Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Free vote and whipped MPs

Have you heard about "free votes?" Labour has decided to give MPs a free vote on a proposed new runway at London's Heathrow airport. And "Tory MPs will be whipped to vote in favour of the new runway…" What does that mean?

Labour giving MPs free vote on Heathrow runway plan
Labour will not ask its MPs to vote against Heathrow expansion even though its leadership is opposed to a new runway, a senior figure has confirmed.

The party is giving its MPs a free vote when the issue is decided on Monday, meaning shadow ministers will not be disciplined for supporting the move.

Its transport spokesman Andy McDonald said the runway did not meet Labour's economic and environmental tests.

But he said MPs had "strong" personal views and Labour had to be "pragmatic".

Scores of Labour MPs are expected to back the government when Parliament votes on whether to give the go ahead for detailed planning on a third runway at the UK's largest airport.

With the DUP and SNP also likely to back the plan, Theresa May is expected to comfortably win the vote despite as many as 30 Conservative MPs having reservations.

Tory MPs will be whipped to vote in favour of the new runway although Downing Street has suggested those whose constituencies will be directly affected by the project will have dispensation to vote against or abstain…

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