POLITICS

Government Wins Crunch Vote To Stack Committees In Theresa May's Favour

Jeremy Corbyn says PM is "fixing majorities the public wouldn't give her".

12/09/2017 22:43
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Theresa May has won a crunch vote to engineer Tory majorities on key government committees. 

MPs voted late on Tuesday on a motion by Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom which sought to make sure that “where a committee has an odd number of members, the government shall have a majority.”

Despite the vast majority of opposition MPs of all parties voting against the plans and attempts to amend the motion by the Greens and Lib Dems, it was passed by 320 votes to 301.

The new rules will apply to public bill committees, the “engine rooms” of all law-making in Parliament.

Ordinarily, having failed to win a majority in June, the Conservatives would be denied a majority on the committees.

Peter Nicholls / Reuters

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn previously accused Theresa May of making a “power grab” and seeking to “rig” Parliament by stacking committee membership in her favour.

After the vote, he told HuffPost UK: “The Tories are now rigging votes in Parliament that they couldn’t win at the election. 

“Not content with grabbing powers through the EU Bill, they are fixing majorities that the public wouldn’t give them.”

The prime minister has already been criticised by opponents for trying to use the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, which passed its second reading on Monday night, to give ministers sweeping powers beyond the scrutiny of MPs and peers.

But the Tories argued they were simply ensuring the government, which has a confidence and supply deal in place with the Democratic Unionist Party, was simply ensuring it could “get on with the job”.

“We’re getting on with the task set for us by voters,” Leadsom told the Commons.

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Leadsom said the government was simply 'getting on with the job'.

“Our working majority will allow us to carry out the legislative agenda set out [in the Queen’s speech].”

She said the government’s deal with the DUP gave it “a working majority on the floor of the House” with which to pass legislation.

She added: “It should also be able to make progress with legislation in committees. 

“The motion before the house is simply to ensure that the government’s working majority is reflected in committees.”

Labour’s Angela Eagle told Leadsom the motion was “gerrymandering” to make life easier for Theresa May.

“It’s a constitutional outrage,” she added.

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