Conservative MP Philip Davies has made a name for himself in Parliament by blocking legislation using a tactic called the “filibuster”.
Filibustering is essentially talking non-stop for a long time so that a debate runs out of time and a vote cannot be held on the law, effectively killing it.
This approach generally only works against legislation proposed by backbenchers, not the Government, because backbench laws tend to be discussed on a Friday when most MPs are back at their local constituencies.
This means it’s hard to get the 100 MPs required under parliamentary rules for a “cloture” motion forcing the MP to stop talking.
Today Mr Davies tried to filibuster a Bill to ratify the Istanbul Convention on preventing domestic violence. He didn’t succeed – but here are some times he did succeed:
1) Free hospital car parking for carers
Davies spoke for 90 minutes in order to block a bill that would have provided free hospital car parking for carers. Two other Conservative MPs also spoke for an hour and 20 minutes, meaning that MPs ran out of time to vote on the law.
2) Making home fit for human habitation
Last year the MP blocked a bill that would have required landlords to make homes “fit for human habitation”. Himself a landlord, Davies argued that the rule would put “a huge burden on landlords”.
3) First aid training for children in schools
Davies was determined to block a bill that would have required schools to give children training in administrating first aid. He spoke for around an hour, the longest speech in the debate, telling the House: “Why on earth would I allow a bill that principle of which I don’t like a second reading?”
4) Banning wild animal use in circuses
Both parties are on paper signed up to a ban of using wild animals in circuses. Davies was one of three Tory backbenchers who blocked a private members bill to achieve the aim, repeatedly raising objections to stop a bill being debated.
5) Reversing NHS privatisation progress
Earlier this year Davies prevented the discussion of a bill to reverse private sector takeovers in the NHS. He and a small number of other Tory backbenchers talked at length about a bill on deporting foreigners that had repeatedly been brought before the House and rejected. They collectively talked for four and a half hours, using up practically all the afternoon’s time for debate.
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