Jo Swinson on the lack of urgency to change Parliament’s voting system

Jo was understandably furious when her pairing arrangement with the Tory chair, Brandon Lewis, was violated. She spoke about the experience at the Edinburgh International Book Festival yesterday evening.

According to the Express and Star, she said:

The mechanism of pairing is outdated and just doesn’t work.

We need a different system, which would be proxy voting, so that when you had an MP that was on parental leave, they would entrust another MP of their choice to vote on their behalf.

This is something that the House of Commons actually discussed earlier this year, and one of the committees went away and did a lot of work on how technically that could work, and produced some motions that parliament could vote on.

But those changes have been “kicked into the long grass” by the Government.

What’s most frustrating is that this was something which there was a possibility for there to be a solution before all of this happened, that the Government had deliberately said ‘we don’t think that’s necessary yet, it’s not urgent, so we’ll just kick it into the long grass – we won’t have this vote, this discussion.

Even now, they’ve tabled a debate on proxy voting for September, but that’s not going to be a debate where we actually change the procedure, so that will kick it on to another three months later.

It’s the lack of urgency to actually make the change, coupled with the Government not making the existing system work properly, that’s so frustrating.

 

Read more by or more about or .
This entry was posted in News.
Advert

4 Comments

  • I think a compelling reason to not allow proxy voting is that one of the founding principle of parliament is that of debate. I would like MPs to attend the debate on a bill, and listen to the arguments on both sides before they vote. I’ve had my mind changed on many occasions after listening to a good debate, and am sure not all MPs think they know it all and have pre-decided their view even before the debate has happened. I appreciate many people view parliament as tribal and with plenty of donkey voting (there is a lot of this), but it hasn’t always been, and there are dozens (but sadly not hundreds) of very thoughtful MPs who do actually consider the things that are being voted on. I fear proxy voting will only further encourage such tribalism and detachment from the thinking behind the voting process

  • Frank Bowles 25th Aug '18 - 9:27am

    James, the pairing system already allows MPs to miss votes and it is an insufficient mechanism to allow MPs their legal rights to be on parental or special leave. Relatively few MPs attend most debates, as they have many other things to do, and they can follow debates in their offices on Parliamentary TV. If proxy voting is made more widely available is a question for Parliament but it is a must when MPs have a legal right not to be there.

  • Drew Tinsley 25th Aug '18 - 4:31pm

    Good point about debate James, but what’s alternative do you suggest, pairing seems not to work (possibly confidently). Frank also makes a good point about MPs don’t have to be in chamber for debate anyway and frequently aren’t! This seems to be a good counter for James’ point about MPs being present for debates, they don’t have to properly listen and perhaps don’t (good way to catch-up on sleep). But like Frank said what about those legally absent; so any other suggestions?
    I have one (possibly two) to add to proxy voting – make debate attendance compulsory (and second jobs illegal for MPs).

  • Is this a case where perhaps MPs should “take back control” of their own processes from the executive?

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarTom Harney 21st Oct - 3:52am
    I would like to think that it is everyone’s duty to put forward ideas on how our country should be run. There is a lot...
  • User AvatarDavid-1 21st Oct - 12:23am
    It is not merely the task of a democratic opposition to hold a government to account; it is also (and, I might add, primarily) their...
  • User AvatarDenis Loretto 20th Oct - 11:20pm
    Just on the VONC issue it can be said that Jo was too quick in pointing out the impossibility of Corbyn getting the necessary support...
  • User AvatarArnold Kiel 20th Oct - 10:51pm
    John Marriott, here is my explanation: leavers in 2016 had indeed no clue and were lied to. Their vote had nothing to do with the...
  • User AvatarJames Pugh 20th Oct - 10:20pm
    @Nigel Jones No actually. Should Bulgaria raise it's minimum wage from 1.7 euros per hour to be on part with ours? Or should Sweden, Norway,...
  • User AvatarNonconformistradical 20th Oct - 10:10pm
    "The last thing we want is a race towards the USA’s methods under which too many people work excessive hours; we have already gone far...