Monday, 26 March 2018

MPs Need to Change Party Allegiance More

It is now four years this year since Tory MP Douglas Carswell switched to UKIP and won the subsequent by-election which he chose to trigger.  This was then followed by fellow Tory MP Mark Reckless making the same move. 

This, of course, is not the only time at all that this has happened.  'Crossing the floor' from one party to another is of course what Sir Winston Churchill did in 1904, albeit without choosing to trigger a by-election.  However, ever since Carswell and Reckless made that move, I has occurred to me that such changes of allegiances are quite uncommon.  And that is not a good thing. 

Changing allegiances to stick to your principles shows that you have, well, principles, and that these principles are more important to you than mere party allegiance.  Thus, if it were to happen more often in British Politics, it would greatly reassure the public that individual principles did matter in politics. 

It would also give that public more opportunities to express their opinion at the ballot box - by-elections are awesome for precisely that reason. 

It would also facilitate the creation of new political parties.  If you were to create a new political party tomorrow, a killer factor in it's success would be if it gains the support of at least one MP who's already in Parliament - if not, then your party will either take 'forever' to get anywhere, or not take off at all.

It's for that reason that the SDP in the 1980s immediately became a 'major' party in British elections, whereas other new parties, such as the Greens or Plaid Cymru took decades from their original founding to even enter Parliament with a single MP.  Having existing politicians join up, is, quite frankly, the best way for a new party to even be heard about. 

And of course, all this would help keep party leaders in line too - them knowing that they don't have the unconditional loyalty of all their MPs. 

And of course, having MPs change allegiance more often would make British Politics way more exciting. 

So I appeal to British MPs, and in fact, the US Congressmen too, to not hesitate to change political party when they feel that isn't working with their current bosses. 

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