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Ministers avoid awkward vote on foreign criminals as Tories rebel on press damages plan

19 March 2013

12:11 AM

19 March 2013

12:11 AM

The Crime and Courts Bill, which contains one half of the government’s response to the Leveson recommendations, has just passed its third reading in the House of Commons.

An earlier amendment on exemplary damages, which the Mail’s James Chapman reports this evening has roused the ire of Boris Johnson, saw this group of Conservative rebels troop through the ‘No’ lobbies: Richard Bacon, Christopher Chope, Tracey Crouch, Philip Davies, Richard Drax, Nick de Bois, Andrew Percy, Mark Reckless, John Redwood, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Andrew Turner, Martin Vickers, Charles Walker and Sarah Wollaston.


The amendment passed 530 ayes to 13 noes (the list above includes tellers Rees-Mogg and Drax, who are not listed in the initial division numbers). Many of those MPs had expressed their concerns about the proposals for press regulation either in the debate or in public. But there are others who have criticised the legislation who didn’t rebel: one Tory texted me this evening saying ‘this IS statute’, and others expressed concerns at a meeting of the Parliamentary party this evening (Kiran Stacey has a report on his FT blog).

Yvette Cooper joked as she summed up that this had become a ‘Christmas tree bill’, with the government trying to tack all sorts of different bits onto it. Here’s some gossip on another bauble that was hanging from that tree. The amendment from Dominic Raab on foreign criminals wasn’t debated, because the House ran out of time after debating the Leveson proposals. But I’m told the government had planned to abstain on this amendment, which would have meant that the MPs behind it would have won. It would also have undermined the force of that leaked letter from Theresa May that we published earlier on Coffee House: ministers must be thanking the gods of Commons timetabling that they could avoid a vote altogether.


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