As another parliamentary session gets underway, here (pdf, 278k) is our briefing note on the one that’s just finished, listing every Labour rebellion.
After the record-breaking events of the first session of the 2005 Parliament, the second session could seem like a bit of a let-down. From a rebellion in 28 percent of divisions – which was a post-war record for the first session of a parliament – the rate of rebellion fell in 2006-7 to 20 percent. And after the four Commons defeats in 2005-6 – also a post-war record for a government with a majority of more than 60 – the 2006-7 session saw normal service resumed, with the Government winning every whipped vote.
Yet the 2006-7 session still saw a Government backbench rebellion in one in five divisions, the fourth highest rate in the New Labour era (behind 2005-06, 2004-05 and 2001-02) and the seventh highest since 1979. The rate of rebellion for the Parliament as a whole remains one rebellion in every four divisions, which means the Parliament is still on course to see the highest rate of rebellion of the post-war era. The session saw 122 Labour MPs defy their whip (marginally up on the 114 in the preceding session), and the revolts over the renewal of Trident produced the largest rebellion ever by Labour MPs over their own government’s defence policy. The 2006-07 session may have seen Labour dissent fall back slightly, but it did not see it vanish.