Tenshot: The House of Commons Debate and Vote, March 13


Michael Cain

Michael is a systems analyst, with a taste for obscure applied math. He's interested in energy supplies, the urban/rural divide, regional political differences in the US, and map-like things. Bicycling, and fencing (with swords, that is) act as stress relief.

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6 Responses

  1. Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

    The Brexit debate is fascinating and horrifying. You have multiple factions that want Brexit. None of them want a no-deal crashout. But what the various factions want are incompatible with one another. Furthermore, many of them would rather have everything burn than accept one of those other factions’ plans.

    The vote rejecting no-deal is meaningless theater. No-deal is the default. If nothing else happens, Brexit occurs in about two weeks. If it happens without a deal in place, then it happens without a deal. Wackiness will follow. The MPs voting to reject no-deal are saying they are happy to let the other factions come to their senses and agree with them. They aren’t saying that they have come to their senses and are willing to suck it up. Maybe some will crack at the last minute, but I don’t think so. An short extension of a couple of months might happen, but that will just kick the can down the road.

    Ireland is of course the big issue here. Look for a resumption of the Troubles. If you have vacation plans for (London)Derry, you might reconsider.Report

  2. Avatar PD Shaw says:

    I’ve been following a British round-table podcast (Talking Politics), and last night the group speculated that there were probably enough votes to pass May’s deal if it was done as an anonymous vote. Not perpetual anonymity, but they would vote for it if they knew it would pass and the worst outcome for those shifting their votes would be to be seen in the division for passage when it didn’t pass.

    I don’t have a good visual of this, but in the States I think they deal with this through voice vote passage, followed by rollcalls, and sometimes through changing individual votes after-the-fact. Underneath of all that are what appear to be better whip counts. So, UK counts are made difficult by more parties, intra-party divisions, and the complications of a trimodal distribution of preferences (remain, deal, no-deal), none of which command a majority and none can be ruled out.Report

  3. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    I’m watching again today. I am fascinated by how the “debate” covers the government’s motion and the four amendments chosen by the Speaker all at once. The Colorado Legislature’s rules that I became intimately familiar with only allow debate on one amendment at a time, then a vote, then the next amendment, and finally the original motion as amended (or not).Report

  4. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    It’s a remarkably small chamber for a 650-member body.

    This is a feature. The old House of Commons was destroyed during the Blitz, and its replacement was designed to provide the same level of crowding. Churchill wrote about why this was important to him, though I can’t recall his reasoning.Report

    • It’s kind of amazing how odd things can get built into the procedures and then retained long after the original need has disappeared. In the Colorado House, certain documents are not delivered to the members or to their offices, but are placed in a special folder in their desk on the floor of the chamber. Tradition — as promulgated by the sergeants-at-arms, the unofficial historians — is that in the early years of the legislature, many members would attempt to stall things by claiming they hadn’t received notices of this or that. The Speaker at that time instituted the practice of placing those notices on the members’ desk. For decades there was a night shift in the Capitol’s printing room that set the type and ran off the copies for those.Report

  5. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    One of the Irish members seemed to be hinting that a unified Ireland might be better than a hard border.

    There a lot of fear that a hard border between North and South, which would be necessary if it becomes a border between non-EU and EU, would lead to escalating violence, even bring back the Troubles. Unifying Ireland is one way to avoid this, though that could lead to violent resistance by the Ulster Protestants.Report