Monday, 26 October 2009
"Gutless and feeble, today's politicians are too willing to do what their political masters tell them; terrified to follow their own consciences for fear of what might happen to them, they can be led by the nose to vote for almost anything put before them".
Many might agree with this comment about the sheeplike nature of MPs in the House of Commons. Actually this quote appears at the start of a book by Philip Cowley in which he goes on to say "like so much received wisdom, it is almost entirely wrong."
The classic texts on rebellions by MPs were written by Robert J Jackson (Rebels and Whips); Philip Norton (Dissension in the House of Commons 1945-74; Dissension in the House of Commons, 1974-1979; Rebels and rebellions: Conservative MPs in the 1992 Parliament[Joint Article with Philip Cowley]) and Philip Cowley (Revolts and Rebellions: Parliamentary Voting Under Blair (2002); Rebels: How Blair Mislaid His Majority (2005)).
Philip Cowley now runs an extremely useful website on Commons rebellions. It can be accessed here.