A Timely Reform by Ian Ridley

Blog & web site of Ian Ridley

Iraq Division voting

We now know a little more about two absentee MPs from last week’s Iraq Inquiry vote.

As I suspected, the Conservatives are not what you’d call united on the issue

Tory MP Quentin Davies abstained in the vote. The a former defence frontbencher described Conservative support for the motion as “absolutely crazy”.

According to the BBC, Mr. Davies “added the credibility of the party as an alternative government would be seriously damaged if it gave the impression of “cynically” shifting with the prevailing party political wind.”

Another unnamed abstainer – described as a “senior” Tory – described David Cameron’s decision to vote for an immediate inquiry as “intellectually and morally indefensible”.

There does need to be an immediate inquiry into the run-up to Iraq, both looking at political decision-making and military preparations. The Tories would look more credible and lend more weight to the case if they hadn’t hurried through the Nationalists’ Division Lobby at the last minute. As it is Davies and his anonymous colleague are partially right – it just looks like they were trying to get one over on Labour for the sake of it.

Meanwhile Plaid Cymru leader Elfyn Llwyd who also abstained, stated that he was “paired” with a government minister and continued his visit to Spain.

Finally 4 Labour ministers and a PPS did not vote. Can we assume all of them were “paired”?

Until like Davies and Llwyd, MPs state why they were absent, speculation is all we have.

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