Conservative MP Philip Davies has represented the West Yorkshire constituency of Shipley since 2005.
In that time he’s earned a reputation as one of the more rebellious Conservative MPs, voting against his party’s whip more than 250 times and often filibusters Private Members’ Bills – making his speech go on so long that the time allocated for debating the Bill is exceeded before a vote can be held.
His controversial ‘talking-out’ of bills, particularly those affecting women, prompted Women’s Equality Party leader Sophie Walker to seek a clear run against the 45-year-old, asking other opposition parties to step aside in the forthcoming election and combine forces in order to overturn his 9,624-vote majority.
Despite rumours saying the contrary circulating social media, Davies retained his seat.
But what is filibustering and why has it made Philip Davies such a controversial figure?
We explain exactly what you need to know about the Bill-blocking tactic.
What is filibustering?
Filibustering is also known as ‘talking-out’ and involves talking non-stop for long periods of time so that the time on the debate runs out and prevents a vote from taking place.
Groups of MPs can also work together to talk out a Bill: the speaking member can allow fellow members to comment on points made in their speech in order to prolong the speech.
This specific tactic is usually employed on a Friday when Private Members’ Bills – proposed laws put forward by backbenchers – are often debated.
As most MPs spend Fridays back in their constituencies, a filibuster is more likely to succeed.
The only way to force a filibustering MP to stop talking is with a closure motion.
A closure motion is a proposal to end the debate and vote on the matter at hand, but requires 100 MPs present and the majority must vote in favour – particularly difficult to achieve on days with low attendance.
Which Bills have been filibustered by Philip Davies and other MPs?
Philip Davies has become known for employing the technique with varying degrees of success.
His most recent attempt occurred in December 2016 when he spoke for 78 minutes in an effort to derail a Bill in line with the Istanbul Convention which would protect women from violence, though was unsuccessful in trying to stop a vote.
At the same Bill’s third reading he again spoke at length to avoid a vote. There was a vote and Davies was the only MP to vote against the Bill.
He has, however, successfully talked out a Bill backed by St John Ambulance, the British Heart Foundation and the British Red Cross to provide first-aid training to children, another which would have provided free hospital parking to carers, and a Bill which would have banned retaliatory evictions.
In October 2016, Sam Gyimah, Conservative MP for East Surrey, filibustered a Bill which would have pardoned all historic convictions of homosexuality.
Currently the law requires pardons to be granted individually.
In 2005, then-MP for Hendon, Andrew Dismore of the Labour Party set the 21st century record for filibustering in the Commons, speaking for three hours and 17 minutes to block the Criminal Law (Amendment) (Protection of Property) Bill, which he claimed amounted to "vigilante law".