There is a lot of fuss right now on twitter over why leading members of any government support a government motion when they don’t agree. Boris Johnson and Michael Gove think nurses particularly deserve a pay rise, but both of them voted in favour of keeping the cap on private sector wages. Members of the Cabinet are particularly bound by this convention.
This is because of something called collective responsibility.
Cabinet collective responsibility, also known as collective ministerial responsibility, is a constitutional convention in governments using the Westminster System, that members of the cabinet must publicly support all governmental decisions made in Cabinet, even if they do not privately agree with them.
During the EU Referendum, David Cameron gave all his ministers a free vote. For some reason, he later attacked the members of his government who voted against the Remain government position accusing them of betrayal. This was grossly unfair because he had told them all they were free to vote as they wished.
Because they had a free vote, Boris and Michael Gove made it clear that leaving the EU would mean more money for the NHS. They are both in favour of giving nurses a pay rise.
The lack of unity in the Labour party was obvious last week, when Chuka Umunna led a rebellion against Jeremy Corbyn in the House, and three shadow ministers were sacked, while one resigned.
Voting against your own government, particularly if you are a minister, is therefore a very serious matter. Since Jeremy Corbyn voted against the Labour government 56 times when he was just an MP, it is particularly ridiculous that he gets so white hot mad when anyone in his party votes against him!