It’s common knowledge that an MP can be issued a 'whip' by their party to vote a certain way in the House of Commons. But what happens when their personal beliefs are in conflict with the party line? Free votes – when MPs are not put under pressure to vote a certain way by party leaders – have traditionally been allowed on ethical issues that are seen as a matter of conscience such as abortion, restoring the death penalty, hunting with dogs, and assisted dying. But who decides if an issue should be subject to a free vote? Anne McElvoy will discuss this with former Labour party whip Hilary Armstrong.
Baroness Hilary Armstrong was a Labour MP from 1987 – 2010, and served as Government Chief Whip from 2001 to 2006. Baroness Armstrong has been a member of the House of Lords since 2010.
Anne McElvoy is Senior Editor for The Economist and head of Economist Radio. She presents BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking and BBC Radio 4’s The Moral Maze.
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