Government Defeats

on the Floor of the House of Commons

This page records all occasions since 1918 that a division of the House of Commons has resulted in the defeat of the Government. It includes all divisions in which a whip was imposed and the government was defeated. This category includes, in practice, most divisions in the House. Divisions on Private Members’ Bills, Private Bills, and internal regulation of the House of Commons are not subject to a whip and are not therefore included, even if the line urged by the government was defeated.

There have been 120 divisions since the first world war in which the government has been defeated. As the table shows they were concentrated in the period 1974-79 when the government had either no majority or a very small majority. However, governments with a large majority have not been immune: the government of Margaret Thatcher was defeated three times while enjoying an overall majority of more than 100. Sir Alec Douglas-Home’s government would have been defeated on 23rd March 1964 on an amendment to the Resale Prices Bill if rebellious backbenchers had determined to do so (they pulled their punch and reduced the government majority to a symbolic 1).

These defeats were caused by government backbenchers breaking the whip. When the government was defeated in the 1950-51, 1964-66 and in the 1974 Parliaments, it was because the opposition parties united against a government and happened to have more MPs present on the day. This was also the case with just under half of the defeats in 1974-79, but of only one since 1979 (that on the Education Bill in January 1997).

The opposition whips have operated tactically in their attempts to defeat the government. They may lead the government whips to believe that they do not intend to call a vote, but secretly arrange for a large number of their backbenchers to be present. They may call the vote suddenly at a time when they hope many government members are not present. Alternatively the government whips may suffer poor organization.

A government defeat does not necessarily have any impact in terms of change of policy. A defeat in an adjournment debate merely adjourns the House. Defeat on motions supporting particular policies are symbolic only, such as on fishing policy in 1995. Defeat on an amendment to a bill could be reversed in the House of Lords (for example the Local Government Bill in 1972), or almost immediately in the House of Commons (for example the National Health Service and Community Care Bill in 1990). However the government attempted to reverse the defeat on the Scottish and Welsh referendums in 1978 and saw further defeats.

However many defeats were accepted. On some occasions there was no alternative, the vote being decisive. The rate of income tax was reduced, VAT on domestic fuel was held down, and the government was prevented from imposing sanctions on companies breaking the 5% pay norm during 1978-79 because of government defeats.

The two most recent Parliaments have seen the largest government majorities since the war. The closest any division came to defeating the government was when the government had a majority of 5 in a division on the second reading of the Higher Education Bill. The author has heard that during a sitting of the House in the 1997 Parliament, the government whips put pressure on MPs to remain in the House during a series of controversial divisions so that the government majority did not fall below the symbolic figure of 100.

During the period 1945-70, when the government was only very rarely defeated, the impression grew up that a government which was defeated must either reverse the decision, seek a vote of confidence or resign. The occasional minor defeats in 1950-51 were accepted, but soon after the government called a general election. Only when Edward Heath’s government was defeated was there a realization that the government need only resign if it loses a vote of confidence. In 1993, John Major resorted to a vote of confidence to reverse his defeat on the social chapter of the Maastricht Treaty; a defeat by 8 votes turned into a victory by 40.

DateAyes NoesQuestion
Coalition Government (Lloyd George)
1918-22 Parliament
4th July 1919100-85  Motion to retain wording of the third reading motion on the Women’s Emancipation Bill (and therefore to reject an amendment to delay third reading by three months).
23rd October 1919113-185Amendment to the Aliens Restriction Bill (to exclude French nationals from the general prohibition on aliens holding a pilotage certificate for any port in the United Kingdom).
25th February 1920123-57  Motion to declare the desirability of increasing the pensions of all police officers and men who retired before 1st April 1919 to such an extent as would meet the increased cost of living.
19th July 1921137-135Amendment to the Finance Bill (to exclude from consideration for Corporation Profits Tax the profits or surplus arising from a registered Provident Society trading with its own members).
16th May 1922151-148Motion to adjourn debate on the Second reading of the Teachers (Superannuation) Bill.
Conservative Government (Bonar Law)
None.
1922-23 Parliament
10th April 1923138-145Motion that Mr. Speaker do now leave the chair (to allow the approval of Supply motions). (Opposition Supply Day debate held by the Liberal Party on the appointment of ex-servicemen to the civil service, and the pay for former temporary clerks now holding permanent civil service positions.)
Conservative Government (Baldwin)
None.
1924 Parliament
21st January 1924328-256Amendment to motion for a loyal address expressing no confidence in His Majesty’s present advisers.
21st January 1924328-251Motion for a loyal address expressing no confidence in His Majesty’s present advisers.
Labour Government (Macdonald)
13th March 1924207-234Motion to exempt government business that day from the Standing Order (Sittings of the House) - ie to allow contested business to be taken after 11’o’clock.
7th April 1924212-221Motion to retain wording of the second reading motion on the Rent and Mortgage Restrictions Bill (and therefore to reject a reasoned amendment).
7th April 1924207-170Amendment to Ways and Means Resolution to exclude the charge on supplies of milk from the charges for which it is expedient to give legal validity for. (The charges had been imposed by Defence Regulations during the Great War)
16th June 1924189-126Second Reading of new clause to the London Traffic Bill (to require owners of bus companies to declare any agreements - such as loans, shareholdings and agreed directorships - for control of their company, and also to declare full particulars of their holdings of stocks and shares in any company supplying them).
23rd June 1924315-175Motion to commit the Housing Bill to a Committee of the Whole House.
24th June 1924168-195Motion to retain wording of the London Traffic Bill (and oppose an amendment to require regulations made under the Act to be laid before Parliament while it was sitting and be approved by a Resolution before coming into effect).
30th June 1924220-165Amendment to the Finance Bill to prevent Entertainment Duty being charged on entertainments where all the profits go to philanthropic, charitable or educational purposes.
18th July 1924149-171Motion to retain wording of the Unemployment Insurance Bill (and oppose an amendment to suspend the power of the Minister to make special schemes for dealing with unemployment, not abolish it).
21st July 1924201-155Amendment to the Housing (Financial Provisions) Bill to apply section 3 of the Housing etc. Act 1923 retrospectively where the Minister certifies that a local authority is failing to take necessary steps for construction of houses.
21st July 1924119-137New clause to the Housing (Financial Provisions) Bill to give security of tenure to tenants of local authorities or social landlords.
8th October 1924198-359Motion to retain wording of motion censuring the Government for instituting and subsequently withdrawing criminal proceedings against the editor of ‘Workers Weekly’.†
8th October 1924364-198Amendment to the above motion calling for a Select Committee to be appointed to investigate and report on the circumstances leading up to the withdrawal of proceedings against Mr. Campbell.
1924-29 Parliament
Conservative Government (Baldwin)
None.
1929-31 Parliament
Labour Government (Macdonald)
11th March 1930274-282Motion to retain wording of the Coal Mines Bill (and reject an amendment to delete power of the central council to put levies on districts for the purpose of facilitating export sales of coal).
31st March 1930179-183Motion to exempt government business that day from the Standing Order (Sittings of the House) - ie to allow contested business to be taken after 11’o’clock.
21st January 1931249-282Motion to retain wording of the Education (School Attendance) Bill (and oppose an amendment preventing the Act from coming into operation until grants from public funds are made to enable non-provided schools - most of which were Catholic - to meet the requirements of the Act).
16th March 1931242-246Motion that clause 4 (Abolition of University Constituencies) stand part of the Representation of the People Bill (the clause abolished university constituencies).
15th June 1931208-232Motion to retain wording of the Finance Bill, to retain requirement that land tax is assessed on the cultivation value of agricultural land only.
National Government (Macdonald)
None.
1931-35 Parliament
None.
National Government (Baldwin)
None.
1935-45 Parliament
1st April 1936148-156Motion to retain wording of motion on civil service pay (and reject an amendment calling on the government to grant women civil servants the same pay as men).
National Government (Chamberlain)
16th February 1938150-98  Motion to put the question on motion calling for a committee of inquiry into the award of pensions to unmarried women.
(22nd February 193989-90Motion to retain wording of motion on co-ordination of man-power and industrial policy in order to ensure employment to able-bodied unemployed workers. There was a miscount in the division; there were in fact only 89 Noes.)
National Government (Churchill)
1st April 1941144-136Motion for a Prayer to annul an order made under the Emergency Powers (Defence) Acts 1939 and 1940. The order allowed theatres and music-halls to open on Sunday. [The government allowed a free vote but strongly urged that the prayer be rejected]
28th March 1944117-116Amendment to the Education Bill (to compel equal pay for men and women teachers).
Conservative Caretaker Government (Churchill)
None.
1945-50 Parliament
Labour Government (Attlee)
None.
1950-51 Parliament
29th March 1950283-257Motion that this House do now adjourn (debate on the subject of fuel and power).
9th April 1951237-219Motion for a Prayer to annul the Fats, Cheese and Tea (Rationing) (Amendment No. 2) Order 1951. The order reduced the cheese ration.
5th July 1951157-141Motion for a Prayer to annul the Plasterboard (Prices) (No. 1) Order 1951, the Building Plasters (Prices) (No. 1) Order 1951, and the Gypsum Rock (Prices) (No. 1) Order 1951.
16th July 1951229-232Motion to retain wording of the Forestry Bill (on compulsory purchase powers of the Forestry Commission).
1951-55 Parliament
Conservative Government (Churchill)
11th November 1953145-141Motion for a Prayer to annul the Miscellaneous Controls (Revocation) Order 1953. The Order revoked four previous Orders, principally the Glassware (Control of Manufacture and Supply) Order 1948 which provided for licensing of home trade and exports of glassware, and enabled the Board of Trade to place an embargo on imports of domestic glassware decorated by cutting, engraving and etching.
Conservative Government (Eden)
None.
1955-59 Parliament
None.
Conservative Government (Macmillan)
None.
1959-64 Parliament
None.
Conservative Government (Douglas-Home)
None.
1964-66 Parliament
Labour Government (Wilson)
5th March 1965128-117Motion to put the question on procedural motion relating to the Murder (Abolition of Death Penalty) Bill.
5th March 1965128-120Motion to discharge the order of commitment of the Murder (Abolition of Death Penalty) Bill and commit the Bill to a Committee of the Whole House.
6th July 1965180-166Second reading of new clause to the Finance (No. 2) Bill (to require that the rate of Capital Gains Tax payable by a unit trust or investment trust does not exceed that payable by an individual under the Bill).
6th July 1965180-167Motion to add the new clause to the Finance (No. 2) Bill.
6th July 1965180-167Motion that further consideration of the Finance (No. 2) Bill, as amended, be adjourned.
1966-70 Parliament
4th May 1970105-104Amendment to the Administration of Justice Bill (Lords) to remove the ability of the Commercial Court to sit in secret.
1970-74 Parliament
Conservative Government (Heath)
24th April 1972251-247Second reading of new clause to the Housing Finance Bill (to require service charges for unfurnished lettings to be determined separately and registered with the rent officer). [The motion to add the clause to the Bill was negatived 242-245]
19th July 1972190-186Amendment to the Local Government Bill (to allow new district councils to exercise functions of refuse disposal).
20th October 197253-47Amendment to Lords Amendment to the Criminal Justice Bill (to extend liability for jury service to young people aged eighteen years from the present twenty-one years).
22nd November 1972275-240Motion to disapprove of the Statement of Immigration Rules for Control on Entry.
13th June 1973267-250Second reading of new clause to the Maplin Development Bill (to require the Civil Aviation Authority, in consultation with the Maplin Development Authority, to keep under constant review the development of quieter aero-engines and short take-off capacity, and to take action to delay, vary or desist from construction of an airport on land reclaimed as a result of the passage of the Act).
12th July 1973264-285Government amendment to Opposition motion calling for government to suspend issuing export licences for live sheep.
1974 Parliament
Labour Government (Wilson)
19th June 1974299-308Second reading of new clause to the Finance Bill (to give provident benefit income exemptions under section 338 of the Income and Corporation Taxes Act to registered trade unions, and to restore the exemption retrospectively to those trade unions deregistered under the Industrial Relations Act 1971).
20th June 1974290-311Amendment to opposition motion recalling that subsidies to private companies failed to correct the problems of British industry, expressing the belief that the time had come to re-examine the working of the mixed economy, and supporting the Prime Minister’s statement of 12th March 1974.
20th June 1974311-290Motion regretting the government’s damaging industrial policy based on a massive extension of nationalisation and control of individual companies.
27th June 1974289-298Amendment to opposition motion to endorse the government’s decision to undertake a fundamental review of local government finance.
27th June 1974298-289Motion stressing the need for a fundamental reform of the rating system, urging Her Majesty’s Government to introduce interim relief for the worst affected in that year, and to provide that water and sewerage charges should rank for rate rebate.
11th July 1974291-290Amendment to the Trade Union and Labour Relations Bill to make the dismissal of an employee for not being a member of a trade union in a closed shop an unfair dismissal.*
11th July 1974283-282Amendment to the Trade Union and Labour Relations Bill to make dismissal of employees who on any reasonable grounds have refused to join a particular trade union an unfair dismissal.*
16th July 1974292-267Second reading of new clause to the Finance Bill (to raise the limit for small companies Corporation Tax liability from 15,000 and 25,000 to 25,000 and 40,000).
16th July 1974291-274Amendment to the Finance Bill (to restrict the rate of pool betting duty from 40% to 33 1/3 % for holders of licences under the Pool Competitions Act 1971 and any person approved by the Secretary of State on the recommendations of the Gaming Board - those holding pools competitions to raise money to sustain charities or sporting organisations).
16th July 1974280-298Amendment to the Finance Bill (to make VAT charges on hiring of goods retrospective to 1st April 1973, and not to apply them only from the date of Royal Assent).
16th July 1974296-280Amendment to the Finance Bill (to set the additional rate of income tax for 1974-5 on investment income at 15% on incomes over 2,000 per annum).
18th July 1974153-159Motion to disagree with Lords Amendments to the Health and Safety at Work etc. Bill (to preserve the responsibility of the safety inspectorate of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to regulate health and safety in agriculture, and not transfer it to the Health and Safety Executive).
18th July 1974143-147Motion to disagree with Lords Amendment to the Health and Safety at Work etc. Bill (to give power to non-unionized employees to appoint safety representatives).
30th July 1974270-276Motion to disagree with Lords New Clause to the Trade Union and Labour Relations Bill (to give every worker the right not to be excluded from trade union membership, nor expelled from a union by way of arbitrary or unreasonable discrimination).
30th July 1974269-280Motion to disagree with Lords New Clause to the Trade Union and Labour Relations Bill (to require trade unions to make specified rules for the conduct of ballots for their governing body).
30th July 1974271-281Motion to disagree with Lords Amendment to the Trade Union and Labour Relations Bill (to allow trade unions failing to make the rules as specified by this Act to be deregistered).
30th July 1974272-282Motion to disagree with Lords Amendment to the Trade Union and Labour Relations Bill (to give the immunity from civil action to employees taking part in trade disputes to claims arising from another person being induced to break their contract of employment, and not to those induced to break commercial contracts).
30th July 1974272-280Motion to disagree with Lords Amendment to the Trade Union and Labour Relations Bill (to restrict immunities to disputes within Great Britain, and exclude strikes in Great Britain in support of workers in another country in a multinational company).
1974-79 Parliament
29th January 1975265-280Amendment to the Social Security Benefits Bill (to restore earnings rule limit for retired persons at 13).
2nd July 1975149-220Amendment to the Industry Bill (to remove obligation on government to disclose forecasts of economic parameters to companies obliged to give it information).
2nd July 1975147-230Amendment to the Industry Bill (to delete schedule making planning agreements conditional on government disclosing economic forecasts).
17th July 1975108-106Amendment to the Finance Bill (to exclude television sets hired before 16th April 1975 from the higher 25% rate of Value Added Tax).
4th August 1975261-268Motion to disagree with Lords Amendment to the Housing Finance (Special Provision) Bill (the Lords Amendment deleted a clause ending the disqualification of councillors who had failed to implement the Housing Finance Act 1972 - ie those in Clay Cross Urban District Council).
11th February 1976214-209Motion to reduce the salary of the Secretary of State for Industry by half. [There had been an admitted miscount early in the division and many Members were unaware the division was proceeding; the decision was later reversed]
10th March 1976256-284Motion to approve government policy on public expenditure.
Labour Government (Callaghan)
28th June 1976259-0    Motion that this House do now adjourn (debate on the subject of the Child Benefit Scheme).**
10th November 1976308-310Motion to disagree with Lords Amendment to the Dock Work Regulation Bill (amendment required that the whole of an area designated by the Secretary of State as a dock labour scheme area be comprised within a definable dock area).
10th November 1976308-311Motion to disagree with Lords Amendment to the Dock Work Regulation Bill (amendment limited a definable dock area to any place within half a mile of a harbour to which the Act applies).
7th February 1977129-130Second reading of the Redundancy Rebates Bill.
22nd February 1977283-312Motion to allocate time for the Scotland and Wales Bill.
11th March 1977293-0    Motion that this House do now adjourn (debate on the subject of the White Paper on Public Expenditure).**
5th April 1977203-185Motion that this House do now adjourn (debate on the subject of teacher training colleges in Scotland).
12th July 1977  99-105Third reading of the Local Authority Works (Scotland) Bill.
13th July 197789-86Second reading of new clause to the Criminal Law Bill (to give those arrested the right to have knowledge of their arrest and location sent to a person of their choosing).
22nd November 1977184-199Motion that Clause 1 stand part of the Scotland Bill (The clause declared that the provisions of the bill do not affect the unity of the United Kingdom).
5th December 1977158-126Motion that this House do now adjourn (debate on the subject of the Crown Agents’ scandal).
7th December 1977160-161Motion that Clause 40 stand part of the Scotland Bill (The clause required the Secretary of State to have regard to national pay policy).
23rd January 1978291-280Amendment to set rate of devaluation of the ‘Green Pound’ at 7.5%, not 5%.
23rd January 1978291-281Motion to devalue the ‘Green Pound’ by 7.5%.
25th January 1978166-151Amendment to an amendment to the Scotland Bill (to change threshold for accepting a Yes vote at 40% of the electorate, not one third).
25th January 1978168-142Amendment to the Scotland Bill (to require that the Secretary of State lay orders for repeal of the Act if fewer than 40% of the electorate vote in favour in a referendum).
25th January 1978204-118Amendment to the Scotland Bill (to exclude Orkney and/or Shetland from the provisions of the bill if they were to vote against its implementation in a referendum).
14th February 1978242-223Second reading of new clause to the Scotland Bill (to provide that no referendum may be held until three months after a general election).
15th February 1978243-298Amendment to the Scotland Bill (to remove the requirement that the Secretary of State lay orders for repeal of the Act if fewer than 40% of the electorate vote in favour in a referendum, and make the referendum consultative).
15th February 1978240-285Amendment to the Scotland Bill (to reduce the threshold for accepting a Yes vote to one third of the electorate, not 40%).
19th April 1978232-259Motion that Clause 82 stamd part of the Wales Bill (The clause set conditions for the commencement of the Act).
19th April 1978280-208Amendment to the Wales Bill (to require that the Secretary of State lay orders for repeal of the Act if fewer than 40% of the electorate vote in favour in a referendum).
8th May 1978312-304Amendment to the Finance Bill (to reduce basic rate of income tax from 34% to 33%).
10th May 1978288-286Amendment to the Finance Bill (to increase income level at which higher rate income tax becomes payable from 7,000 to 8,000).
10th May 1978273-280Motion to report progress (i.e. end consideration in Committee) on the Finance Bill.
19th July 1978260-293Motion to disagree with Lords Amendment to the Wales Bill (amendment disqualifying Members of Parliament from election to the Welsh Assembly).
20th July 1978247-280Motion to disagree with Lords Amendment to the Wales Bill (amendment removing forestry from the competence of the Welsh Assembly).
24th July 1978291-301Motion for a Prayer to approve the draft Dock Labour Scheme.
26th July 1978275-276Motion to disagree with Lords new clause to the Scotland Bill (The new clause required confirmation of second reading for any bill passed through the votes of Scottish members of the House of Commons).
26th July 1978266-286Motion to disagree with Lords Amendment to the Scotland Bill (amendment removing forestry land from provisions of the bill on transfer of property).
13th December 1978285-279Amendment to motion declining to support the Government’s arbitrary use of economic sanctions against firms and workers who have negotiated increases beyond a rigid limit which Parliament has not agreed.
13th December 1978285-283Motion opposing sanctions on companies breaking the 5% pay rise limit.
7th February 1979149-121Amendment to the Nurses, Midwives and Health Visitors Bill (to provide that at least two members of the general public should serve on the Central Midwifery Committee and the midwifery committees of the national boards)
22nd March 1979115-26  Motion for a Prayer to annul the Firearms (Variation of Fees) Order 1979.
28th March 1979311-310Motion that this House has no confidence in Her Majesty’s Government.
1979-83 Parliament
Conservative Government (Thatcher)
15th December 1982290-272Motion to disapprove of the Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules.
1983-87 Parliament
19th July 1983226-218Amendment to motion setting Members’ salaries (to begin linking salaries to Civil Service pay from 13th June 1983, not 1st January 1987).
14th April 1986282-296Second reading of the Shops Bill (Lords).
1987-92 Parliament
13th March 1990256-253Second reading of new clause to the National Health Service and Community Care Bill (to preserve the right to Income Support for patients being cared for in the community). [The motion to add the clause to the Bill was negatived 219-246]
Conservative Government (Major)
None.
1992-97 Parliament
8th March 1993314-292Amendment to the European Communities (Amendment) Bill (to require that all people appointed to the European Union Committee of the Regions be elected local government representatives).
22nd July 1993316-324Motion to note the policy of Her Majesty’s Government on the adoption of the Protocol on Social Policy in compliance with section 7 of the European Communities (Amendment) Act 1993.
6th December 1994319-311Amendment to budget motion on ‘Amendment of the Law’ to declare provision for changing the rate of Value Added Tax on fuel and power for domestic and charity use is not among the subjects for which it is expedient to amend the law.
19th December 1995297-299Motion to take note of memorandum submitted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food relating to the fixing of the Total Allowable Catch for 1996 and certain conditions under which they may be fished, and supporting the government's intention to negotiate the best possible fishing opportunities for British fishermen consistent with scientific advice and need to sustain the stocks for the benefit of future generations of fishermen.
10th July 1996168-317Motion to limit Members’ pay increases.
10th July 1996302-123Amendment to motion setting the rate of Members’ pensions (to award pensions to those ceasing to be Members as if they had been paid at the rate of 43,000 per annum in August 1996).
10th July 1996279-154Amendment to motion calling for the implementation of the recommendations of the Senior Salaries Review Board on Members’ pay (to call on the government to implement the other recommendations, after previous amendments had been carried).
10th July 1996215-189Amendment to motion setting the rate of Office Costs Allowance (to increase the allowance in 1996 and not 1997).
27th January 1997272-273Second reading of new clause to the Education Bill (to permit Grant Maintained Schools to enlarge their pupil capacity by 50% or 30 pupils, whichever is the greater, without restriction or requiring the permission of the Secretary of State).
1997 Parliament
Labour Government (Blair)
None.
2001 Parliament
None.
2005 Parliament
9th November 2005291-322Amendment to the Terrorism Bill to allow terrorism suspects to be detained for questioning for up to 90 days.
9th November 2005323-290Amendment to the Terrorism Bill to allow terrorism suspects to be detained for questioning for up to 28 days.
31st January 2006278-288Motion to disagree with a Lords Amendment to the Racial and Religious Hatred Bill. The amendment was a paving amendment for the new schedule which was decided next.
31st January 2006282-283Motion to disagree with a Lords amendment to the Racial and Religious Hatred Bill. The amendment replaced the previous schedule to the Bill defining a new criminal offence of Religious Hatred with a new schedule defining a more limited offence.
12th July 2006245-3    Motion that this House do now adjourn (debate on the subject of the UK-US Extradition Treaty).**
Labour Government (Brown)
29th April 2009267-246Motion to retain wording of Liberal Democrat opposition motion calling for the Government to withdraw guidelines allowing ex-Gurkha soldiers to reside in the United Kingdom, and to bring forward revised proposals allowing equal right of residence to all Gurkhas.
25th June 2009  98-104Motion setting the time and date for the East Midlands Regional Grand Committee to meet in Nottingham.
1st July 2009247-250Motion that clause 10, as amended, stand part of the Parliamentary Standards Bill. The clause would have allowed the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority and the Commissioner for Parliamentary Investigations to have operated without restriction imposed by any act preventing proceedings in Parliament from being questioned outside Parliament.
2010 Parliament
Coalition Government (Cameron)
6th December 2011  79-213Motion 'that this House has considered the matter of the economy'.
31st October 2012307-294Amendment calling on the Government to strengthen its stance so that the Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020 reduces the European Union budget in real terms.

† The government voted for the original wording to be retained because it had declared the Liberal amendment to be an issue of confidence.

* The original result of these divisions were ties at 291-291 and 283-283 but it was discovered that one member ‘nodded through’ had not been within the precincts of the Palace of Westminster and should not therefore have been counted with the Noes.

** The government decided to abstain on the division when it became clear many government MPs would have broken the whip.

(This table was made easier to compile by ‘Dissension in the House of Commons 1974-79’ by Philip Norton and ‘Twentieth Century British Political Facts’ by David Butler; the main sources are Hansard and the Journals of the House of Commons.)