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Exploring Parliament

Exploring Parliament (1st edn)

Cristina Leston-Bandeira and Louise Thompson
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date: 29 June 2022

p. 25524. Whips and Rebelslocked

p. 25524. Whips and Rebelslocked

  • Mark Stuart

Abstract

This chapter examines the role of whips and rebellious Members of Parliament (MPs) in the UK Parliament. Whips are MPs or peers who are responsible for managing the Members of their party, and in particular for ensuring that party Members vote in line with their party's policy. The whips are often regarded as bullies and cajolers, whereas MPs are seen as spineless and overly loyal. The chapter first considers the myths and reality about whips before discussing the growing rebelliousness of MPs — that is, they vote against their party line in the division (voting) lobbies. It shows that these rebels have made the role of the whips much harder, citing as an example the case of the Coalition Government of 2010–2015, where the government whips had to try to satisfy the demands of two parties — Liberal Democrats and the Conservative Party.

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