It all seems a long time ago, but the government of Gordon Brown between 2007 and 2010 was remarkable for the levels of backbench dissent seen on the government side of the House. This article is forthcoming in a future issue of Contemporary British History, but has just been published online.
Based on examination of the division records and elite-level interviewing, it examines the nature of backbench dissent in the House of Commons during the Brown government, covering its range and scope, the composition of those defying their whip, as well as placing it in its political context. It reveals a high level of rebellion by Labour MPs—higher than that seen in any previous post-war Parliament— along with showing the degree to which the government were forced to negotiate with, and concede to, their backbenchers in order to prevent rebellion reaching even higher levels.
It is, alas, not free to view, but we assure you it is worth every penny.
UPDATE: The publishers have made 50 free downloads of the paper available, from this address. Once those 50 have gone, it’ll go back to costing the earth…