Tuesday, 16 November 2021

Aiming at the right target

Christoper Chope MP is probably not at the top of the PM's Christmas card list, if indeed he was ever on it. And he obviously hasn't exactly endeared himself to many of his colleagues judging by some of the comments they've made about him. They were rather hoping that a motion accepting the report of the Standards Committee on Owen Paterson would go through the House of Commons quietly last night in an attempt to draw a line under an embarrassing episode. I wonder though whether they’re aiming their ire at the right target, given that he's done the same thing so many times before.

It’s surely reasonable to ask exactly what sort of democracy allows the sort of arcane procedure under which one MP shouting the word “object” from his corner of the chamber is considered to have ‘won’ the vote and defeated the motion, overriding all other members present, even if all of the other 649 are in favour of the motion. An organisation which runs its affairs on the basis of silly rules really shouldn’t be surprised if silly people use those rules to make silly points. The silliest people are those who ignore the fact that the rules are silly.

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