There has been some very odd coverage of yesterday’s events in the Commons. Mr Raab’s amendment was decided by a free vote on the Coalition side, and a whipped vote to oppose it by Labour. Those of us who voted for Mr Raab’s amendment were not therefore “rebels” as described in parts of the press. Conservative Coalition Ministers abstained, presumably because there was no agreement between the two parties in the Coalition.
Labour opposed it on the grounds that it would be illegal. They were joined by Liberal Democrat MPs. Mr Raab, a lawyer, had a different view and argued that it would not be illegal under the European Human Rights Convention. Had it been passed – and had it also passed the Lords – it might have been tested in court. Who can be sure what the outcome would have been? The UK government is 0ften these days tested in European courts for decisions they have taken.
Many MPs voting for the amendment, which would have made it easier to deport serious criminals from the UK, felt that anyway Parliament ought to have the power to be able to change the law in these important matters, and that this needed to be re-established by Statute law.