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The Auto Whip Theory by John Baldwin

some rbwm councillors

Does this need to be, or is whipping part of any courses on Politics in the UK?

When I read this in The Advertiser earlier today I thought he has a point, checked the listing and it could so be the reality of politics in RBWM. Enjoy…

Whipping up a storm?

Two Summers ago, the Conservative group publicly appointed Cllrs. Gurpreet Bhangra and Christine Bateson as Chief and Deputy Chief Whip. I have always wondered “Why them?”, and it was only last week that the penny finally dropped.

No matter where or when a vote takes place, it is always taken in surname alphabetical order. If either are present, they will always be the first Conservative to vote. The Tories, rather cleverly, have automated whipping!

Cllr. Bhangra is also a member of the Place Overview and Scrutiny panel, the Maidenhead Development Management Committee and is Chair of the Licencing Panel.

Whipping is forbidden on all three.

However, I now realise that no explicit instruction is necessary prior to any meeting when they are present.  Their vote triggers the Auto-whip, and the others have only to follow suit. Check the records. It’s an infallible system.

My lightbulb moment was the recent behaviour of Cllr. Luxton. She twice followed the Auto-whip and voted with Cllr. Bhangra against Cllr. Davey being Vice Chair of Place. The second time it was for one night only! Realising that she was endangering the meeting going ahead at all, she then wanted to accept him.

She could have simply renominated Cllr. Davey for Vice Chair. Instead, she chose to speak to her Chief Whip first.

After that off mic chat, she said, audibly for the record –

I have just confirmed it’s OK (my emphasis). We are happy with on the Opposition (sic) somebody being a Vice chair for this evening.”

Why the huddle? Because the Auto-whip was still in place! She had to get Cllr. Bhangra’s sign-off first!

With the Auto-whip applying whenever Cllr. Bhangra is empanelled, my view is that he shouldn’t serve on any. What it means for Cllr. Bateson’s role as the Chair of Council is one for the constitutional scholars.

If both wish to continue in their various roles, I suggest the Conservatives make another public announcement, replacing their Whips with others, who must also not serve on the panels mentioned or be Deputy Mayor.


Cllr. John Baldwin

Belmont Ward

I do like the fact that the discoverer of this fact is first on the Councillor list and can only imagine he drew this conclusion in one of his medative moments, where he looks at the full listing and smiles to himself, repeating the mantra “Look who’s No 1 baby 😉 “

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