The 24 Lib Dem MPs who are 100% liberal

Lib Dem Voice launched our new website – How Liberal / Authoritarian is your MP? – at the party’s spring conference on Friday.

LDV has identified 10 key votes from the 2005-10 Parliament – ranging from ID cards and freedom of speech to freedom of information and trial without jury – in order to rank all MPs according to how liberal or authoritarian their record is. All MPs are marked out of 100: the higher their score the more authoritarian they are. The lower their score the more liberal is their voting record.

24 Lib Dem MPs recorded a perfect zero score of 0/100, meaning they had voted on the liberal side of the argument in each of the 10 Commons debates we looked at. Here is the roll-call of liberalism:

    =1 Don Foster Bath Liberal Democrat 0%
    =1 Alan Beith Berwick-upon-Tweed Liberal Democrat 0%
    =1 Stephen Williams Bristol West Liberal Democrat 0%
    =1 Jenny Willott Cardiff Central Liberal Democrat 0%
    =1 Paul Holmes Chesterfield Liberal Democrat 0%
    =1 Dan Rogerson North Cornwall Liberal Democrat 0%
    =1 Chris Huhne Eastleigh Liberal Democrat 0%
    =1 Phil Willis Harrogate & Knaresborough Liberal Democrat 0%
    =1 Andrew Stunell Hazel Grove Liberal Democrat 0%
    =1 Lynne Featherstone Hornsey & Wood Green Liberal Democrat 0%
    =1 Norman Baker Lewes Liberal Democrat 0%
    =1 John Leech Manchester, Withington Liberal Democrat 0%
    =1 Evan Harris Oxford West & Abingdon Liberal Democrat 0%
    =1 Andrew George St Ives Liberal Democrat 0%
    =1 Lorely Burt Solihull Liberal Democrat 0%
    =1 David Heath Somerton & Frome Liberal Democrat 0%
    =1 John Pugh Southport Liberal Democrat 0%
    =1 Paul Burstow Sutton & Cheam Liberal Democrat 0%
    =1 Jeremy Browne Taunton Liberal Democrat 0%
    =1 Adrian Sanders Torbay Liberal Democrat 0%
    =1 Robert Smith Aberdeenshire West & Kincardine Liberal Democrat 0%
    =1 Alan Reid Argyll & Bute Liberal Democrat 0%
    =1 John Barrett Edinburgh West Liberal Democrat 0%
    =1 Alistair Carmichael Orkney & Shetland Liberal Democrat 0%

Do please use How Liberal / Authoritarian is your MP? and its built-in social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook to spread the news about how liberal or authoritarian your MP is.

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  • Simon Titley 17th Mar '10 - 9:44am

    24 is 38% of 63 MPs. What is the record of the other 39?

  • Annette Brooke also only missed one vote and scored 3% as a result. I imagine there may be one or two highly authoritarian Members who missed a vote as well and so failed to score a “perfect” 100%. Perhaps the thresholds at both ends of the spectrum should be given a small margin to cater for an unavoidable absence.

  • Terry Gilbert 17th Mar '10 - 12:04pm

    The key failing of LDV’s ranking is not the ranking of LD MPs but the spurious ‘liberalism’ it attributes to Conservatives. While the Tories may have adopted opposition to key authoritarian Government policiesin the last Parliament, enabling some of them to score well on the 10 votes LDV has picked out, the idea that these people, who enthsiastically supported Thatcher in their youth, are in any way liberals is absolutely laughable. They just happen to have voted against the Government. If there had been a Tory Government after 7/7, most of them could probably have been induced by Prime Minister Michael ‘something of the night’ Howard to lock up their own mothers on the basis of hearsay!

    LDV should stop headlining this silly and very rudimentary analysis, and highlight instead the very real divide on social liberalism between Tories and Liberal Democrats.

  • Chris Huhne Eastleigh Liberal Democrat 0%

    That’ll be the bloke who supported the Home Office’s decison to ban a Dutch MP from entering the UK for saying something unpopular about an old book.

    Perhaps looking at voting records in isolation isn’t the best way of divining how liberal an MP is.

  • I was somewhat surprised when I saw that the smoking ban wasn’t an issue deemed relevant to the liberal/authoritarian ranking but then I remembered that most of the Lib Dem MPs voted in favour of a ban… Was that the only reason why it wasn’t included? I do understand, there is an election coming up afterall.

    Will there be an editors’ post explaining why these votes in particular were chosen and why others – e.g. the votes on the smoking ban and the Lisbon treaty referendum – were not?* (Surely the Lisbon treaty vote is just as relevant as the Freedom of Information/MPs’ expenses one?) I’m not necessarily disagreeing with the selection, just curious as to the editors’ understanding of what being liberal actually entails.

    *Apologies if there is one already.

  • Stephen Tall –

    Thanks for the swift response. It’s reassuring to know it was up for discussion at least! I see your point: if it was included, people might be arguing whether the liberal MPs were those who voted in favour or those who voted against! That’s the funy thing about the ‘freedom from harm’ principle: pretty much everything can be argued on some level to ‘harm’ someone else. Liberalism ain’t easy!

    Ah yes I’d agree that it doesn’t really fit with the liberal/authoritarian split. My comparison was aimed more at questioning the selection of the MPs’ expenses bill. To me the two votes seemed more about decency and honesty in public life rather than lib/auth. Having said that, after a second look, I guess you could see the expenses bill as an authoritarian attempt to censor. (The referendum vote would be relevant because it was a manifesto pledge – at least in some form – and keeping manifesto pledges is quite important to democracy.)

  • The MPs who voted for the smoking ban voted for a bill that went well beyond what was necessary to prevent harm to others. It absolutely was an authoritarian/ liberal dichotomy and the party’s support for it was a disgrace. The fact that something is popular does not make it liberal, no matter what vaguely liberal-sounding justifications they managed to retro-fit to the decision.

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