How have Lancaster & Morecambe MPs voted in Parliament?

As MPs return to the House of Commons – and the headlines – following the Easter recess, we take a look at what contribution our two local MPs make to the chamber.

By Patrick Jack
Wednesday, 20th April 2022, 12:07 pm

Analysis shows how often the Labour MP for Lancaster and Morecambe’s Conservative MP have voted, how many debates they has taken part in and how many parliamentary questions they have asked since the last general election.

The figures, from the House of Commons Library, show the activities of MPs between the state opening of Parliament on December 16 2019 and March 7 this year.

Of the 491 votes over this time, Cat Smith, who serves as a backbench MP, recorded 389 ayes or noes.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Lancaster MP Cat Smith.

She recorded no vote, or abstained, on 102 occasions – giving the North West representative a participation rate of 79%.

But this was below the average for all UK politicians who have sat in the House of Commons since the election (excluding the Speakers) of 81%.

Several MPs had participation rates as high as 95%, while Conservative MP Sir Christopher Chope voted in just 36% of divisions.

The HoC Library said MPs may not vote because they are carrying out other work related to their parliamentary, government or opposition roles.

Morecambe MP David Morris.

And participation rates may be affected by ‘pairing arrangements’, whereby MPs from different parties who cannot attend a division agree to cancel out one another’s vote.

Before divisions, debates are held for Members to discuss government policy, new laws and topical issues of the day to help the House reach an informed decision.

Since the last election, Ms Smith, 36, has taken part in 165 debates, speaking a total of 46,166 words.

By comparison, the average MP has spoken 44,530 words over the same period, Prime Minister Boris Johnson around 394,000 and Democratic Unionist Party MP Jim Shannon a whopping 560,000.

These include spoken contributions and oral questions in the House of Commons chamber and in Westminster Hall, but not those shorter than four words.

The figures also show Cat Smith, who was elected to her seat on May 7, 2015, has asked 496 Parliamentary Questions since the last election.

These are put formally to a government minister about a matter they are responsible for.

This included 62 put to a government minister in person, 405 in writing and 26 topical questions – those asked during the last 15 minutes of most ministerial question sessions.

And she asked three during Prime Minister's Questions – the weekly session when the PM faces scrutiny in the House.

Of the 491 votes over this time, David Morris, who serves as a backbench MP, recorded 412 ayes or noes.

He recorded no vote, or abstained, on 79 occasions – giving the Tory representative a participation rate of 84%. This was above the average.

Since the last election, Mr Morris, 56, has taken part in 31 debates, speaking a total of 9,807 words.

The figures also show David Morris, who was elected to his seat on May 6, 2010, has asked 11 Parliamentary Questions since the last election.

This included four put to a government minister in person, four in writing and one topical question .

And he asked two during Prime Minister's Questions – the weekly session when the PM faces scrutiny in the House.