A UK minister has warned that ‘appropriate discipline’ will be imposed on Tory MPs who voted against the government without ‘specific constituency reasons’ in last night’s chaotic fracking vote.
“Parliamentary officials will discuss with colleagues who did not vote with the three-line whip of reason. Sometimes there are very specific constituency reasons or even health reasons,” Anne-Marie Trevelyan told Sky News on Thursday.
Trevelyan, the UK Transport Secretary, said that if MPs were unable to justify their abstention, “appropriate discipline will be enacted”.
Labor secured a vote on Wednesday that would allow it to introduce legislation banning fracking. The government wants to continue fracking in order to generate greater energy independence.
Labor politicians claimed Tory whips, who enforce party discipline, had tried to physically pressure rebel MPs into backing the government.
Chris Bryant, chairman of the House of Commons standards committee, said MPs had been ‘handled’ and ‘bullied’.
The government won the vote by 326 votes to 230, but a significant number of Conservative MPs abstained.
“I wasn’t in the halls, but I’m shocked to hear the descriptions of what happened,” Trevelyan said.
The Transport Secretary said she hoped the Speaker of the House, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, who presides over proceedings in parliament, will “investigate closely… to ensure that these scenes and situations do not happen again”.