Coffee House

Raab amendment fails – but govt left looking weak and confused

30 January 2014

6:03 PM

30 January 2014

6:03 PM

So Labour did save the government’s bacon by voting against the Raab amendment on deportation while the government abstained on it. 97 MPs backed Dominic Raab’s amendment with the two tellers, that’s 99 MPs): a very clear message to ministers. This includes 86 Conservatives, according to the vote analysis, and 9 Labour MPs. The Mills amendment wasn’t voted on, so we’ll never know how successful the whips were in driving that rebellion to ground.

There are a number of things that are remarkable about this. The first is the utter disorganisation not just within the parties but also across the parties. The Opposition decided to vote against something that the government told them was illegal but the government itself did not vote against it. Which makes the government look confused at best. The second is that Tory MPs are now disrupting and changing the way government works far more than the Coalition has. When Labour was due to abstain on the Raab amendment, ministers were saying they were confident they’d get enough changes to the rebel clause in the Lords. Which is an odd way of governing, disregarding the Commons. Number 10 sources described it to me earlier as a ‘brilliant idea’. I’m not sure it’s worked out that way.

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There are also some Labour MPs who are furious that their party has bailed out the government by opposing the amendment. Some think it is significant enough that David Blunkett was a co-signatory, while others are annoyed that it appears to have been a deal struck between the Labour whips and the Tory whips on a messy bill. Nine Labour MPs did rebel on this.

But what does this mean for the Tory whips? They might be trying to smarten up their act, but it wasn’t enough to stop a big rebellion today. I’ve spoken to one who privately thinks this is a sign that Sir George Young must go as chief whip before the European elections, saying: ‘The only thing that bailed out the inept whips operation was a more inept Labour whips operation.’ Another one agrees that deputy chief whip Greg Hands has jazzed things up, saying: ‘Hands is better than Young but it’s not a high bar.’

P.S. PA says that Conservatives Robert Buckland, Peter Bottomley and Geoffrey Cox all voted against the Raab amendment.

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Show comments
  • Denis_Cooper

    The Opposition decided to vote against something that the government told them was illegal but the government itself did not vote against it. Which makes the government look confused at best.”

    I don’t know whether the government is confused or not, but not for the first time it is made clear how few MPs have any commitment to the sovereignty of our national Parliament, and therefore any commitment to the sovereignty of the British people it is supposed to represent; in which case, why are the rest of them there, apart from just occupying seats to prevent them being taken by more patriotic candidates?

  • James Allen

    Yet another sign of decay in Westminster. And they wonder why the public detests them!!!

  • David Kay

    Shame on Parliament. The Queen should have the army arrest all the politicians for treason and have them hanged from the nearest lamp post. Obviously Dianne Abbot would have to be interned in the elephant pen at London Zoo until science can create a metal strong enough to support her bulk.

    Her majesty should then appoint Nigel Farage as caretaker PM until fresh elections can take place

  • Mynydd

    Raab amendment fails – but govt left looking weak and confused, all because Mr Cameron has lost control of his cabinet and party. If Mrs May had placed before parliament a well constructed bill then there would have been only very minor amendments.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      Yes, May is bad at both policy and politics, and this omnishambles proves it.

  • Holly

    All parties will say claim their team won.
    Coop was her usual parliamentary self.
    The whole thing stinks.

    You know how I keep asking who’s zooming who….
    Well today was a classic example of zooming!

    • Mynydd

      According to Mrs May the Home Secretary (she who wants to be leader) the Raab amendment would be illegal. This meant that Mrs Cooper the Shadow Home Secretary, Labour and opposition parties had no option than to vote it down. No respectful party can vote for a law when they have been told by a minister of the crown that it will be illegal. It is sad day when the Prime Minister did not have the bottle to stand up to his back benchers to vote down, as his Home Secretary said, an illegal amendment. .

      • Holly

        The Prime Minister is part of the reason this is thought of as illegal.
        Cameron could have scrapped whatever needs scrapping years ago, but would prefer us all to wait to see IF he gets back into office, before we see how pro Britain he is.
        The Home Secretary was more than likely doing what her boss asked her to, thus added her amendment to Raab’s.
        However the UK government and the opposition dress this up, it is still a crock.

        • Mynydd

          Mr Cameron is pro Mr Cameron and is using the Conservative party for his own ends. The opposition doesn’t need to dress it up, today we saw the split between the Conservatives and Lib Dems, and also the split in the Conservative party.

  • colliemum

    Looks to me as if not just the government looks confused – Labour does so as well.
    Another excellent illustration that in the end, the establishment parties are indeed three cheeks of the same a**e.

    • Mynydd

      How come Labour looked confused, what do you expect them to do, vote for an amendment when the conservative Home Secretary, Mrs May, said was illegal. Get real.

      • saffrin

        How come Labour looked confused?

        They don’t get it. They still don’t understand why the nation hold them accountable for the debt, the deficit, the property crisis, the NHS, the education system, the wars….
        Name one single thing that would give Labour credit during their entire thirteen years in office?

      • colliemum

        If this amendment really was ‘illegal’, then how come Labour first said they’d only abstain? And how come some Labour MPs voted with the Tory rebels, one of the them former Home Secretary, mr Blunkett?

        Btw – this’ll be the last time I’ll reply to you and any other poster who cannot refrain from using puerile phrases like ‘get real’, and/or personal invective.

        That’s all.

    • telemachus

      So which cheek do you want?

      The party of Eccleston smokers, George Best drinkers and a racial policy of which Dieudonne M’bala M’bala would be proud?

      • Colonel Mustard

        I think you and your red comrades are going to be in for a few surprises. A little bird tells me that a scandal is about to blow that is going to knock Labour back into the 20th Century where it belongs.

        • James Strong

          Can’t you tell us more?
          Or give us a steer on where more might come from?

        • telemachus

          Overdrive last night
          For me I am winding down to my forthcoming trade mission
          In respect of scandal you should know we are a movement with onward march
          Victory is within sight
          Yvette was magnificent yesterday
          As was her husband earlier in the week
          The stars are in our firmament
          Those against us look tired

          • Colonel Mustard

            Overdrive? I have not yet begun to fight.

            Dream on you deluded parasite.

  • BarkingAtTreehuggers

    Remind me how this works. Conservative MPs table stuff (Afriyie, Wharton, now Raab, never mind Syria), conservative MPs fail. Remind me, who is in government? What is the point of this nonsense!

    You cannot govern. Stop pretending you can. You can’t. You are incapable of getting anything done – you even fail to turn up four weeks late in the flood plains, you are warse than Dubya. Stop pretending you were in government. There is no government.

    • Mynydd

      It seem a group of conservative back benchers now run the government not Mr Cameron, the Prime Minister.

      • Holly

        It seems the ECHR has the last say on things, and without the political will of the Prime Minister to get his finger out, that is how it’s going to be, I’m afraid.

        • Mynydd

          You have hit the nail on the head, Mr Cameron doesn’t have the political will to lead his party. Time for the men in grey suits.

      • Colonel Mustard

        No the government is run by a disreputable gang of foreign socialists in Brussels and an equally disreputable gang of socialists in this country calling themselves Common Purpose graduates.

        The bank benchers represent a very weak insurgency against the pincer movement.

    • telemachus

      The point is that we are seeing disintegration to the point that even folks gathered here will be glad when the party of reason takes over in May next year

      • Colonel Mustard

        So you think UKIP will win then. Good to know.

      • kyalami

        Party of Reason? Nope, I’ve carefully gone through the list and none qualify.

      • Holly

        You mean the snivelling Labour bods who would happily take us deeper into Europe, just to rub the Tories noses in it.
        Miliband is NEVER going to be our Prime Minister.

        • Mynydd

          The conservative Prime Minister Mr Edward Heath took us into Europe in the first place and then the Conservative Prime Minister Mrs Margaret Thatcher took us further into Europe with the single market. How far in do you want to go

          • Holly

            If you took the time to read any of my previous comments on Europe, you would find I an no fan at all, REGARDLESS of any re-negotiations.
            IF I ever get a ballot slip in my hand I will be voting ‘OUT’.
            There will be no referendum under Miliband, and IF you also disapprove of Europe, you would not be voting Labour at the next General Election.

            The problem I have with Cameron is his time scale for any referendum. Making us wait until 2017 is a cop out, because as the EU slowly drags itself out of the ditch it threw itself in, the need for reforms/re negotiations will subside.

            Why do you keep harking back to past Conservative leaders, when it is the most current Labour leaders have done the most damage, and signed away MORE of our sovereignty?

      • BarkingAtTreehuggers

        This will go really quickly now. Four months from now – UKIP will deliver a right beating and weaken DC and his pals. Eight months from now – the Scots will do their bit (as this infighting is of no concern to them). That’s it, then it’s over – a PM losing parts of the UK will not be reelected. Forget the referendum. Forget ‘UK’ independence (!)

      • Holly

        You mean the Leader of the Labour party, that also voted AGAINST deporting scum, SUPPORTED Cameron, on a vote Cameron could not find the backbone to do anything to ensure could be voted in legally, or no longer needed?
        You really do need to keep up.

    • Holly

      What is the point of taxpayers paying for these duds?
      AND! We pay again for the REAL law makers over in Europe.

  • alabenn

    Labour voting against this amendment was always likely, they fear losing their new core vote that comprises of ethnic minorities.
    They will have been pushed that way by ethnic MP`s, now there is no money to bribe them, they have pay the Danegeld in different ways.

    • telemachus

      Not fear
      They know what is right

    • Mynydd

      Labour voted against this amendment when they were told by the Conservative Home Secretary, Mrs May, that the amendment would be illegal. If this amendment was good for the country why didn’t Mr Cameron and the bulk of the Conservative party vote for it?

  • HookesLaw

    The govt have sympathy with the spirit of the ammendment. Indeed we all should have. We should be able to deport those criminals that we want to without spurious legal inferference.
    So it abstained to demonstrate that.
    Labour were faced with the choice that if they tried to cause trouble they would be putting the UK in breach of its international treaty obligations.
    As ever – nutty tory backbenchers act like spoilt children.

    • southerner

      A few backbenchers stand by their principles. Sorry to use the P word on you there Hooke. I know it brings you Cameron luvvies out in a rash.

      • HookesLaw

        There is no principle in tabling unworkablke ammendments just for the sake of showing off.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          Heh. Farage is raising a glass in thanks to you Camerluvvies, lad.

    • Mynydd

      Why didn’t Mr Cameron and the rest of the conservative MPs vote against the amendment to show support for our international treaty obligations.

    • Lady Magdalene

      That sounds remarkably like Cameron’s admission the other day that the British Prime Minister can’t govern the country on a whole range of issues since it transferred the power to Brussels.
      “We’d like to be able to deal with foreign criminals/terrorists, but we can’t because it’s not our job anymore. It’s more than my job’s worth to try and protect the British people.”

  • fozz

    Wouldn’t it be good just for once to hear that at least a few politicians had the guts to mean what they say and stick to it? No wonder the turnout at elections is so pathetic and we end up with governments who’ve won well under 50% of the electorate’s votes. And this is supposed to be the ‘worst system of government apart from all the others’. Perhaps Churchill’s description needs revising. Any suggestions?

  • southerner

    “…Govt looking weak and confused..”

    They ARE weak and confused, just like all left wingers.

    Comfortably the worst un-conservative administration since Heath.

    • HookesLaw

      Its a lib-tory coalition. And its still more right wing than Mrs Thatchers first administration.

      • southerner

        Comfortably the worst.

        • telemachus

          Indeed
          Weak confused….and divided
          Divided Governments lose office
          Ask John Major
          *
          Wonderful

          • Holly

            In that case Idiot boy will never get a shot at office, because Labour are even more divided than today’s shower., and on more issues than the sorry state of affairs I saw today.

            • telemachus

              I think you are well wrong
              There is no significant dissent on tone or policy
              I know there are a few who are privately against Ed Balls 50%
              But did you hear this after Ed’s speech?

              • Colonel Mustard

                I don’t think you are well.
                Tone is no longer leading Labour.
                50% of Labour are against Ed Balls? Wow!
                I give up, did we hear this after the Braying Donkey’s speech?

              • Barakzai

                Isn’t the correct argot in your circles “I think you is well wrong?”

            • Andy

              But he ought to be shot – his hero Stalin would have had him riddled with bullets by now.

          • Colonel Mustard

            Diane Abbot 14/10/2013:-

            “Every weekend Labour party people get a script and you are supposed to read from it in whatever interview you do.”

          • Colonel Mustard

            Hmm. Living under a weak, confused and divided government – allegedly – versus living in a new East Germany:-

            http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/danhodges/100257433/under-ed-milibands-plan-unions-will-have-90pc-of-the-labour-leadership-vote-what-the-hell-happened/

            Wonderful? Only for a Stalinist or Stasi pig.

          • Fernando5

            Government’s get a reputation for weakness when they can’t get important legislation enacted. Labour in the mid 1970s couldn’t pass the measures needed during an economic crisis and had to call in the IMF. Major couldn’t pass the Maastricht Treaty and had to scratch around for supporters. Those were weak governments and were rightly punished. Apart from some rather minor constitutional matters the coalition
            has been quite effective.

            There is an anti-immigrant frenzy gripping some groups at the moment. This amendment was just a gesture. It was probably illegal and certainly unworkable. I’m surprised they don’t have a vote to make the rain stop falling.

            • telemachus

              That would be an excellent idea
              The folks in the levels will give you a knighthood

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