MPs appointed to help organise their political party
WHIPS are MPs appoint- ed to help organise their political party.
One of their respon- sibilities is making sure the maximum number of their party members vote, and vote the way their party wants.
The use of the word "whip" within Parliament has its roots in the 18th-century hunting terminology "whipper-in". It refers to a huntsman's assistant who drives straying hounds back to the main pack using a whip.
Whips frequently act as tellers and count votes. They also manage the pairing system whereby MPs of opposing parties both agree not to vote when other business prevents them from being present at Westminster.
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Every week, whips send out a circular to their MPs or Lords detailing upcoming parliamentary business.
Important votes are underlined three times – giving rise to the term a "three-line whip".
Defying a three-line whip is considered a serious breach of party discipline and can result in the withdrawal of the whip from an MP, which means they are, in effect, expelled from their party.