30 June 2008

The Summer Whip

As promised, here's a look at the overall stats for April to June, as collected from Whips passim.

We start, as is the custom, with the Top 5 absentees: Margo MacDonald (Ind, Lothians) and Elaine Smith (Lab, Coatbridge & Chryston) were the most absent MSPs this term with both of them missing 28 votes out of 74. Both were on the last List: Margo was fourth in the Spring, while Elaine Smith was joint fifth. Third is LibDem Justice Spokeswoman Margaret Smith (Edinburgh West), who missed 27 votes, while Deputy Presiding Officer Trish Godman (Lab, West Renfrewshire) was unaccounted for 25 times, giving her fourth place. The line-up is completed with former First Minister Jack McConnell (Lab, Motherwell & Wishaw) and his 23 missed votes.


The SNP once again have the best attendance rate of the Big 4 - 97.67%.

Environment Minister Mike Russell (South of Scotland) missed 16 votes, while Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead (Moray) and Alex Salmond (Gordon) missed 14 each. Community Safety Minister Fergus Ewing (Inverness East, Nairn and Lochaber) missed eleven while Shirley-Anne Somerville (Lothian) missed five. Parliamentary Business Minister Bruce Crawford (Stirling) and Bob Doris (Glasgow) missed four votes, Ian McKee (Lothian) and Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson (Banff & Buchan) missed three. Kenneth Gibson (Cunninghame North), Communities Minister Stewart Maxwell and Stuart McMillan (both West of Scotland) missed two votes, while Brian Adam (Aberdeen North) missed one.

Three SNP MSPs deviated from the Party line once: Angela Constance (Livingston), Roseanna Cunningham (Perth) and Alex Neil (Central Scotland).


Labour's attendance rate is not the worst this term, but it has fallen quite badly - it's down to 91.75%. Aside from the three Labour MSPs in the Top 5 absentees, Shadow Rural Development Minister Karen Gillon (Clydesdale) missed 21 votes. Bill Butler (Glasgow Anniesland) and Irene Oldfather (Cunninghame South) missed 18 each. Marlyn Glen (North East Scotland) missed 15 while Shadow Education Secretary Rhona Brankin and Shadow Environment Minister David Stewart both missed nine. Former Leader Wendy Alexander (Paisley North), Shadow Finance Secretary Iain Gray (East Lothian), Marilyn Livingstone (Kirkcaldy) and Shadow Energy Minister Lewis Macdonald Meanh(Aberdeen Central) all missed eight votes. Hugh Henry (Paisley South) and Shadow Enterprise Minister Elaine Murray (Dumfries) both missed seven votes, while Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton), Cathie Craigie (Cumbernauld & Kilsyth) and Acting Leader Cathy Jamieson (Carrick, Cumnock & Doon Valley) missed six. Shadow Higher Education Minister Claire Baker (Mid Scotland & Fife), her husband Richard (North East Scotland), Shadow Transport Minister Des McNulty (Clydebank & Milngavie), Shadow Children's Minister Mary Mulligan (Linlithgow), Cathy Peattie (Falkirk East) and Karen Whitefield (Airdrie & Shotts) all missed five votes. Helen Eadie (Dunfermline East) and Shadow Public Services Secretary Andy Kerr (East Kilbride) missed four votes, while George Foulkes (Lothian), Tom McCabe (Hamilton South) and Peter Peacock (Highlands & Islands) missed three. Shadow Sport Minister Frank McAveety (Glasgow Shettleston) missed two votes, while Duncan McNeil (Greenock & Inverclyde) and Shadow Public Health Minster Richard Simpson (Mid Scotland & Fife) missed one.

Meanwhile, six MSPs have rebelled once: Claire Baker, Michael McMahon, Shadow Justice Secretary Pauline McNeill (Glasgow Kelvin), Peter Peacock, Elaine Smith and David Whitton (Strathkelvin & Bearsden).


The Tories' attendance rate has dipped to 94.51%, but they at least can say that they have had no rebellions, making them unique among the parties. However, in terms of absences David McLetchie (Edinburgh Pentlands) has missed fifteen votes, while Margaret Mitchell (Central Scotland) has missed thirteen. Rural Affairs Spokesman John Scott (Ayr) has missed twelve votes, Health Spokeswoman Mary Scanlon (Highlands & Islands) has missed eight, Justice Spokesman Bill Aitken (Glasgow) has missed seven, while Party Leader Annabel Goldie (West of Scotland) has missed six. Ted Brocklebank and Elizabeth Smith (both Mid Scotland & Fife), Finance Spokesman Derek Brownlee (South of Scotland) and Alex Johnstone (North East Scotland) have all missed one vote.

Liberal Democrats

The LibDems aren't good at this. Of all the Parties, the LibDems' 91.30% attendance rate is the worst, and is a decline from last term's performance where they also propped up the others. Aside from Margaret Smith's absences, Iain Smith (North East Fife) has missed 18 votes, while Leader Nicol Stephen (Aberdeen South) has missed 15. Health Spokesman Ross Finnie (West of Scotland) has missed twelve, Finance Spokesman Tavish Scott (Shetland) has missed ten. Liam McArthur (Orkney) has missed nine, while John Farquhar Munro (Ross, Skye and Inverness West) has missed four. Hugh O'Donnell (Central Scotland) missed three votes, while Jamie Stone (Caithness, Sutherland & Easter Ross) missed two. Alison McInnes (North East Scotland), Rural Affairs Spokesman Mike Rumbles (West Aberdeenshire & Kincardine) and Jim Tolson (Dunfermline West) all missed one.

And the LibDems had trouble with rebels: excluding the free votes on the expenses review, John Farquhar Munro rebelled three times (the most of anyone this term) while Iain Smith rebelled once.

Greens and Margo

The Greens maintain their 100% attendance record. However, there were two votes this term where the pair of them voted a different way. This is a slight embarrassment.

Margo, of course, can't rebel against herself, though her 28 absences gave her a woeful 62.16% attendance rate. And out of the 46 times she did press a button, she abstained on 24 of them, giving her an abstention rate of 52.17%. The "independent voice for the Lothians" is, it seems, rather quiet these days.

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