Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill — Should apply to GCHQ — rejected — 3 Nov 2009 at 18:45

The Majority of MPs voted against giving the new Civil Service Commission jurisdiction over civil servants employed in GCHQ.

They did this by voting against a proposed deletion of the third line in the list to Chapter 1 where it outlines the powers to manage the civil service, which says:[1]

This Chapter does not apply to the following parts of the civil service of the State

  • the Secret Intelligence Service;
  • the Security Service;
  • the Government Communications Headquarters;
  • the Northern Ireland Civil Service;
  • the Northern Ireland Court Service.

The debate was brought because in the original versions of the Bill in 2004 the Government had agreed that GCHQ civil servants would be treated under the same system of accountability.[2]

In the debate Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs pointed out that by not ensuring Chapter One of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill applied to GCHQ the appointments to GCHQ would not, by law, have to be made on merit. It was suggested[3] that this left a loophole open enabling political appointments to GCHQ to be made.

The Conservatives abstained from this vote. Conservative MP Oliver Heald has said: "Conservatives decided to give further consideration to the Minister’s comments and the best way forward. We therefore abstained."

Debate in Parliament | Source |

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Party Summary

Votes by party, red entries are votes against the majority for that party.

What is Tell? '+1 tell' means that in addition one member of that party was a teller for that division lobby.

What are Boths? An MP can vote both aye and no in the same division. The boths page explains this.

What is Turnout? This is measured against the total membership of the party at the time of the vote.

PartyMajority (No)Minority (Aye)BothTurnout
Con0 000.0%
DUP6 0066.7%
Independent1 2050.0%
Lab272 (+2 tell) 4079.7%
LDem0 39 (+2 tell)065.1%
PC0 2066.7%
SDLP1 0033.3%
SNP0 4057.1%
UUP1 00100.0%
Total:281 51053.0%

Rebel Voters - sorted by party

MPs for which their vote in this division differed from the majority vote of their party. You can see all votes in this division, or every eligible MP who could have voted in this division

Sort by: Name | Constituency | Party | Vote

Jeremy CorbynIslington NorthLabaye
John Martin McDonnellHayes and HarlingtonLabaye
Gordon PrenticePendleLab (minister)aye
Alan SimpsonNottingham SouthLabaye

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