In the UK and other countries it is the job of the party whip to ensure that MPs vote on bills in line with party policy. This effectively means the majority party leadership decide which bills become acts, and MPs cannot vote for what they believe in if this differs from the party line.

As a thought experiment, what would happen to UK politics if MPs' votes were private, sealed votes?

Has anything like this been proposed before?

  • Objective part of question highlighted to address opinion-based flag.
    – Robin
    Apr 7, 2015 at 9:58
  • I am not sure if the votes were secret, but debates in the commons did used to be secret until around the 17th century
    – Ne Mo
    Dec 19, 2021 at 23:53

1 Answer 1


The problem with your suggestion is that elected MPs shouldn't be voting for what they believe in. They are in effect voting on behalf of their constituents, who elected their MP based on the political platform they ran on, which is usually the party platform, and giving them a specific mandate to try to implement it.

If the voters are going to hold their elected representatives to account then their voting record must be public otherwise they could run on one platform and vote entirely a different way and no one would be any the wiser.

IMO MPs being allowed to vote in secret would lead to endemic corruption. Without a public record and electorate to keep them honest votes would be sold to the highest bidder.

  • Overall this is right, but it might in fact make it hard to buy votes - the lobbyist would not know how an MP voted, which of course they do now.
    – Ne Mo
    Dec 19, 2021 at 23:52

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