Time to tackle the growth of the ‘payroll vote’

Stuart Wilks-Heeg

Note: This article was amended on 23 October 2012 to clarify both how the ‘payroll vote’ is defined and the use of the term ‘paid government posts’.

In our latest full Audit of democracy in the UK, we highlighted our concern about the long-term growth of the government ‘payroll vote’ and its role in diminishing the independence of parliament from the executive.

Essentially, the payroll vote comprises MPs who are part of the government and are bound by convention to vote with it in divisions, or resign. In its broadest definition, the payroll vote includes government ministers and whips, as well as all MPs who are engaged as unpaid Parliamentary Private Secretaries (PPSs) to ministers. It is also important to note than some ministerial roles are unpaid.   Continue reading