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 Rebel MPs - Good, Bad or Ugly?

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Wolf
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Location : Solihull, England
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PostSubject: Rebel MPs - Good, Bad or Ugly?   Tue Jul 22, 2008 4:45 am

Do you see MPs that rebel against their party lines as a good or a bad thing? Should MPs always follow instructions from their party leaders? Or should MPs vote with their consciences and for the good of their constituents, even if this goes against party policy? Do you see an MP voting against the party policy as a traitor? Or should they be disciplined or congratulated for their stance?

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Nick

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PostSubject: Re: Rebel MPs - Good, Bad or Ugly?   Thu Jul 24, 2008 8:41 pm

Rebel MPs are often portrayed in the media as the “bad guys”, especially if they belong to the party in government at that time, but I think there should be more instances of rebel MPs. A MPs first and foremost loyalty should be to the constituents that elected them rather to the political party to which they belong. But there is often a risk of a conflict of interest in this situation, where the will and good of the constituency and their constituents may be in direct opposition, or maybe slightly less direct opposition, yet still conflicting with the wishes or good of the party, or the party leaders. In such a case, the constituency should theoretically come first, as they are the people that elected the MP, but in reality the MP will be pressured or bribed by the party whips to vote for the benefit of the party over their constituency and this will normally win out, as the party provides the day to day support that the MP relies on and so they don’t like to get the wrong side of the whips.

Now and then, there is an MP of principle that refuses to toe the party line and will insist on voting on what they feel is right for their constituents and the public at large (examples of this is when top up fees for university students was voted on, or when they were voting on invading Iraq). There is a real need for this kind of MP that won’t just blindly toe the party line in order to try to keep the government in some kind of lone and try to stop them from completely getting carried away with unpopular and harmful legislation that is to the deficit of the electorate but to the benefit of particular interest groups, or the government itself. Unfortunately, there tends to always be too few of these MPs who are willing to defy the party whip too often. Even the most benign and well meaning of governments may pass harmful legislation without realising the danger until its too late and the public needs to rely on MPs to have the courage to stand up for what they believe is right rather than meekly rolling over and doing what they are told (like all too many MPs have a habit of doing).

Occasionally an MP may have the “whip removed” for rebelling against the party line too often, which means that the party no longer provides support for them, and they are basically thrown out of the party. I think this is unfair if the MP is simply doing what they were elected to do, in representing their constituents despite what the party wanted.

In cases of the government having a small majority, then rebelling MPs can make an even more powerful statement than usual, as they can more easily cause the government to lose the vote.
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