John Hemming's Web Log John's Reference Website
Wednesday, March 06, 2013
  Secret Courts and other rebellions
Monday was the day on which I voted most against the government so far in this parliament. Public Whip provide a list of rebellions (which has not been updated yet). It is inaccurate in that not all votes are whipped votes - in particular house business is generally not whipped. The list is here.

On 29th January was a 10 minute rule bill. This was not whipped. I voted for the concept of protection of freedom of speech for those people who don't agree with marriage being redefined to include a relationship between two people of the same sex. On 28th January I voted to allow a regent to be appointed to be the head of the church of England. That was a whipped vote. On 18th December I voted against the second reading of the Justice and Security Bill. On 11th July there were a number of house sittings votes which were not whipped. On 12th March I voted for the retention of full house elections for the Back Bench Business committee. This was a sort of whipped vote. (Payroll only really). On 5th December 2011 I voted for greater parliamentary accountability. 30th November was a 10 minute rule bill as was 4th May 2011 and 13th Oct 2010 where I did a "both". On 10th October I voted for greater freedom of speech, but since the government have changed position to support this. (this was the "your horse is gay" arrest issue). On 9th September 2010 I voted for withdrawal from Afghanistan.

On Monday I voted four times against the extension of secret courts. The situation is quite straightforward. Secret courts are unreliable courts. The evidence tends to go astray. These are more secret than the family courts or the court of protection in that even the litigant is not allowed to attend. I accept the need to protect informants. However, PII certificates can do that - even though they have problems of accountability.

Given that the right not to be tortured is an unqualified right it is difficult to work out what evidence the government has that it needs to present to the judge in secret. An additional difficulty with this is that there is a gradual movement away from fair trials.

I have also rebelled by supporting the Yeo amendment on the Energy Bill. This, to me, is not such a different position to that of the government which is progressing on getting more cost effective sustainable energy. In a coalition compromises do need to be made and at times that can get a better result than a rebellion on the floor of the house which fails. Hence I do need to keep this issue under review.

There are two other positions I have taken which differ from the party recently. One is against statutory regulation of the media and the other is in support of an in-out referendum on the EU (once we know what the constitutional settlement is).

 
Comments:
Good Debate at conference about this good vote too shame, about Jo Shaw resigning though
 
NOT a proper rebellion without guns y'know...
 
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