Chancellor votes against government… and blames online ‘teething’ issues

Rishi Sunak has raised eyebrows after accidentally voting against his own government.

The chancellor sparked surprise when his name appeared in support of a rebel amendment to the Agriculture Bill.

It was defeated – but if passed could have tied ministers’ hands in negotiations on trade deals.

Ministers are expected to support the government in votes as part of “cabinet responsibility” and if they cannot should resign.

A source close to Mr Sunak said it was “not an intentional vote against the government”.

They told Sky News the error was due to “teething issues with the online system” set up to let MPs vote remotely during the coronavirus crisis.

The insider added he informed the chief whip – the MP in charge of keeping colleagues in line – as soon as the mistake happened.

It may further raise concerns among some politicians about the new measures brought in to let them do their job from home as part of the coronavirus lockdown.

Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg signalled the special powers would be abolished in June to set an example to the rest of the country about returning to work.

He accused those who want the current system to remain of trying to “hide behind a veneer of virtual parliament so that legislation is not progressed with”.

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