February 12, 2011 Leave a comment
Yesterday’s Guardian carried an article by Sarah Wollaston that raised an issue of profound significance for British democracy. The issue is the Government “payroll vote”. Some 150 of the coalition’s MPs are on the payroll. That means that they are bound by collective responsibility to vote with the Government. They cannot depart from the Government line, at least in public. Nearly a quarter of these votes are held by Parliamentary Private Secretaries (PPS). The PPSs have no real independent influence on Government policy. They are simply lobby fodder which can be used to make it a bit less challenging to secure support in the chamber for Government proposals.
This raises at least two important questions for democratic practice – one old, one new. Read more of this post