Sir Keir Starmer was perfectly teed up by a member on the opposition benches during the emergency sleaze debate.
Peter Bone, the MP for Wellingborough and Rushden and a former member of the political advisory board of Leave Means Leave, seemed to struggle with the concept that Labour politicians voted against corruption using their own free will.
He asked Starmer whether he could say whether he whipped his members in the controversial vote over parliamentary standards.
The Amendment was passed by 250 to 232 votes, a majority of 18, with dozens of Tory MPs abstaining and 13 rebelling against the vote.
All Labour MPs voted it down.
Responding to Bone, Starmer said: “No.
“Our members didn’t need whipping. They knew what the right decision was.”
A former Tory whip had earlier voiced his disappointment in parliament at what he described as “one of the most unedifying episodes” he has seen in his 16 years as a Member of Parliament.
Mark Harper, the MP for Forest of Dean, hit out at the government this weekend, tweeting:
“My colleagues should not have been instructed, from the very top, to vote for this.
“This must not happen again.”
Appearing in the Commons today alongside a smattering of Tory colleagues, he explained that the Amendment vote on parliamentary standards should never have been whipped and should have been a free vote – concerns he had privately voiced ahead of the motion.