Refusal to allow Budget amendments is more proof that Tories hate democracy

The move will make it harder to amend Philip Hammond’s Budget, Labour has protested [Image: AP].


Never mind the fact that the Tories are systematically blocking the promises made by the ‘Leave’ campaign in the EU referendum (see below) – their refusal to allow debate on amendments to the Budget shows that they really, really hate democracy.

If we weren’t living in a dictatorship before June, we are now.

And the worst aspect of this is that the Conservative Party does not even have a Parliamentary majority. It’s a minority government forcing through all these undemocratic changes (see below, again).

When (if?) we ever see a different party in charge, they should make it a priority to ensure that this can never happen again. Nobody voted for what’s being pushed on us.

Theresa May faces fresh allegations of “rigging Parliament” over a near-unprecedented move to prevent MPs amending the Budget.

Labour has accused the Prime Minister of running scared of an expected attempt to use the Finance Bill to force a vote on scrapping VAT on domestic fuel.

With the Democratic Unionist Party likely to oppose the Government on such a vote, it left her facing a possible embarrassing defeat, the Opposition claimed.

An amendment was expected because – like the notorious £350m-a-week extra for the NHS – zero-rating of fuel was a key plank of the Vote Leave campaign that secured Brexit.

Another likely challenge was over the issue of “period poverty”, with ministers under pressure to agree to put in free sanitary products in schools.

The controversy comes hard-on-the-heels of the row over the Conservatives seizing control of all Commons committees – despite losing their majority at the general election.

Rebellions were only possible [against finance bills] because the Government tabled an “amendment to the law resolution” – allowing amendments outside the narrow scope of measures in the Budget itself.

Following last Wednesday’s Budget, that amendment was not put forward as normal, preventing revolts on wider issues not “in the founding resolutions” of the Budget.

Labour said this had happened only five times since 1929 – but each time had been immediately before, or after, a general election, when a Budget needed to be rushed through.

In contrast, the current Finance Bill is the second of this Parliament, because one was passed immediately after the snap June election.

Source: Theresa May faces fresh accusations of ‘rigging Parliament’ over controversial move to block Budget amendments


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3 thoughts on “Refusal to allow Budget amendments is more proof that Tories hate democracy

  1. NMac

    My Grandfather told me many decades ago that Tories only like democracy when they are winning. How right he was.

  2. J Edington

    “The controversy comes hard-on-the-heels of the row over the Conservatives seizing control of all Commons committees – despite losing their majority at the general election.”

    Slightly off-topic but you, Mike, are probably more familiar with political history than I am.

    Since I inherited a spanking new baby Tory MP last year, who has always been a real pain as an MSP, I have had a lot of fun writing to him on every issue of importance that has come up and telling him how I, as a constituent, would like him to vote.
    The vote that resulted in the above was on of those issues.

    I received the usual bland, polite reply saying that it would not undermine democratic parliamentary process. That was to be expected but he came up with something else that I don’t remember, although I probably should.

    He said that in 1976 the Labour government passed a similar motion for a majority of 1 in Standing Committees. According to him, it was passed without a vote at the end of a Friday.

    I would love to know if that is true or if it is a porkie as usual. If you could refute that statement I feel another strongly-worded letter coming on.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      It looks like it was a porkie.
      I can’t actually find the reference in Hansard, but in the debate in which the Tories gained their majority on committee, Valerie Vaz said: ” In April 1976, when the Government lost their overall majority, a motion was passed that stated that the Committee of Selection would appoint Committees with a Government majority only when the Government had an overall majority. That was the Harrison motion.” (A reference to Walter Harrison, who supposedly put forward the motion to which your Tory refers.) https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2017-09-12/debates/1D3E1BE1-8C0D-4F9C-849B-B3A7738A0A55/NominationOfMembersToCommittees
      The debate refers to April 29, 1976 – which was a Thursday, not a Friday.

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