Comparison of Divisions: Prevention of Terrorism Bill — Second Reading — 23 Feb 2005 at 19:59 with Division No. 93 on the same day at 19:47
The Aye-voters agreed that the Prevention of Terrorism Bill should be "read a Second time", which is Parliamentary speak for sending it to the next stage of the process where it is reviewed section by section in Committee, after which it is read a Third time (another debate and vote) before going to the House of Lords for further work.
This Bill was "read a first time" on 22 February (a day earlier) by the act of being printed. The relevant document quoted at the start of the debate (which took place over 6 hours) was Memorandums laid before the Constitutional Affairs Committee on the Operation of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC), HC323-II. It requires some sort of a crisis to cause the procedure to move this quickly. In this case it is because there is a perceived need to replace parts of the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 which had been subjected to many votes and problems in Parliament since it was passed.
Vote (b) : Prevention of Terrorism Bill — Second Reading — Amendment - 23 Feb 2005 at 19:47 - Division No. 93
The Aye-voters failed to change the motion for debate from:
The Bill now be read a Second time.
This House declines to give a Second Reading to the Prevention of Terrorism Bill, because it contains excessive powers in relation to requirements on a person to remain at a particular place when such powers are not presently necessary; gives to the Executive powers that should be exercised by the judiciary; allows decisions to be made on an insufficient standard of proof; fails to address the need to bring terrorists to trial on the basis of all evidence available; and thus wrongly infringes the right to liberty of the individual.
Had they succeeded they would have blocked the first stage of the process of bringing this Bill into law. The next vote is on the original question, "That the Bill be read a second time", which is Parliamentary speak for moving the Bill onto the next stage of procedure. It looks like an exact negation of this vote, but the MPs votes votes were slightly different.
The measure of similarity between these two divisions is a calculation based on a comparison of their votes.
There were 659 MPs who could have voted in both of these divisions, and 3 voted the same way, with 522 voting in opposite ways. There were 105 MPs who didn't vote in either division, and 29 who voted in only one of them.
We invert the vote on the second division if it makes the distance closer (since the meaning of 'Aye' and 'No' are often interchangeable depending on how the question was put). In this case, they line up on opposite sides. An 's vote in in only one of the divisions contributes a factor of 0.2 to the distance. The calculation runs as follows:
([same-votes] + [differing-votes] + 0.2x[abstain-in-one])
(522 + 3 + 0.2x29)