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Voting Advice (Publication)

Volume 524: debated on Thursday 3 March 2011

4. If he will bring forward proposals to provide for the publication in the Official Report of advice given by Government business managers on voting by hon. Members. (43623)

In virtually every Division in the House of Commons, Members of Parliament do not make up their own minds how to vote, but are instructed by dark forces. The Deputy Leader of the House is a great parliamentarian who believes in transparency. I urge him—no: I beg him—not to go over to the dark side. Let us throw light on that advice and publish it.

I know that the business managers sometimes give advice on voting, and that they sometimes express a degree of eagerness that hon. Members might attend on a particular day and vote in a particular way. It seems to me that the hon. Gentleman has never felt desperately constrained by that, although I am impressed that on no fewer than eight out of 10 occasions during this Parliament, he has supported the Government, which may come as some surprise to those on the Treasury Bench. He obviously takes very seriously the advice he receives, but I am not sure that placing such matters on the Order Paper adds value to it.