies Bills. Another to rebel yesterday, he voted against the Government in both divisions, one of fourteen to do so.
4th (equal) – Lord Goodhart (11 votes)
Another relatively unexpected entry, and long-term party grandee (if there are any in the Liberal Democrats, he would have to be one of them), he rebelled six times on the European Union Bill as another longtime pro-European, but also rebelled on issues dear to his heart as a jurist, including the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Bill. He can also claim to be the first Liberal Democrat Peer to cast a vote against the Government, rebelling on the Academies Bill as early as 7 July 2010.
4th (equal) – Lord Greaves (11 votes)
An independent spirit but passionate in his liberalism, Tony has not allowed being in coalition with the Conservatives to prevent him speaking his mind, including here on the pages of Liberal Democrat Voice as time permits. His background in local government allows him to spot the impact of central government legislation on local councils, and he is quick to bring issues to the attention of ministers. And if he can’t persuade them, he will vote against them if necessary.
Honourable mentions go to Lord Dykes (10 votes), Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer (9 votes) and Lord Rodgers of Quarry Bank (9 votes).
In all, sixty-two Liberal Democrat Peers have cast at least one vote against the Government in this Parliament.