Peter Bone, the independent-minded MP for Wellingborough, yesterday introduced a Ten Minute Rule Bill with the innocuous-sounding title of the House of Commons Disqualification (Amendment) Bill. Its effect would be to abolish whipping in the Commons by disqualifying anyone who is a Whip from membership of the House of Commons.
He said that he wanted to “rebuild trust in politics” and drew inspiration both from the Prime Minister and Edmund Burke, starting by citing words previously uttered by David Cameron:
“[A Bill] gets sent to the House of Commons where it’s debated without diligence—because automatic guillotines cut time short. It’s passed without proper scrutiny—because standing committees for Public Bills are stuffed with puppets of the Government. And it’s voted through without much of a whisper—because MPs have been whipped to follow the party line. We’ve got to give Parliament its teeth back so that people can have pride in it again—so they can look at it and say ‘yes: those MPs we elect—they’re holding the government to account on my behalf.’”
“his unbiased opinion, his mature judgment, his enlightened conscience, he ought not to sacrifice… to any set of men living.”
He then got into the thrust of his case:
“We should be acting on behalf of our constituents and, using our “’unbiased opinion” and “mature judgment”, scrutinising every piece of legislation that comes our way to hold the Government properly to account, regardless of party politics. But Burke could surely not have foreseen how difficult it is today for a Member of Parliament to live up to his ideal. Sadly, all too many of us do indeed succumb to pressure from a very particular “set of men living”—that is, the flatterers, cajolers and sometime bullies who make up our party Whips. Read in full at ConservativeHome.