Although the government managed to win the crunch customs union vote this week, the victory was short-lived thanks to a row over the fact Brandon Lewis voted despite being on a pairing arrangement with Lib Dem Jo Swinson – who missed the vote after recently giving birth. Today the Times reports that despite claims from the Chief Whip that it was all an ‘honest mistake’, two other Tory MPs were told by Julian Smith that they should vote on Tuesday despite being paired.
On Wednesday, Kate Hoey waded into the row. Only the Labour MP – who voted with the government on Tuesday – has questioned the behaviour of not just the Tories but Swinson too. Speaking on the Coffee House Shots podcast, Hoey asks why the Liberal Democrat MP managed to attend an anti-Trump demonstration but not a crucial Parliament vote:
‘I gather she was okay to go on an anti-Trump demonstration so I’m not sure why she wasn’t able to come and vote – though clearly the pairing system needs to be looked at.
It’s not working very well and the trust has broken down.’
The Lib Dems aren’t having a good week when it comes to missing votes…