Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Resigning the Whip

When a member of a political party resigns the whip this is often followed by a call for a by-election. There then ensues a debate, at least there is one amongst those that concern themselves with these matters, as to whether a politician is there to represent the constituency in Parliament in which case there is no need for a by-election or the MP is representing the party in which case there is a need for a by-election. In Christopher Beazley’s case the debate is slightly different.
Christopher Beazley is the Conservative MEP for the East of England and he has just resigned the whip apparently because Mr. Cameron has announced that the Conservatives will leave the European People’s Party grouping in the European Parliament. The difference here is due to the method of election that we are subjected to for European elections. If you don’t know then it is all explained at here at http://www.aboutmyvote.co.uk/, where it pithily states that the voting system is ‘Proportional representation – closed list.’ Later, AboutMyVote, an Electoral Comission website, explains that to vote one ‘put[s] an X (a cross) next to the party … that you wish to vote for.’ Under the title ‘Who is Elected?’ it states that ‘The first seat that a party wins goes to the first person on its list, the second seat to the second person, and so on.’ So, you vote for a party, not an individual. With a closed list system you do not know, when you are voting, who the person is who will get a seat as a consequence of your vote.
Mr. Beazley has resigned the party whip. This means that he is no longer in the party that the people voted for. Surely, logic dictates that this man should be ejected from the European Parliament and a by-election should be held?

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