What is ‘Telling’?
Sometimes my job as an opposition whip requires me to act as a teller for a vote in the Commons.
The tellers are the ones who count the number of votes cast by each side. There are always four tellers for every vote, two to count the votes in the ‘aye’ lobby and two to count the votes in the ‘no’ lobby.
The tellers’ names don’t appear in the main list of voters in Hansard as technically we do not vote, but we always act for the side we are supporting. If you look at this example, you can see that the tellers’ names are listed separately in the top right-hand corner: https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2019-01-15/division/B975E889-89F5-42D3-9C18-7562AFD1977C/EuropeanUnion(Withdrawal)Act?outputType=Names
Frustratingly, this sometimes means that I am not included in published lists of MPs who have voted for/against a particular motion and can lead to constituents mistakenly thinking that I have missed a crucial vote.
I hope this helps to explain a little bit about how the system works. If you would like to find out more, the Parliament website is a great starting point.