Our Experts Comment the Times Series

See All the Comments


18 October 2019 by jbchevrel

Saturday the Brexit deal passes the Commons, Sunday France beats Wales in the rugby world cup. While that’s the base case, it may go differently. There has been some confusion about the number of votes the gov needs to pass it. The theoretical answer is 320 but it could come slightly lower (318) because of ill health (Daily Telegraph). If 20-30/245 Labour MPs back the deal. With the ERG seemingly on board. One can assume 287 + 25 ~ 312 Tories (287 because of will health) & Labour backing the deal. Then you need just 8/35 independents. Sounds very feasible then, with all the anti—no-deal MPs (like Stephen Hammonds & co). It looks fair to assume 0/19 libdem 0/35 SNP 0/1 Green (the deal is seemingly bad for environment…) will back the deal. The official stance of the DUP is to block the deal. It is probably okay to assume 0 here as well, although I must say I have been puzzled by the tweet of Darran Marshall: ‘DUP MP Gregory Campbell : @BorisJohnson has managed to do what everyone said he couldn’t do. He went in with the right approach. The EU realised he needed a deal more that it did.’ The central question is then would Labour exclude rebels. Comrade McDonnell this morning said he expects no Labour MP defying the whip. But he also said that whipping decisions are up to chief whip. So not very conclusive. He also said he expects the vote to be close, which sounds obvious, but which kinda assumes few of his comrades will back the deal. The Labour party has been as clear on this matter as it has been on its stance on the whole Brexit thing. Comrade Corbyn floated the idea of the whip withdrawal but also said Labour should do what they want (‘with their own conscience’) and it’s not up to the party to intimidate MPs. Nick Eardley twitted he understood that Labour MPs will not lose whip if they back the deal. Mann (pro-Brexit Labour – about to stand down) said he would back the deal. I don’t think it will be that close, but just for reference, the speaker gets to vote in a tied division. It happened 49x over past 200y. But there are rules. The Denison's rule is a constitutional convention established by Speaker Denison (1857-1872), regarding how the Speaker decides on their casting vote in case of tie. The principle is to always vote in favour of further debate, or, where it has been previously decided to have no further debate or in some specific instances, to vote in favour of the status quo. Thus, the Speaker will vote against the final reading of a bill (and against holding such readings immediately rather than in the future, to allow for time to consider the matter) in favour of earlier readings of bills (and in favour of holding such readings immediately rather than in the future, to allow for further debate), against amendments to bills, against motions of no confidence, in favour of disagreeing with amendments made by the House of Lords. The spirit is that change should only occur if an actual majority vote is in favour of the change.