Posts Tagged ‘Tory whips’

Whip’s Notebook: Where have all the Tories Gone?

22/05/2012, 07:00:53 AM

by Jon Ashworth

Since the Queen’s Speech, the House of Commons chamber has become a very different place. As a dutiful whip I spend most of my time in and around the chamber and although too many dismiss what goes in there as irrelevant, I still agree with Tony Blair’s valedictory description of it as the arena that sets the heart beating a little faster and is often the place for the pursuit of noble causes.

Whipping affords me the advantage of seeing our opposition on the Tory benches close up, indeed I can often see the whites of their eyes.

I’m fast becoming familiar with the various personalities on the Tory benches. There are the desperately ambitious types mustard-keen for George Osborne’s recognition (it’s always Osborne they want to impress not so much Cameron oddly), the eurosceptic rebels who bang on about nothing else, the thoughtful select committee parliamentarians and the patrician grandees who, I have to admit, are like nothing I have ever come across before in my life.

But this last week I’ve seen less of them. Labour MPs have totally dominated the debates on the gracious address. Our chief whip in the Lords has highlighted already the flimsiness of this Queens Speech. All quite extraordinary for a government’s second Queen’s speech considering this government is made up of a party out of office for thirteen years and another that has been out of office for ninety or so years.


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