Nineteen MPs did not vote in Meaningful Vote 3 on the Withdrawal Agreement.

Some of these I can explain, and have posted at the end of this question, but others I cannot currently explain. Why did these MPs not vote?

  1. Ronnie Campbell - Labour
  2. Kelvin Hopkins - Indepdendent
  3. John McNally - SNP
  4. Dennis Skinner - Labour


  1. John Bercow - Speaker
  2. Mickey Brady - Sinn Féin
  3. Michelle Gildernew - Sinn Féin
  4. Chris Hazzard - Sinn Féin
  5. Lindsay Hoyle - Labour, Chairman of Ways and Means and Deputy Speaker of the House
  6. Eleanor Laing - Conservative, Deputy Speaker
  7. Paul Maskey - Sinn Féin
  8. Elisha McCallion - Sinn Féin
  9. Francie Molloy - Sinn Féin
  10. Andrew Stephenson - Conservative, Teller
  11. Craig Whittaker - Conservative, Teller
  12. Nic Dakin - Labour, Teller
  13. Thangam Debbonaire - Labour, Teller
  14. Órfhlaith Begley - Sinn Féin
  15. Rosie Winterton - Labour, Deputy Speaker
  • 1
    I must note that "Vacant Seat" is not an MP, and thus only 19 MPs did not vote.
    – Joe C
    Jul 27, 2019 at 20:13
  • 1
    Your unknown is Órfhlaith Begley, the member for West Tyrone for Sinn Féin.
    – Joe C
    Jul 27, 2019 at 20:18
  • The Commons Votes website has Skinner down as Labour and Hopkins down as Independent.
    – Joe C
    Jul 27, 2019 at 20:24
  • @Ben Dennis Skinner is absolutely still Labour. Hopkins is definitely an Independent, having had the whip withdrawn.
    – owjburnham
    Jul 27, 2019 at 23:35
  • 1
    @JamesK Bercow was Conservative, gave that up when he took the Speakership a decade ago.
    – Joe C
    Jul 28, 2019 at 7:23

2 Answers 2


Ronnie Campbell, Kelvin Hopkins and Dennis Skinner are socialist MPs, in favour of leaving the European Union (which they see as a "capitalist club"). They support withdrawal, but they don't support the Conservative Party's Withdrawl Agreement (WA) with the EU.

Rather than vote with the Conservative Prime Minister, or vote against leaving the EU, these three decided to abstain.

John McNally appears to be opposed to a "hard brexit" and may have been concerned that his party's opposition to the WA would make a hard "brexit" more likely. However he was not willing to go fully against the rest of his party, so he abstained.

It seems that these four MPs were, for various reasons, not willing to vote against the WA, nor vote with Theresa May, and so abstained on principle.


15 of these non-votes are usual:

  • The Speaker (Bercow) only votes to break a tie.
  • The three Deputy Speakers (Hoyle, Lang, Winterton) also do not vote due to their positions.
  • The seven Sinn Fein MPs (Begley, Brady, Gildernew, Hazzard, Maskey, McCallion, Molloy) do not take their seats in Parliament (this is party policy), so thus cannot vote.
  • The tellers for this vote (Dakin, Debbonaire, Stephenson, Whittaker) are responsible for counting the votes, and thus do not vote themselves. (There are two ayes and two noes, so they cancel each other out anyway.)

I'm not able to find any information about the four other non-votes (Campbell, Hopkins, McNally, Skinner). It is possible that they simply failed to reach the chamber within the eight minute time limit, but I can find nothing to confirm this.

  • Is it "normal" for some people to simply not make it in time?
    – 52d6c6af
    Jul 27, 2019 at 20:20
  • 1
    I can't say how normal it is, but it does sound plausible, depending on where they are when the division bells start ringing. But I must stress that this is simply speculation.
    – Joe C
    Jul 27, 2019 at 20:24
  • 1
    It's not normal if they actually want to vote. It is perfectly possible to vote in both sides of a division by passing through both lobbies. To be unable to make it to either lobby in time is a choice not an accident.
    – Jontia
    Jul 28, 2019 at 7:15

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