Yesterday evening I sat and watched the Parliament Channel and in particular the debate on the London Local Authorities Bill - of which more in a later post - which was followed by that on the Draft EU Budget.
On the opposition benches I counted no more than 6 members of parliament and on the Conservative benches approximately 40. The Hansard report of the debate can be found here, at the end of which is the voting record which can be found here.
It is a sad reflection on the state of our democracy that 200 plus elected representatives could not be bothered to attend the debate, hear both Carswell's argument and that of Cash, yet felt able to vote against the amendment of Carswell and for that of Cash. Does one detect the hand of Whips in this, bearing in mind that Cash's amendment was backed by the Government, but that of Carswell was not? Surely if an MP is going to vote then it is advisable to hear both sides of the argument and then form a reasoned opinion? Or is that too simplistic and naive a view?
Take a look at those voting against Carswell and should you live in one of their constituencies where that MP talks about the need for 'cuts', might I suggest the he/she be invited to 'Foxtrot Oscar'?
Afterthought: Do not Gisela Stuart's intervention right at the start:
"I am grateful to the Minister for giving way. She says that this debate demonstrates the importance that the Government attach to giving the House a say. Can she tell us whether a vote on the matter, either way, would make the slightest bit of difference?"Priceless!