It's something oft demanded when a party loses one of its members to another, even if they have the "they're welcome to him" attitude: that we don't tend to have parliaments or councils etc filled with independents, and most people vote for the party not the candidate. Is it right that someone is elected as a member of Party A should decide to go over to Party B without consulting his constituents first?
I can see why politicians wouldn't want to risk doing what Bruce Douglas-Mann did in 1982 in ending their political career (although he'd have still lost Mitcham and Morden in 1983 anyway). One could argue that if voters don't like the party their MP has joined, it won't be very long before voters get to decide what happens to him/her. Unless that MP stands somewhere else or retires.
if the defection is less than 60% through their term then yes they should stand for election under the new party. In most cases the voters vote for the party and not the person, it is therefore only right that the defector causes a by-election. I say 60% because after that an election would be due soon enough anyway.
If I voted for a Labour representative and then they became tory I would be furious.
I certainly think they should have to if they defect just after the election. This happened in Dorset a couple of times in 2011. Recall elections are of course an alternative and would give voters an option if they don't like the politician's new allegiance. Certainly it would be a bit pointless enforcing a resign rule right up to the next election when its not long until they will face the voters anyway.
"Those who would give up a little liberty to gain a little security deserve neither and will lose both." Benjamin Franklin
"Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner. Liberty is a well-armed sheep contesting the vote." Benjamin Franklin
Post by timrollpickering on Mar 11, 2013 15:07:06 GMT
I've got a feeling that any such system would just be got around. If you had an exemption for MPs who lose the whip then all an MP has to do is get themselves chucked out of their original party and they can vote in line with the new party without actually joining it just yet. If a Conservative MP basically defected to UKIP it could be tricky to prove in court.
Post by greenchristian on Mar 11, 2013 17:39:41 GMT
If they were elected on a party list then they should resign to be replaced by somebody else from that list as nobody voted for them as a person.
If they were elected for a ward or constituency, I think it should be left as a matter of conscience for the representative in question. It's impossible to know for sure how many people voted for them as a person and how many voted for them because of the party label, so we shouldn't assume that it was the party name that got them elected.
Post by Admin Twaddleford on Mar 11, 2013 19:02:28 GMT
The main problem with such an idea is that it would give parties ultimate power over their elected members - if they threaten to rebel on any vote, you just rescind the party whip and then they have to defend their seat as an independent, or give it up altogether. Thus, you would end up with a flock of sheep instead of having actual local representatives.
I think we've debated the pros and cons of this one many times before. FWIW, I support the Scottish Green position that those who defect to us sit as independants until elected as Green. (I think this is what James has done down South as well, although it's not GPEW policy). However, I think this should be a matter for the individual and/or party concerned and certainly not set out in legislation.
To give another argument - the two SNP MSPs who defected last year can legitimately claim that they have stayed loyal to the mandate and policies they were elected on, but their party has now deserted.
"God knows I'm no Tory, and I never set eyes on a Whig yet without feeling the need of a bath..."
That Green policy is a great one, and could perhaps be a model for other parties. It would certainly stop the kind of parading which Ian mentions. There'll be no shots of grumpy councillors holding up their new party rosettes in the local paper if they're disallowed from making the leap in one go.
A candidate requires a mandate from the people at an election to become a councillor. An elector will make an informed choice about a candidate when casting their vote. When a councillor defects from a party, becomes and independent, then they cannot say that they enjoy the support of the electors that voted for them in the first place and therefore they no longer have a mandate in my opinion.
There is no truth in this "most people vote for the party not the candidate" nonsense. All voters, in all elections, and in all circumstances, vote for specifically named individual persons, and all elected representatives have a specific individual mandate to serve for a full term on that basis.
It may be that some, or many, voters, make their decision about for whom they wish to vote primarily on the basis of the party of which the candidate(s) is/are (a) member(s), but that is a subjective matter for the individual voter. The strength or intensity of that sentiment in the mind of the voter(s) is irrelevant to the validity of the mandate of the elected representative(s).
Labour governments are always voted in by empty minds, and voted out by empty pockets
There is no truth in this "most people vote for the party not the candidate" nonsense.
I think it is totally true that people in the main vote for party. Plenty of good Tories and LD Councillors got kicked out in 2011/12 and that was not because they were not doing a bad job or disliked but because they represented the wrong party.
A lot of defections are either those deselected or certain to lose their seat in the next election round so it shows it is about party.
Going Indy is different from actually shifting parties though.
For most voters for whom elections aren't all year round topics of discussion and analysis, they vote party over person. Ian's right - many good councillors are sacrificed every year because of the reputation of the national party. It's why local elections are so rarely fought on local issues. and so often follow national trends even though there's such a separation between local and national party members.
If someone is confident of their support in a ward, they would have no hesitation in causing a by-election to show that.