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Lib Dem Ministers/Tory Backbenchers Voting Against or Abstaining

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    According to today's Times, three high profile Lib Dem ministers are considering abstaining or voting against the tuition fees - and will find out in a meeting tonight whether that means they will be required to resign their positions. Also, up to four Lib Dem Private Secretaries are considering their future.

    As well as this, David Davis has made it clear to the NUS in an email that he will rebel from the Conservative Party line which has "reinforced nervousness among Tory whips that not all their members will turn out to vote".

    Now, while the Lib Dem uncertainty is nothing new and has been debated many times on these forums, the Tory backbenchers have not been considered to the same extent. I've been saying for a while that the Conservative leadership don't seem to have taken this into account and Thursday's vote could well hang on the position of a select few on the Tory backbenches.

    The positioning of the vote on a Thursday night, when many Labour/Lib Dem MPs would normally be travelling back to their constituencies in Scotland and the North of England (in comparison to the Conservatives' generally more southern support) is clearly a strategic move by the Government, but one would hope that an issue of such political importance ensures that the vote attendance is high.

    So, regardless of how you feel about tuition fees personally, as we've debated this many times across a lot of threads, what's your take on the possibility of Lib Dems voting against, Conservatives rebelling and, indeed, even Labour MPs voting in favour?
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    If ministers do not like government policy they should resign. A minister either votes for the government or resigns, the idea that they can abstain is ridiculous and against the constitution of this country.
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    (Original post by Teaddict)
    If ministers do not like government policy they should resign. A minister either votes for the government or resigns, the idea that they can abstain is ridiculous and against the constitution of this country.
    I agree. This is even truer in the case of ministers that have been intimately involved in the formulation of the policy. And your thoughts on possible Tory backbench rebels?
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    (Original post by Teaddict)
    If ministers do not like government policy they should resign. A minister either votes for the government or resigns, the idea that they can abstain is ridiculous and against the constitution of this country.

    What about responsibility to constituents? I didn't realise this was Soviet Russia.

    I suppose their opinions do not count whatsoever?
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    (Original post by Aeolus)
    What about responsibility to constituents? I didn't realise this was Soviet Russia.

    I suppose their opinions do not count whatsoever?
    This is partially true but we then digress into debates about whether representative democracy is about representing constituents' views or MPs representing their interests as they see fit - and how that fits with being elected as a party representative on their ticket etc. Perhaps another topic for another day?
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    (Original post by dannymccs)
    This is partially true but we then digress into debates about whether representative democracy is about representing constituents' views or MPs representing their interests as they see fit - and how that fits with being elected as a party representative on their ticket etc. Perhaps another topic for another day?


    This is entirely about this issue though. I seriously doubt that the voters in Lib Dem constituencies voted with this in mind.

    Teaddict's worryingly hardline view on central authority brings us straight to the heart of the issue here. It is not a personal abstention on the part of these MP's, after all they are representatives.

    Brushing this issue aside, at least in relation to your OP dismisses any value a debate on the topic may have. This answer is entirely in keeping with the question you pose at the end of your post.
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    (Original post by Teaddict)
    If ministers do not like government policy they should resign. A minister either votes for the government or resigns, the idea that they can abstain is ridiculous and against the constitution of this country.
    LOL if you could only vote one way then there would be no point in having a vote
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    (Original post by Aeolus)
    This is entirely about this issue though. I seriously doubt that the voters in Lib Dem constituencies voted with this in mind.

    Teaddict's worryingly hardline view on central authority brings us straight to the heart of the issue here. It is not a personal abstention on the part of these MP's, after all they are representatives.

    Brushing this issue aside, at least in relation to your OP dismisses any value a debate on the topic may have. This answer is entirely in keeping with the question you pose at the end of your post.
    Fair point - but what I was driving at really was whether, centrally-controlled or not, the Conservative backbench support has been taken for granted to some extent by those in Tory high command? Whether voting against/abstaining through representing a constituency view or doing so through personal objections? Essentially, I was hoping to look at the mathematics of the vote rather than the moral obligations of those (particularly Tory backbenchers) concerned.
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    (Original post by Jacktri)
    LOL if you could only vote one way then there would be no point in having a vote
    There's a difference between just being an MP and being an MP and a member of the Government though.
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    (Original post by dannymccs)
    I agree. This is even truer in the case of ministers that have been intimately involved in the formulation of the policy. And your thoughts on possible Tory backbench rebels?
    Tory rebels can do what they like, however, Tory ministers and Lib Dem ministers must vote with the government or they should resign.

    (Original post by Aeolus)
    What about responsibility to constituents? I didn't realise this was Soviet Russia.

    I suppose their opinions do not count whatsoever?
    Don't be stupid Aeolus. You know full well that our constitution has within it collective responsibility. The governments acts as a whole and votes as a whole. If you do not support government policy, you resign. Its as simple as that.

    If you feel that government policy is bad for your constituents, resign.

    (Original post by Jacktri)
    LOL if you could only vote one way then there would be no point in having a vote
    MP's can vote how they like. Ministers either vote with the government or resign. Its simple.
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    (Original post by Teaddict)
    If ministers do not like government policy they should resign. A minister either votes for the government or resigns, the idea that they can abstain is ridiculous and against the constitution of this country.

    Um no, it'd be unconstitutional for them to not be allowed to vote against the government, which is what you seem to be saying...
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    (Original post by Barden)
    Um no, it'd be unconstitutional for them to not be allowed to vote against the government, which is what you seem to be saying...
    What I am saying is very clear. The British constitution; by means of collective responsibility is quite clear. A minister supports government policy or resigns. Simple. If they cannot support government policy, the Lib Dem ministers should resign.
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    (Original post by Teaddict)
    What I am saying is very clear. The British constitution; by means of collective responsibility is quite clear. A minister supports government policy or resigns. Simple. If they cannot support government policy, the Lib Dem ministers should resign.
    that isn't how it works at all ideas are suggested then they have this vote to see if it is what the majority of the government want
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    (Original post by Teaddict)
    What I am saying is very clear. The British constitution; by means of collective responsibility is quite clear. A minister supports government policy or resigns. Simple. If they cannot support government policy, the Lib Dem ministers should resign.
    I fail to see how this is at all democratic.

    I can understand the sentiment that MPs should not be allowed to abstain, however there'd be no point in having a parliament at all if ministers couldn't go against their party's line.
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    (Original post by Jacktri)
    that isn't how it works at all ideas are suggested then they have this vote to see if it is what the majority of the government want
    The British system is how I described it. Ministers agree with government policy or they resign.
    (Original post by Barden)
    I fail to see how this is at all democratic.

    I can understand the sentiment that MPs should not be allowed to abstain, however there'd be no point in having a parliament at all if ministers couldn't go against their party's line.
    Who the hell said it was good or democratic?
    I merely said that that is our constitution and one aspect I actually agree with. If you are a member of the government you agree with government policy. If not, you should resign.
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    (Original post by Teaddict)
    The British system is how I described it. Ministers agree with government policy or they resign.

    Who the hell said it was good or democratic?
    I merely said that that is our constitution and one aspect I actually agree with. If you are a member of the government you agree with government policy. If not, you should resign.
    but the mps who vote on this are the government so surely they have a say otherwise we are a dictatorship not a democracy
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    At the end of a statement to the House, the minister or Secretary of State says 'I commend this statement to the House'. How on earth can they vote against or abstain?
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    (Original post by Teaddict)
    The British system is how I described it. Ministers agree with government policy or they resign.

    Who the hell said it was good or democratic?
    I merely said that that is our constitution and one aspect I actually agree with. If you are a member of the government you agree with government policy. If not, you should resign.

    So if the prime minister decides that we nuke China, on a whim, then everyone in the cabinet should agree, or they should resign? :lolwut:

    You appear to be advocating dictatorship brah...
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    I imagine that there will be one or two tory backbenchers voting against, with a couple more not turning up to vote. I think its still hard to tell how most Lib dems will vote, I would guess less than 10 MP's will vote against with the majority abstaining and the ministers and a couple of backbenchers voting for. Labour will obviously be entirely voting against. However I still think it will pass by quite a few votes.

    I'm pleased that there are some Lib dem's who would rather resign than break their promise, Clegg and Cable should be doing the right thing and joining them though.


    (Original post by Barden)
    I fail to see how this is at all democratic.

    I can understand the sentiment that MPs should not be allowed to abstain, however there'd be no point in having a parliament at all if ministers couldn't go against their party's line.
    It might not be good or democratic but its in the constitution.
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    (Original post by Jacktri)
    but the mps who vote on this are the government so surely they have a say otherwise we are a dictatorship not a democracy
    Conservative/Lib Dem backbench MPs are not the government.

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