May broke ancient protocols to defeat Windrush transparency. What was she so desperate to hide?

The Tories have already created outrage and a great deal of suspicion by their decision to ‘whip’ Wednesday’s vote against Labour’s call for documents and communications about May’s racist ‘hostile environment’ policies that have inflicted so much damage and distress – including deportation, homelessness, denial of medical treatment – on our ‘Windrush generation’ citizens.

Since May lost her parliamentary majority at last year’s General Election, the Tories have usually whipped their MPs not to vote on Labour’s Opposition Day motions, in order to cling to a fiction that the government hasn’t lost because it didn’t vote.

But on Wednesday, the Tories suddenly announced that they were imposing a ‘three-line whip’ – the strictest parliamentary discipline – on MPs to defeat the Windrush transparency motion, in a clear demonstration of how desperate May was to keep information hidden.

Since then, people have rightly been asking how damning that information must be.

But it has now also emerged that the Tories broke an old parliamentary practice, such was their determination to avoid disclosure.

‘Pairing’ is an old convention designed to maintain the democratic balance of the House of Commons if an MP is unable to attend a vote – typically through illness or some unavoidable commitment.

If an MP is unable to attend, s/he can arrange a pair – and an opposition MP abstains to balance the absence.

On Wednesday, the Tories had agreed a large number of pairs, to free MPs to campaign in their home constituency for today’s local elections – but broke them all when the vote was taken. Labour MP Lucy Powell referred to the breach on Twitter:

lmp pair.png

Labour insiders have confirmed that this was indeed the case.

Pairing is not normally arranged on a three-line whipped vote – but the Tories broke another protocol to impose the whip on the day of the vote instead of well in advance. As far as the SKWAWKBOX has been able to ascertain, this is unprecedented.

A senior Labour inside told the SKWAWKBOX:

The Tories changed the whip at the last minute. People were paired so they could get out campaigning on the doorstep, so there were travel issues and a lot of people couldn’t get back in time.

The Tories have behaved absolutely disgracefully to make sure they won that vote.

Such an action carries significant cost for Tory ministers and MPs.

If the Tories cannot be trusted to honour pairing, every Tory MP is going to have to be present for every significant vote, no matter what – because Labour MPs will now know that the Tories cannot be trusted to respect even ancient protocols. It will be a huge inconvenience, especially for the government.

It would not be done lightly.


It’s not unprecedented for pairing to be suspended – swinging the Commons mace during an argument about such a suspension is what earned Tory MP Michael Heseltine the nickname ‘Tarzan’. But for agreed pairs to simply be ignored across a whole party at short notice appears to be a first.

The Tories were supported in their bid to defeat the transparency motion by the DUP, so would have won the vote regardless.

But Theresa May was prepared to break practices honoured for well over a century, to avoid even the tiniest chance that she might lose the vote and be forced to disclose records of Windrush/hostile environment correspondence and discussions means the question now looms as large as the Empire Windrush itself:

Just what the **** is in those records to make her that desperately reckless?

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  1. She did say not so long ago that she would never allow Corbyn/Labour to form a government This could be just the beginnings of how far she’ll go to stay in power .Desperation.


  3. Crowdfund a whistleblower reward. Enough people must have access to the documents as to make their subsequent leak inevitable.

  4. Dirty double crossing low down pieces of shit lower than vermin BY GOD Aneurin Bevan was sooo right .
    Who in the Labour Party would want to be friends with or want to do any kind of business with scum like these.
    No more paring ever ,,, MPs either vote or they loose the motion .

    1. ” either vote or they loose the motion ”

      The Tories are so petrified of Corbyn they are scared of losing control of their motions.

      1. Couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch of arseholes 🙂

  5. Tories daily corrupt the whole democratic process so it’s hardly surprising they’ll cheat on a protocol to hide the fact that they’ve forgotten which lies went with which crimes.

    Must be serious since no pairing means no playtime for either side.

    Anywhere outside Disney Mediaeval World that would convince grown-ups to ditch the knights-of-old bollocks of division bells, lobbies and trusted serfs counting their revered bodies through turnstiles.

    Single-division Hansard-registered proxy votes would fix the trivial little pairing problem with the stroke of a pen – but why not take the hint and fix the bigger problems of the institution’s as well as the building’s need for renewal.

  6. Ruth Smeeth says she didn’t vote due to being paired so she could participate in local campaigning

  7. Why do people keep refering to the Tories as Tories when in reality they are just Nazis?
    Everything they have done / are doing seems to be out of the third Reich handbook.

  8. “That is why we need more Labour MPs”.

    Lucy: We do not need more Labour MPs like you!

  9. Can the public FOI for the release of this info Steve and if they do not comply send it to the ICO if so do it Steve

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