In The Guardian on July 19 2018 I found this under the headline "Tory MP casts doubt on claim pairing breach was honest mistake as row escalates - Politics live".
Up to five Tory MPs were told to break pairs on Tuesday, Sun claims
According to a story by Tom Newton Dunn in the Sun, as many as five Conservative MPs who were paired on Tuesday night were asked by the chief whip, Julian Smith, to break the pair and vote regardless. The paper quotes an unnamed MP who was involved as saying:
Julian told me I was needed and told me to come in and vote. Of course he knew I was paired. I didn’t vote and honoured my pair, and he demanded to know why not afterwards. It then appears Julian told the prime minister it was all an innocent mistake ... What happened was unacceptable. We cannot behave like this.
In the event only one Conservative, the party chairman Brandon Lewis, did break a pair. Theresa May, Smith, Lewis and Andrea Leadsom, the leader of the Commons, have all claimed this was an innocent mistake.
As a continental European, I have no idea what a pair/pairing is exactly, other than some sort of Gentlemen Agreement. What is it intended for? Have breaches occurred in the past and what were the consequences?