In politics, a whip is a member of a political party in a legislature whose task is to ensure that members of the party attend and vote as the party leadership desires. The term originated in the Parliament of the United Kingdom and derives from the "whipper-in" at a fox hunt.

The Whip Explained[edit | edit source]

  • Single Line Whip (Given as One Line Aye or One Line Noe)

A guide to what the party's policy would indicate, and notification of when the vote is expected to take place; non-binding for attendance or voting.

  • Two Line Whip (Given as Two Line Aye or Two Line Noe)

An instruction to attend and vote in a particular way, but without sanction; partially binding for voting, attendance required unless prior permission given by the Whip (sometimes known as double line whip).

  • Three Line Whip (Given as Three Line Aye or Three Line Noe)

A strict instruction to attend and vote in a particular way, breach of which will have serious consequences; binding for both attendance and voting. Non-attendance permission can be given by the Whip, but a serious reason is needed. Breach of a three-line whip normally leads to expulsion from the parliamentary political group, and may lead to expulsion from the party. Consequently, three-line whips are generally only issued on key issues, such as votes of confidence and supply.

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