Voting in both lobbies

Lord Tyler

Those following the debate on by how much the Coalition Government should increase welfare payments in the coming years, may have noticed that some Liberal Democrat MPs voted in both lobbies of the House of Commons.  This was duly recorded, and stands as an ad hoc way for MPs to show an abstention in Hansard.

Their constituents will know that while they might have opted for different cuts or taxes elsewhere, or more borrowing, to fund a higher (perhaps inflationary) increase in benefits, they recognise a) that the Government is facing a very tough economic situation and b) that Liberal Democrat Ministers had worked hard to ensure that benefits were increased at all.  Our Coalition partners would certainly have preferred a complete freeze.

Here in the Lords, we do not have the option to show such nuance:  we must choose one side or another, or be absent.   Our Companion to the Standing Orders state “if any member votes in both lobbies in one division, his name is struck off the list of those voting in that division, and his (sic) vote is disregarded.”

In many Councils around the country, and in the European Parliament, there is a formal mechanism to record an abstention.  Since there are always more than two answers to every question, perhaps it’s time to introduce a similar choice for members of both Houses here in Westminster.

4 comments for “Voting in both lobbies

  1. MilesJSD
    10/01/2013 at 10:40 pm

    “Welfare payments” is an OK wording (qua ‘definition’);
    because it is NON spin-doctored, less-emotive, and much less “false”, than is “Benefits”.

    But so many other ‘politically-correct-terms’ are literally brazen abuses of the English language
    and thereby are deliberately, iatrogenicly, and malfeasantly inhibitive and corruptive towards the trusting, but subject and vulnerable, Mind (of The People).

    “Benefits” is one such insidiously twisted term.
    It covertly but strongly implies that becoming Unemployed, Sick, Disabled, Old Aged, Frail, Homeless, or Privationed-in-any-particular,
    is and will be a BENEFIT, to the individual- person’s life.
    Yet just and humane ‘welfare-payments’
    are all “lifesupportive allowances”: necessities;
    they are not primarily nor definitively ‘advantages/benefits’.

    Ambiguous and spin-doctored terminology, such as “benefits”, should be strictly avoided by our elders, betters, and life-controllers.

    Our judiciary highly=paid-and-protecteds (Judges) should be correcting such corruptions at source.
    So should the Monarch.

    Certainly so should our House of Lords.
    And incidentally relevantly p;erhaps,
    are there “always” more than two TRUE answers to “every question” ?

  2. Nazma FOURRE
    10/01/2013 at 11:11 pm

    My dear Lord Tyler
    No one can influence any personal opinions of lords or else this will be against human right convention regarding the freedom of expression. Everyone has the right to choose the sense of his or her votes. So stand up dear lord, fight for your rights and for your collegues so that each one can have the liberty of expressionof his or her votes.

    Hope I shall be around someday to hear the debate and I am still fishing for invitations from the house of Lords .Hope some lords send me an invitation to follow the debates.

    May God bless and save the blessed lords, the Queen and the United kingdom.
    Nazma FOURRE

  3. Gareth Howell
    12/01/2013 at 10:12 am

    I am very surprised that MPs in a democratic country have such a right and it should be curtailed in the way that Lord Tyler suggests.

  4. maude elwes
    14/01/2013 at 5:22 pm

    Voting in two lobbies sounds a bit queer to me. Isn’t that akin to having your cake whilst eating it?

    Abstain and being up front with discontent is surely the honest move. Why hide the dissatisfaction, it will only breed disdain.

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