Ignoring his whip, Douglas Ross, MP for Moray, voted with the SNP to defeat the Government in a debate on the case put forward by the WASPI group, on the pension entitlements, or lack of, of women born in the 1950s, thinking they could retire at 60 and then being told more recently they would have to work years beyond that. The decision is, however, not binding and the Government can simply ignore it.
Ross said, after listening to the motion from the SNP leader:
‘I agree with a lot of what my Hon. Friend says, both now and in previous debates on this issue. More can be done. There is a lot we can discuss and debate, and I have put myself forward to be a member of the all-party parliamentary group on state pension inequality for women.’
Ross does, of course, need to improve his public image after being caught missing a parliamentary committee to referee a Champions League football match in Portugal.
There have been other, sometimes serial, Tory rebels before, but they typically come from the extreme and often eccentric, right-wing fringe of the party who feel that it is being too compassionate on something. Peter Bone (56 rebellions) was perhaps the best example. Described in the Guardian as:
‘An MP since 2005, Essex-born Bone (59) is best-known for quoting the breakfast-table remarks of his wife (“Mrs Bone”) to David Cameron at PMQs, as representing the solid good sense of Middle Britain. A company accountant who once paid a teenager 87p an hour, he also said the NHS would “not be out of place in Stalin’s Russia” – but supports homeopathy and an abortion limit of 12 weeks. He was seen as one of the “mostly cantankerous old farts” on the backbench 1922 committee, but he lost his seat in this month’s elections.’