Government loses vote in Commons by 21!

The Commons has asserted itself against the government. The hapless Gordon Brown and hopeless Home Secretary lost the vote on their treatment of the Gurkhas.

It is another sign of just how much authority the Prime Minister has now lost.

Just to remind you, at the last Election the British people voted for 356 Labour MPs, 198 Conservative MPs and 62 Lib Dem MPs. Labour should not be losing votes, if they had a sensible leader!

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26 Comments

  1. Chris Burley
    Posted April 29, 2009 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    Could the Conservatives call a vote of no confidence in the PM?

    Reply: Yes we could – and we would lose it by a country mile. There are under 200 of us out of a total of 646.

  2. alan jutson
    Posted April 29, 2009 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    At last some Labour MP’s have had the backbone to stand up for what is correct.
    What a disgrace that people who are/were prepared to die for this Country, were not going to be allowed to live here, whilst those less desirable are allowed to stay, and in the case of some, preach hate against us and claim Benefits.

    Just shows how out of touch Gordon Brown is with Public Opinion, and how shallow are some of the so called “values” he keeps on refering to.
    Even better that he has been embarressed on this ubject directly after visiting our Armed forces in Afganistan.

  3. DennisA
    Posted April 29, 2009 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    How about a quick vote of no confidence whilst the Labour rebels are feeling brave. Still, they wouldn’t vote themselves out of a job would they?

  4. None
    Posted April 29, 2009 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    Wow, almost restores a bit of faith in parliamentarians!! Well done! What on earth posessed the government to take that line in the first place.

  5. None
    Posted April 29, 2009 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/0429/p06s04-woeu.html :

    Brown said that government was “very proud” of what the Gurkhas had done for Britain

    How can the British government be proud of what the Gurkhas had done for Britain ?? It’s the Gurkhas who can be proud, we could perhaps be grateful.

  6. witteringsfromwitney
    Posted April 29, 2009 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood,

    I can understand your elation that the Commons has stood up to the Government as it is, unfortunately, a rare event. Cynic that I am, one cannot help wonder how much this, on the part of the Labour members, is due to the fact a General Election beckons and that it is a matter of ‘public outcry’.

    If this was so important, where were Labour MPs on matters such as the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill, 42 Day Detention, ID Cards/Data Retention and the Lisbon Treaty? Their lack of principle was possibly because the public did not create the ‘public outcry’ similar to the Ghurkas?

    Before you may label me as anti-Labour (which I am) I can level the same accusation of ‘opportunism’ at the Conservative Party on the subject of membership of the European Union. For ages your Party has not wished to discuss the subject, in fact at your Party conference William Hague stated that your Party would vote for continued membership – now we have lots of words about the necessity of a Referendum etc. Oh sorry, I forgot there is an election on the horizon! Yet even now there is no coherent statement on membership or referendum, only a disingenious poster which in fact promises nothing.

    Not that I have managed to devise a method. but we need to have a system that ensures MPs actually vote in accordance with their constituents wishes (who are after all the people whose views they are elected to represent) rather than obeying their Party’s Whips and voting for their Party line.

    In conclusion, am an avid reader of your blog and it was a pleasure to have met you at the ASI do a few months ago.

  7. ManicBeancounter
    Posted April 29, 2009 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    It is unfortunate that the issue for not relenting is the potential cost of all 36,000 retired Gurkhas deciding to settle. The reaction of a beleagured government will not be to save costs elsewhere, for risk of further defeats.

    Maybe with the loss of Damian McBride, an overbearing government is losing its skill in sensing the mood of the House and the wider public. It will be interesting to see tomorrow whether a vote is risked on expenses.

    • THE ESSEX BOYS
      Posted April 30, 2009 at 7:59 am | Permalink

      Looking at it from here in Malta the Westminster news just keeps getting better! Tonight’s vote may bring futher glad tidings.

      We have noted amongst the European guests here that Britain’s woes and fall from grace are well-known which provides an eery 70’s feeling.

      Amongst the UK guests, of all backgrounds, Gordon Brown is a figure of ridicule now. Even if Youtube didn’t get many direct hits, it was so widely featured on Sky News that there’s a game being played whereby a speaker disconnects his words from his facial expressions with the aim of confusing the others into not knowing what he means or whether he’s telling the truth. Shades of Gordo?

      The Ghurkas misjudgement is an extension really and shows this PM cannot connect with genuine human opinion and emotion.

      We’re also pleased to note that the hard-hitting Douglas Carswell has been appointed to the Public Accounts Committee so we expect more direct exposees and attacks on government waste.
      We suggested here a few weeks ago that the Conservatives appoint someone to monitor ‘Labour Snouts in the trough’ during the dog days of this government. (We suggested David Davis who has a record of ‘getting his man’!). No doubt much time will be spent by Labour ministers and MPs in maximising their perks and feathering their future nests in the private sector. This must be watched carefully. Contacts awarded that tie the hands of the next government issued with an eye to a lucrative position next year for the ministers concerned.
      This is an area where we would like to see the current investigation into MPs pay and expenses introducing new rules. We see no reason why there should not be a LIFETIME BAN on ministers accepting such positions after being responsible for that area of expenditure.
      The criteria may be whether such a position would have been offered had the ‘appointee’ not held that particular position in government. Think Hewitt, Blunkett, Cunningham, Milburn, Ingram et al!

  8. A. Sedgwick
    Posted April 29, 2009 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    This is a defining example of how completely and utterly inadequate Brown is as a leader. He could not accept his peers, most noticeably Mandelson, recognising this fact in 1994. Unfortunately for the country Blair put up with him despite his brooding and malevolent influence on Government and numerous fellow ministers. The saving grace from this vote is that enough Labour MPs recognised the blindingly obvious and ignored the undemocratic whips.

  9. Rich
    Posted April 29, 2009 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    Amazing that a government can be so petty and weaselly.

    They claim allowing Gurkhas to come to the UK would cost 1.4BN. When they are talking about some massive IT snooping boondoggle they shamelessly underestimate the cost. When it’s giving a home to people who have fought for us, they shamelessly overestimate it.

    And even if it’s accurate, it’s a drop in the ocean compared to the 200BN social security budget.

    No, I think the real objection is that these people, being courageous and upright, are not the type of people Brown and his cronies want to encourage in the UK. After all, you’ll not build a client state on the backs of people like that!

    Now if the gurkhas would sign an undertaking to come to Britain and then live off petty crime while sitting around stoned all day, that would be a different matter. Brown would welcome them with open arms .(Words left out)

  10. rik
    Posted April 29, 2009 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    Since this government so often champions the idea of naming and shaming. I suggest that a list of all the self interested Labour ministers who supported the government in this decision be posted for all to see. I would also like to hear a reply from each and every one of them trying to justify their decision!

  11. rik
    Posted April 29, 2009 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    Yet again the BBC fail to promote a damning article against the government as front page news. I have really lost faith in an organisation that i used to admire. Is there nothing that this government has not infected with their insidious desire to control. Under this government a adviser was hounded until he committed suicide. A minister who was only doing his duty had his offices and home ransacked in an extremely aggressive manner. A war was instigated based on the fabrication of the truth and more worryingly torture has been deemed acceptable as long as the blood is not spilled on UK soil!!!!!!!!

  12. pipesmoker
    Posted April 29, 2009 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    I am delighted.

    Perhaps The Commons should assert it’s authority on another issue and hold a vote of no confidence on the Speaker Michael Martin and then appoint someone more worthy of the post?

  13. Matthew
    Posted April 29, 2009 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    Absolutely 100% agree. This is simply a sign they cannot control their own party: why on earth should they control the public?

  14. aldo
    Posted April 29, 2009 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    It just shows us all how arrogant and out of touch this government and Gordon Brown has become.

    I think we should all write letters to the national and local press urging people to do this simple thing come election time –

    “Vote for the candidate most likely to defeat the Labour!”

  15. Adrian Windisch
    Posted April 29, 2009 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    Very good news. Browns Question Time performance was terrible, he should have noticed and compromised.

  16. Elizabeth
    Posted April 29, 2009 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    Where were the British charities- Oxfam, Save the Children et al- in the debate about the Gurkhas? I would have thought that Oxfam and its director Barbara Stocking would have had a great deal to say about the Gurkhas, considering that these former soldiers come from one of the poorest countries in the world, and Nepal would benefit from having ex-Gurkhas living in the UK and sending remittances back home to their less well-off relatives and communities. But then I realises that these very charities are tight-liped about criticising the Labour Government, which may explain why they had nothing to say about the plight of Gurkha soldiers.

  17. Jason
    Posted April 30, 2009 at 12:25 am | Permalink

    How is it that the commons gets a vote on this and not on critical planks of economic policy that will drag us down for decades to come – such as bank nationalisation and key issues over spending? It appears more thought has gone into moral issues regarding a few thousand gurkhas (whose claims are totally justified in my view) than for the same moral and economic issues that affect the total population not just now, but for decades to come. This vote represents victory for the gurkhas but equally a failure of the system to bring about justice for the British population as a whole. Not that justice for the population has ever been a concern for this government – they spend their time and our money destroying the fabric of our society and then spend more of our money to tell us things are under control – which is a gross perversion of fact. Not that a vote on such substantive and critical issues would have changed the course of events in anyway – but it would at least allow the public some accountability in knowing which MPs supported a lunatic policy and which didnt. Clearly its in the public interest to know such things…sadly its not in the interest of government. These things will need to change for democracy to be worth pursuing as a form of organising our society.

    Reply: We do get votes on the dreadful financial position – it is just that Labour MPs unite to win those.

  18. Brigham
    Posted April 30, 2009 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    When I first subscribed to your blog, I referred to our PM as “the (pejorative adjective questioning his judgement!) Brown” which you “moderated” out. I think I have been proved right by him many, many, times!

  19. Henry North London
    Posted April 30, 2009 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Over 32000 people have already signed on his own website for him to resign Sounds like a pretty good mandate already for him to have a vote of no confidence.

  20. RayD
    Posted April 30, 2009 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    I don’t believe “the British people voted for 356 Labour MPs”. Returned, yes, but actually voted for would be more like 35.3% x 646 = 228 MPs.

    Labour has a staggering 128 more MPs than they have voters. When can we get rid of this damned third world First Past The Post system and get some democracy?

  21. Adrian Peirson
    Posted April 30, 2009 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Any chance we could have electronic voting so we can have a say in matters.
    I’ve written to 4 Mp’s over the years, each time they have sent my letter to be answered by the specific dept in question, whether it was family or medecine.
    One one occaision I wrote to my female MP thinking that she may be interested in knowing details of the deaths caused by synthetic estrogens rather than being given Bioidentical Human Hormone which can be easily synthesised.
    Nope, I got a letter from the Dept of Health telling me how thoroughly all drugs are tested.

    Oh well I tried, Nothing gets in the way of Big Govt and Big Pharma Profits.

    • Adrian Peirson
      Posted April 30, 2009 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

      Forgot, the reason for my post was that I was hoping to bring something to the attention of and maybe discuss things with my local MP but all I get in return is Govt Policy on the matter(s)

  22. Olly Garchy
    Posted April 30, 2009 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    Rik – 6.34

    How they voted is listed here
    http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2009-04-29&number=104&display=allvotes

    If you also follow the “every eligible MP” link you can also see the ones who abstained.

  23. Dr Nick Ashley
    Posted April 30, 2009 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    I firmly believe that there is a soft spot in the hearts of most British people for the Gurkhas. They serve with distiction and are renowned for their bravery. This is evident from the VCs and other gallantry medals won by them. Having faced death on behalf of HMG, they get a reduced pension and not much else. Being given the right to reside here after military service and in their declining years is the decent thing to do and a fair reward for these brave soldiers. I admire those Labour MPs who voted for the decent thing against their party. At last a bit of spine showing.

  24. andy dan
    Posted April 30, 2009 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    Gurkha = potential Tory voter, therefore let as few as possible in is the government’s reasoning I suspect

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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