Whip (politics)

The term is taken from the "whipper-in" during a hunt, who tries to prevent hounds from wandering away from a hunting pack.

It was within the context of such summonses to members out of town that the first known Parliamentary instance of the use of the term "whip" occurred. In the debate of 8 May 1769 on a petition from some Middlesex freeholders against the seating of Henry Luttrell instead of John Wilkes, Edmund Burke mentioned that the ministry had sent for their friends to the north and to Paris, "whipping them in, than which, he said, there could not be a better phrase". Although Burke's particular emphasis on the expression implied its comparative novelty, the hunting term had been used in this political context for at least a generation: on 18 November 1742 Heneage Finch remarked in a letter to Lord Malton that "the Whigs for once in their lives have whipped in better than the Tories".

Their roles in the chamber include taking divisions, and maintaining a "pairs book" which controls the ability of members and senators to leave the parliament building during sittings, as well as the entitlement to be absent during divisions.

Party whips in Malaysia serve a similar role as in other Westminster system-based parliamentary democracies. However, party discipline tends to be tighter in Malaysia and therefore the role of the whip is generally less important, though its importance is heightened when the government majority is less in the lower house.

In both the House and the Senate, the minority whip is the second highest-ranking individual in the minority party (the party with the lesser number of legislators in a legislative body), outranked only by the minority leader.