Today in the UK House of Commons, Conservative MP and PM candidate Jeremy Hunt failed to take part in an important vote. He said:

I missed votes today because I thought I was slipped and it turns out I was not.Apologies to my colleagues & Whips Office.

What does "slipped" mean in this context? It seems to be an unusual and possibly specialist meaning - I can't find any meaning in the usual dictionary sources which covers this. It might be a term from UK parliamentary jargon, or as one person on Twitter claims from UK private school slang.

  • 2
    I think you might have more luck on the Politics SE. There are a few users there who are very knowledgeable about UK parliamentary procedure and Westminster politics in general.
    – JJJ
    Commented Jul 18, 2019 at 15:37
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it belongs to Politics.SE
    – user 66974
    Commented Jul 18, 2019 at 16:00
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    @user240918 Yes, but questions don't become on-topic or off-topic based on their answers. Also, another site's scope is irrelevant to deciding whether a question is on-topic or off-topic for this site. Commented Jul 18, 2019 at 18:38
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    @user240918 It's a question of language, what that word means. Even if it needs some explanation about politics, it is still a language question.
    – Mitch
    Commented Jul 18, 2019 at 18:56
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    @user240918 There is absolutely no doubt whatsoever, in any way, shape or form, that this question is completely on-topic here. The meaning of a given word in a given context, not findable in standard dictionaries, is pretty much the most on-topic thing you could possibly ask about on ELU, regardless of whether that given context happens to be the topic of other SE sites as well. Commented Jul 18, 2019 at 19:50

1 Answer 1


From "Whips and their Work":

A three-line Whip is essential and an MP frankly has no choice but to attend unless he or she has cleared their absence with their whip in advance by handing in an absence request slip with a full explanation and a pleading manner.

Hence, I presume that Jeremy Hunt believed that he was excused from attending said particular vote having completed an absence request slip (or having had one of his staff complete the slip for him).

For non-UK readers, a "Whip" is an MP (Member of Parliament) charged with ensuring that fellow MPs from the same political party attend certain votes. The most important votes will be underlined three times on the weekly sheets distributed to MPs, and are hence called "three-line whips". The term originates in hunting, where a "whipper-in" is "a huntsman's assistant who keeps the hounds from straying by driving them back with the whip into the main body of the pack" (from OED).

  • The mismumblejumbled pronouns manifest in unless he or she has cleared their absence with their whip are hilarious postchildren for a blanket ban on their or their utilizationages.
    – tchrist
    Commented Jul 26, 2019 at 15:35

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