British Dopers--How do you know how your M.P. voted?

The recent House of Commons vote on war with Iraq received considerable attention here. As part of the coverage, one of the newscasters mentioned that “we don’t know yet exactly how many Laborites voted against Blair”. This got me to wondering about division votes in Parliament. (Is there any other type of vote? Does either house of Parliament ever vote by roll call, as we do in the Senate, or by electronic device, as we do in the House?) How do you know who voted how? Do the members give their name to the tellers as they walk by? Does somebody look at the video later and, assuming that they can recognize all 600-odd members, make a list? Or do the party whips keep track of this as the members file by?

In America any roll call vote is recorded for posterity in the Congressional Record. Is there any official, permanent record of how the individual M.P.'s voted?

Hansard publishes division lists for each vote taken. Sadly, they don’t seem to publish them online.

Voting is done by walking through one of two chambers “Aye” or “Nay”

According to the late Roy Jenkins (found this in the glossary to his “Churchill”), a couple of people at the entry to each chamber take the names of those in the chamber.

99% percent of the time the MPs vote with their party, so the voting is fairly academic

Canada uses a recorded vote system that is reported in our HansardHansard

But this seems to be the case only for “recorded” votes. For less critical items (like when to adjourn for the day) votes can be based on the Speaker’s interpretation of oral “Aye” and “Nay” votes.

As scm1001 points out, nearly all the time an M.P. votes with his party. The parties in the U.K. are much stronger and the individual M.P.‘s are not, in general, elected on their own personalities and their own opinions. Often the party will choose to have someone who’s not even from a given area run for M.P. in that area. Voting tends to be more about party platforms and less about individual politicians’ personalities.

And for many people (as in the US and I guess elsewhere) party allegiance is often a question of self-identity, group identity, or even something you inherit from parents. Especially, perhaps, when the party platforms are similar.

However, there are some delightfully eccentric UK MPs who are detested by their party leadership but adored by their local voters - Lab’s Dennis Skinner and Tam Dalyell come to mind. So they’re not all ass-licking toadies. Just 99% of them.

To give a precise answer to the OP, the MPs troop through the two division lobbies. Each division lobby has three barriers which are divided alphabetically according to surname. Each barrier is manned by one of the clerks. As they go through the barriers, each MP says his name and the clerk marks that name on his list. (As the clerks pride themselves on being able to recognise every MP by sight, one MP cannot impersonate another.) Each of the two MPs who have been appointed as tellers for that side also do a head count. The totals of both head counts and the clerks’ lists should match.

There was a time when the House of Lords voted by roll call, which is why the U.S. Senate copied the practice, but they switched over to the same system as the Commons at some point during the last century. Their numbers were increasing and trooping through lobbies was actually quicker.

And, yes, Hansard is published online. The link Tapioca Dextrin gives will take you there. Here is its record of last Wednesday’s debate

and here are the division lists for the two votes at the end of it.

And for completeness, here is the list of all votes 2001-2002

[sub]Thanks to the IT guy at the House of Commons[/sub]

Well thank you all for your very thorough responses. This has been bugging me for some time, and I am now enlightened.