Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Friday, January 27, 2017

Quick quiz

The disintegration of Labour continues. What evidence do you see here for that?

What is a "three-line whip?" (And what do the origins of that term tell us about the political culture of the UK?)

Why would frontbenchers consider resigning over that "three-line whip?" (BTW, what's a frontbencher? Or for that matter, what's a shadow cabinet?)

Article 50: Labour MPs consider resigning over Corbyn's three-line whip
Jeremy Corbyn will impose a three-line whip on MPs to vote in favour of triggering article 50 when the bill comes before parliament… with frontbenchers Clive Lewis and Tulip Siddiq understood to be considering resigning in protest.

Several shadow cabinet ministers are understood to have argued for a free vote, given the difference of opinion in the party, during a tense shadow cabinet meeting…
Recent shadow cabinet meeting

One senior Labour source said Lewis, the shadow business secretary, said he would vote against the bill and suggested he could even campaign against it. It is not clear if he would be able to remain a member of the shadow cabinet…

Corbyn told Sky News: “It will be a clear decision that we want all of our MPs to support the article 50 vote when it comes up next week. It’s clearly a three-line whip.”

But Corbyn also acknowledged that this would be difficult for some MPs. He added: “I fully understand the pressures and issues that members are under, those who represent leave constituencies and those who represent remain constituencies. Labour is in the almost unique position of having MPs representing constituencies in both directions, and very strongly in both directions…

Rebels estimate about 60 Labour MPs are preparing to defy any party order to vote in favour of article 50. Several frontbenchers whose constituencies are in areas that are strongly pro-remain have publicly said they would also vote against when a bill is introduced…

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At 8:21 AM, Blogger Ken Wedding said...

Some of the answers from The New York Times:

No Uncertain Terms: Why a ‘Three-Line Whip’ Means Business

"When British lawmakers vote on Wednesday on whether to allow the government to begin talks on leaving the European Union, a number of opposition Labour deputies face a tricky choice: Should they follow their beliefs or their party line? That’s because the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, declared a “three-line whip,” a clear order to vote as instructed by the leadership and permit Prime Minister Theresa May to start the negotiations on British withdrawal. Two members of Mr. Corbyn’s shadow ministerial team in Parliament have so far resigned those jobs, saying that they intend to defy the instruction, and other lawmakers are expected to follow... "

At 8:35 AM, Blogger Ken Wedding said...

And in spite of meaning "business,"

"At least 30 Labour MPs are expected to defy the whip by voting against triggering Brexit on Wednesday night, with several frontbenchers still agonising about whether to resign in the coming weeks...

"Labour rebels will join the 54 SNP MPs, most Liberal Democrats, the SDLP, the Green MP Caroline Lucas and the Tory MP Ken Clarke in an attempt to stop Theresa May invoking article 50 and starting the process of leaving the EU... "


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