Top of the Early Day Motions

An Early Day Motion, or EDM, is  a petition that only an MP can start and only MPs can sign. By convention, some MPs (members of the Government and senior Opposition spokesmen) generally don’t sign them. Some MPs will sign almost any EDM that passes their desk – in some cases, we might suspect, having barely looked at it. Others are more sparing with their favours.

All of which adds up to Early Day Motions not really meaning much at all, other than being a useful way for an organisation to say “we’re campaigning for all policemen to wear pink tutus, to appear less threatening, and 23 MPs from all main parties have supported our EDM”, or for the media to jump on some oddball or disloyal EDM and make a big story out of it.

One quirk of EDMs is the convention that they be no longer than a single sentence, leading to some tortuous use of punctuation to string them out.

Who’s signed the most EDMs in this Parliament?

John McDonnell (Lab, Hayes and Harlington) and Mike Hancock (LD, Portsmouth South) are the Kings of the EDM, having signed 458 and 457 respectively – over two thirds of motions that passed their desk.

Jeremy Corbyn (Lab, Islington North) comes third with 387, closely followed by John Leech (LD, Manchester Withington) on 386 and Eric Illsley (Lab, Barnsley Central) on 351. The top Conservative signer is Peter Bottomly with a creditable 350.

Who’s signed the fewest EDMs?

Over two hundred MPs have signed no EDMs. Some through convention due to their position, some through choice. Gerry Adams hasn’t found the time (surprisingly enough) and neither has my old MP John Stanley (Con, Tonbridge & Malling).

Which were the most popular EDMs?

Measuring EDM popularity is a little unfair (but only a little) since earlier EDMs had more time to gather support. However, who could fail to feel a burst of pride at EDM 499, with the third highest number of signatures.

That this House places on record its thanks and appreciation to James Robertson, Matthew Taylor, Tori Reeve, Fiona Channon, Brendon Mulvihill, Caroline Robertson, Matt Walsh, Rina Odedra, Doreen Irving, Noel Kirby, Les Stockwell, Tony McDermott and Mike Styles and their dedicated and hardworking staff who carried out the recent office reorganisation with such efficiency and cheerfulness; is aware that past post-election office changes have often lasted to the summer recess; and is therefore delighted that all hon. Members have been settled into their new offices quickly and with so little fuss.

Beating it for the number one spot with 201 signatures is EDM 178 on the Sustainable Communities Act 2007 (a fine example of painful punctuation to keep it all in one sentence against every rule of good grammar):

That this House welcomes the involvement of the many communities and local authorities in the first round of proposals from the Sustainable Communities Act 2007 and is especially heartened by the fact that this has led to people re-engaging in the democratic process; notes that this has resulted in 199 proposals for community sustainability being shortlisted by the Local Government Association; expresses its disappointment that although these proposals were initially submitted by local authorities on 31 July 2009 and were submitted to the then Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government in December 2009, not one has yet been agreed; is concerned that this delay will cause disillusionment in many communities; further notes that the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government, the hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst, has supported the introduction of a timetable for dealing with such proposals; and urges the Secretary of State to deal with all such proposals expeditiously.

Other high-scoring EDMs concern Carers Week, beak trimming of hens, the hunting act (for it) and community public houses.

And the least popular?
Since only an MP can submit an EDM, you have to be quite dedicated to get no signatures at all. A few EDMs were signed only by the submitter.

David Amess must have hoped to get more support for EDM 15

That this House notes with concern the quality of the BBC’s coverage of the recent general election, and in particular its results programme on election night; further notes the importance of accurate, timely and impartial analysis of political events to the health of democracy in the UK; and calls on the BBC to ensure its political reportage is underpinned by thorough research in future.

And whilst we’re discussing the BBC, where next for Robert Halfon’s plan to democratise Auntie?

That this House believes that the BBC should be subject to the same transparency and democracy expected of Government; considers that each licence-fee payer could be given a unique PIN number, so that they could vote annually via the internet on the BBC’s programmes, the level of BBC operational activity and administrative overheads, salaries, and on the standards of BBC programmes; considers that in each five-year Parliament there could be a vote as to whether to retain or scrap the licence fee, or to reduce it; and therefore calls on Ministers to extend their revolution in open government to the BBC and beyond.

Useful or not, Early Day Motions are nothing if not varied.

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

2 Comments

  • “Useful or not, Early Day Motions are nothing if not varied”

    And nothing if not expensive. Not a word on what a collosal waste of money and time these vanity trips really are.

  • Iain Roberts 4th Aug '10 - 4:06pm

    I was saving that for another post, Jane – though I wouldn’t use the word “collosal” – EDMs cost a couple of hundred pounds each, don’t they? Enough that you’d want to scrap them if there weren’t useful, but not enough that it would make a dent in any budget.

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 Avatarfrankie 21st Aug - 3:26pm
    Larry Elliott is a Lexiteer, so I'm afraid his reputation is shot. Yes we can all agree with his complaints about what has gone wrong,...
  • User AvatarMalcolm Todd 21st Aug - 3:16pm
    Also two people for Wales: but I note that neither Willie Rennie nor Kirsty Williams is a Westminster MP, so presumably they are to be...
  • User AvatarStephen Scott 21st Aug - 2:57pm
    The council involved in the recent abortion clinic case is in fact Ealing (Labour)
  • User Avatarnigel hunter 21st Aug - 2:56pm
    Children living in containers . Farmers worried about livelyhoods Steel works bought from abroad. Tech companies bought by Asians cos the £ is cheap. Social...
  • User AvatarPaul McGarry 21st Aug - 2:54pm
    Two people for Scotland? Presumably Jamie is just defence?
  • User AvatarDennis Wake 21st Aug - 2:37pm
    Brasilia and similar artificial capitals have not been successful. If they do become successful they will have the same problems as London. Scots people seem...
Sat 24th Aug 2019
Thu 29th Aug 2019
Mon 9th Sep 2019