Absent Labour MPs allowed government to block child refugee measure

Analysis by the Liberal Democrat whips’ office shows over 20 Labour MPs failed to vote against the government last night
Analysis by the Liberal Democrat whips’ office shows over 20 Labour MPs failed to vote against the government last night
Ian Dunt By

A full turn-out of Labour MPs would have prevented the government from blocking efforts at helping child refugees, according to an early analysis of last night’s Commons vote.

While most of the criticism of the vote has centred on the Conservative whipping operation and the surprisingly low number of Tory MPs who rebelled, it appears Labour absences also contributed to the defeat for Lord Dubs’ amendment.

A blog explaining some of the parliamentary procedures mentioned in this piece - and addressing some of the criticisms of it - can be read here.

Analysis of yesterday’s vote by the Liberal Democrat whips’ office shows over 20 Labour MPs failed to vote against the government, allowing it to win by 294 votes to 276.

The analysis suggests that a full Labour turn out would have won the vote and allowed 3,000 extra refugee children to come to the UK from Europe.


The SNP, which also supported the amendment, was three short of a full turn-out. The Greens and all independents supported it, the DUP were split and Ukip’s sole MP voted with the government.

Ten Conservatives abstained and five rebelled against the government. They were: Geoffrey Cox, Tania Mathis, Stephen Phillips, Will Quince and David Warburton.

The Labour MPs may have 'paired' with Conservative rebels - an informal tradition in which an MP from one party abstains to counter the absence of someone on the other side, sometimes due to trips or emergencies.

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