The clash of the dual mandate

Following up on Belfast Gonzo’s post about the performance of those public representatives who serve both as MPs and MLA ministers, for those who don’t know, two wonderful websites will be a revelation – and The Public Whip. Together they provide an ongoing record of each rep’s voting record, speeches and answers to questions at Westminster and speeches etc in the Assembly. I offer two samples.

Peter Robinson voted in 40.9% of Commons divisions since the General Election of 2005. Mark Durkan voted in 25.5% of divisions.

And you can browse to your heart’s content in the Robinson a and Durkan record of speeches etc in both Stormont and Westminster. You are even supplied with the essential performance details and how to contact your favourite or least favourite politician, eg Robinson or Durkan.

For Robinson, the present Executive hasn’t been up and running long enough, and Durkan’s active term as DFM didn’t clash with his MP’s service, so it isn’t possible yet to work out if the duties of the MP might be said to clash with those of the same person as a Stormont minister. I suspect the Westminster voting record for DUP ministers as reported in the Irish News hasn’t so far been much different from what it was before they became ministers. NI MPs have never played a full part in the main party battle between Labour and Conservative, although my impression is that attendance at Commons debates is down.
But keep monitoring these two great sites, and by the end of the year you’ll have a good idea if DUP ministers are falling down on the job as MPs.

  • fair_deal

    What’s the attendance of the NI MPs with a single mandate?

  • Traditional_Unionist

    it is nothing short of scandelous that our greedy MP’s have voted in less that 50% of all motions!!

    What would your boss say to you and me if we only did 50% of our work everyday? we wouldnt last too long!

    If they cannot be bothered to represent their people properly or don’t have the time due to their other jobs then they should step down and give the MP position to someone who will give 100% not less than 50%!!

  • Peter Robinson seems to have been a bit slow at getting the hang of Westminster politics:

    From To Party Rebellions (explain…) Attendance (explain…) Teller
    5 May 2005 still in office DUP 2 votes out of 339, 0.6% 339 votes out of 828, 40.9% 0 times
    7 Jun 2001 11 Apr 2005 DUP 0 votes out of 600, 0.0% 600 votes out of 1246, 48.2% 0 times
    1 May 1997 14 May 2001 DUP 0 votes out of 172, 0.0% 172 votes out of 1273, 13.5% 6 times

  • truth and justice

    I checked the single UUP MP Lady Hermon it turns out that with her single job she has only voted on 32% of the votes and she has not spoken in one debate the entire year obviously she is not representing the people of North Down very well.

  • I believe that generally NI MPs do not use Westminster properly. However, I do not believe that a reading of bald voting statistics conveys this. Taking part in a division is not necessarily evidence of deliberation or conscientiousness. It can simply mean MPs coming out of the Westminster woodwork to vote and then returning to it immediately afterwards.

    In addition, I can see why NI MPs might absent themselves from voting on legislation that does not extend to NI or to the UK as a whole. In devolved Britain that seems reasonable enough to me. What does annoy me is legislation passing through the Commons which does extend to NI where the NI MPs have nothing to contribute or have been absent. I think in particular of the Lisbon Treaty vote where Papa Croc, Wee Jeffrey, to name but two, didn’t turn up to vote, probably because of Stormont commitments.

  • cynic

    It’s a fantastic site and also shows how much they claimed in expenses. For example last year (just as a sample) claims were-

    Gerry Adams £132,000

    Willie McCrea £127,000

    Mark Durkan £140,000

    Peter Robinson £143,000

    Iris Robinson £134,592

    Alisdair McDonnell £145,000

    But if you think that seems high, and I never thought I would say this, ‘our lot’ are actually quite modest in their claims. For example Peter Robinson is 198th out of 645 MPs in terms of claims and you have to make allowance for the fact that for NI MPs air travel to Westminster is their only option and pushes up the travel and accomodation bill.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Traditional Unionist, as watchman says, an MP who is not at Westminster could be at home helping his constituents, or lobbying local government or business on behalf of his voters. You don’t vote for MPs purely to get them to vote. If you do, you might be sadly disappointed given that our MPs seldom ever make any difference on anything substantive before the House.

    The double-triple-etc jobbing matter to me is very simple. If the candidates think that the person they’re voting for is capable of doing all the jobs, then they are entitled to elect him. If they reckon that he can’t, it’s their entitlement to vote him out. We can’t start legislating to restrict the choices of the electorate.

  • cynic

    “I checked the single UUP MP Lady Hermon it turns out that with her single job she has only voted on 32% of the votes and she has not spoken in one debate the entire year obviously she is not representing the people of North Down very well.”

    The fact that her husband has been seriously ill may be a factor and, in any case, these days the Chamber is almost a cypher anyway. Most MPs can do far more good for their constituents at home in the Constituency.

  • truth and justice


    Lady Hermons husband has been unwell for years and he is in a nursing home and is well looked after so to have the worst voting record of all NI MPs who have two or three jobs?????????????

  • cynic

    Truth and Justice

    Your last post says a lot about you and also ignores my point – MPs often get more done in the constituency that in Parliament. Since 1997 debates in the chamber are more and more formulaic and pointless esepcially when you are 1 MP and the Party in power has such a huge majority.

    The people of North Down will always have a choice. That’s the beauty of democracy.

  • truth and justice


    I can only assume you are from North Down and a UUP supporter however can you tell me honestly what has Hermon done for North Down except attend charity functions?????????????????????????????

  • POL

    Gerry Adams has it well sussed £132.000 and not a single vote. Where do you get jobs like that lol.