Tomorrow afternoon the Government is putting an SI (Statutory Instrument) through the Delegated Legislation Committee, which will raise the qualifying period for unfair dismissal claims from 12 months to 2 years. According to the ONS this will affect around 12% of workers.
Any MP can go along to speak on the SI but can’t vote unless they’re on the Committee. I wonder if local MP Chris Skidmore will use it as another opportunity to plug his idea that firms employing fewer than 10 workers should be able to sack anyone without a reason at any time?
If it goes through the Committee (which it will, as it will have a Government majority and will be whipped) it will then be introduced in the Commons under ‘Remaining Orders of the Day’ and will be voted on without debate.
We have this thing called ‘Deferred Divisions’ on a Wednesday from 11.30 to 2pm, where we get to vote on things carried over from the Remaining Orders of the Day. We vote on pink pieces of paper, which are handed to clerks in the No lobby – so it’s similar to voting normally except we all go into the same lobby, and we can do it at any time during the two-and-a-half hour period, and we can vote in a matter of seconds. A few weeks ago on a Wednesday I voted No to seven Government SIs in less than a minute, and then took the best part of 45 minutes to vote against three Govermment proposals in the ‘normal’ way. (You have eight minutes to get through the door when the division bell goes, but the result takes about 15 minutes in total).
It’s a useful way of dealing with the less important legislation – although if an SI is pushed to the vote it probably is very important to at least some people, and obviously tomorrow’s SI is very important indeed – but I still like the normal way of voting. It’s good to see colleagues in the division lobbies. And it does press home to members the importance of what they’re voting on.