The Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, has faced renewed calls to allow his MPs to vote according to their conscience on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill.
During Prime Minister’s Questions, Conservative leader David Cameron launched a scathing attack on Gordon Brown’s stance on the matter.
Mr Cameron said that given the Bill’s sensitive contents it “shouldn’t have been” whipped in the House of Lords. The Bill, he said, exemplified an “unanswerable case” for allowing MPs to vote according to conscience.
There has been confusion over whether Labour MPs will be allowed a free vote or not. In December, The Daily Telegraph reported that in an “unusual” move the Government would not be whipping the Bill.
Yet recently, in response to three Cabinet ministers threatening to rebel, Chief Whip Geoff Hoon said MPs would be allowed to abstain from voting, but by implication would not be allowed to vote against the Government.
To add to the confusion, Mr Brown responded to Mr Cameron’s criticisms saying, “…we will make a decision about the way votes will take place on that in due course”.