As normal at this time of year, as we get yet another Queen’s speech, we have compiled our end-of-session report on the behaviour of the PLP in the preceding year. It contains a mixture of good and bad news for the whips. Here are some of the scores on the doors:
• Gordon Brown’s first complete parliamentary session as Prime Minister, saw Labour MPs defy their whips on 103 occasions. That compares to 96 occasions in Tony Blair’s whole first Parliament.
• A total of 103 was also greater than the number of rebellions in a single session by members of the governing party during any session for over 30 years.
• As a percentage of divisions, this constituted a Labour rebellion in 30%, ranking fourth during the 60-plus sessions since 1945.
• The rate of rebellion for the Parliament as a whole is greater than one rebellion in every four divisions – meaning it remains on course to see the highest rate of rebellion of the post-war era.
• The ratification of the Lisbon Treaty accounted for more than a quarter of the rebellious votes cast during the session.
• As usual, the good news for the whips was that most of the rebellions to take place during the session were not large: the mean was almost exactly eight, the median was just four, and almost three-quarters of the revolts consisted of fewer than ten Labour MPs.
• The largest, on 4 November 2008, during a debate on the Employment Bill; saw 45 Labour MPs vote against their whips. Every session since 1997 had seen at least one rebellion of a larger size by Labour MPs against their whips.
• A total of 104 Labour MPs voted against their whips during the session, and a total of 107 have already voted against their whips during Gordon Brown’s Premiership.
• Of the 50 most rebellious Labour MPs to vote against the whips during the Blair premiership, all but two have now rebelled under Gordon Brown’s leadership.
• The top 20 rebels accounted for 58% of the total rebellious votes cast.
• The most rebellious Labour MP was (yet again) Jeremy Corbyn.
The full report contains even more fun – along with full lists of every rebellion, and data on every Labour MP to defy the whip since 2005. What more can you possibly want?