There comes a time in the political career of even the most loyal Westminster foot soldier when there will be a choice to be made between towing the party line or standing on principle. Whilst obeying the party whip is the default, a well-chosen moment of tactical rebelliousness can earn respect from allies and adversaries alike. The former rarely receives the fulsome reward hoped for, and the latter often earns kudos with interest. Based on his ovine performance thus far, it seems that Thornbury and Yate has not been blessed with an MP of the latter variety.
Being an MP belonging to the party of government it is perhaps unsurprising that Luke Hall’s voting record indicates a strong adherence to the government line. However, the otherwise loyal MP does have opportunity to demonstrate what his inner motivations are when it comes to voting on amendments. Success or failure of an amendment rarely threatens the principle of a Bill, but does often influence the focus and impact of the legislation which follows.
For instance, Luke Hall voted against an amendment to the 2017 Queens Speech which called for recruiting more fire and police officers and a fair pay rise for emergency and public service workers. In fact, during the entire period for which figures are available (to December 2017) Luke Hall has never rebelled against the Tory line. It is a kowtowing pattern of behaviour seemingly repeated at every opportunity:-
On ‘Equality and Human Rights’ Luke Hall voted in favour of repealing the Human Rights Act 1998, and against plans to save the steel industry including fast-tracking infrastructure projects requiring large amounts of steel.
On Foreign Policy and Defence Luke Hall consistently voted for replacing Trident with a new nuclear weapons system, and generally voted against more EU integration.
Luke Hall almost always voted against a right to remain for EU nationals already in living in the UK, and against UK membership of the EU [but still campaigned for the remain side in the EU referendum!].
Labour policy in this area will be to not “scapegoat migrants” and will not set a cap on immigration. Labour believes in “reasonable management of migration” but “will not make false promises on immigration numbers”
Labour policy is to accept the EU referendum result and “build a close new relationship with the EU” prioritising jobs and workers’ rights.
To guarantee the rights of EU nationals living in the UK and work to “secure reciprocal rights” for UK citizens elsewhere in the EU.
To Keep EU-derived laws on workers’ rights, equality, consumer rights and environmental protections.
Seek to maintain membership of European organisations which offer benefits to the UK such as Euratom and the European Medicines Agency.
Will not allow Brexit to be used as an excuse to undercut UK farmers and flood Britain’s food chain with cheap and inferior produce.
On Welfare, Benefits, Taxation and Employment Luke Hall consistently voted against paying higher benefits over longer periods for those unable to work due to illness or disability, consistently voted for a reduction in spending on welfare benefits, consistently voted for reducing capital gains and corporation tax, and consistently voted against higher taxes on banks.
Labour policies in this area are to raise minimum wage to “at least £10 per hour by 2020”, set the 45p income tax rate at £80,000 and re-introduce the 50p rate of tax on the highest earners (above £123,000). Labour will also move to charge companies a levy on salaries above £330,000. The triple lock for pensioner incomes will be guaranteed.
Labour will also legislate to ban unpaid internships and zero hours contracts, clamp down on bogus self-employment, and extend rights of employees to all workers. Trade Unions right to access workplaces will be guaranteed, and all workers’ rights to trade union representation will be enforced.
On Education Luke Hall consistently voted for academy schools.
Labour Policy in this area includes reintroducing maintenance grants for university students and abolish university tuition fees. overhauling existing childcare system introducing free school meals for all primary school children to be paid for by removing the VAT exemption on private school fees.
On matters of Constitutional Reform Luke Hall voted consistently against removing hereditary peers from the House of Lords, against transferring more powers to the Scottish and Welsh Assemblies, and consistently against a lower voting age. On Home AffairsLuke Hall consistently voted for mass surveillance and retention of information about communications activities, and a stricter asylum system. On Environmental Issues he consistently voted against measures to prevent climate change, against greater public control of bus services and a publicly owned railway system. On Housing Luke Hall consistently voted for phasing out secure tenancies for life.
Labour policies in these areas include building over one million more homes, with at least half for social rent, providing an additional 4000 more beds for rough sleepers, and providing interest free loans for home improvements. Labour will also legislate to ban letting agency fees for tenants.
So far so predictable, that is until the reader reminds their self that our MP is elected to represent the best interest of all the constituents of Thornbury and Yate. Therein lies the potential for irreconcilable conflict between party loyalties and duty. Even amongst the true blue diehards in Thornbury and Yate, some Tory government policy will not be perceived to be in their best interest.
Navigating a course of action between loyalty and duty can be a severe test the for the most seasoned politician. For the self-serving lick spittle it often proves to be a task for which they are ill-equipped to manage. Ultimately, the shortcomings in their suitability for the job are revealed.
by David Evans,
from an original idea by Carl Redgrave,
and with data published by ‘TheyWorkForYou.com’