An influx of MPs with surnames starting with Mc are creating long queues in the voting lobbies of the House of Commons, a Conservative MP has complained.
Speaking in parliament on Thursday, the MP for Kettering, Philip Hollobone, said the arrival of 25 MPs with surnames beginning with Mc, many of whom are in the new influx of Scottish National party MPs, were contributing to delays in the time it takes to vote.
MPs vote by passing into either the aye or no lobby in the House of Commons and have their names recorded by clerks on alphabetical lists.
During the weekly business statement, Hollobone addressed the leader of the Commons, Chris Grayling: “Do you share my concern that the business of the House is being unnecessarily delayed by divisions taking an unnecessarily long time? It would seem to me the primary cause of this is the unequal length of the alphabetical queues in the voting lobbies.
“A quick analysis shows there are 199 members in the N-Z queue and 236 in the G-M queue. Given you are a G and the chief whip [Mark Harper] is an H, will you ensure that by the time we come back in September [after the summer break], these queue lengths have been equalised?” he said.
“The quickest and easiest way to do this would be to consign the 25 members of this House whose surname begins with Mc to the outer darkness of the N-Z queue.”
On the day that the government presented its English votes for English laws plans (known as EVEL) to parliament, prompting accusations from the SNP that they were trying to turn Scottish MPs into “second-class citizens”, Grayling replied with caution.
“I will simply say I very much value my Scottish colleagues in this union parliament and I would not wish to consign them to any outer darkness,” he said. “But I have every sympathy with the point you make, it is something I do intend to ask officials to look at when the [House of Commons] commission starts meeting.”
“There is no doubt, as a G who stands in the queue whilst the other queues disappear, I have a lot of sympathy with what you say,” he added.
The Commons speaker, John Bercow, responded that Hollobone was “a most legendary anorak”.
Proposals to introduce a system of electronic voting in parliament have been considered over the years, but have never garnered much support, with MPs arguing that the procedure of voting in person encourages them to attend debates and lobby senior colleagues.
This article was written by Frances Perraudin, for theguardian.com on Thursday 2nd July 2015 19.16 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010