Today seven Labour MPs resigned the party whip and have formed an Independent group in the House of Commons. The seven are not particularly surprising and it was probably only a matter of time before something like this happened. The seven include my own MP, Angela Smith the now Independent MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge. What also wasn’t surprising was the response from the Corbynista Twitterati. The vileness and ugliness of their comments and criticisms just show how debased any sort of debate on Twitter descends to.
There are some of the Corbyn supporting commentariat literally ticking off a list of current and ex-MPs who have left the Labour party as a sort of celebration. How on earth can losing a growing group of hardworking MPs be a cause for celebration?
Instead of crowing about a group of people who have spent decades in the Labour party leaving, why not consider that actually Saint Jeremy and his disciples might not be the infallible people they believe themselves to be? Look at WHY so many Labour MPs are unhappy with the current leadership and try and address this would be my advice.
There are also the calls by many for the seven to do the ‘honourable thing’ and resign their seats and call a by-election in their constituency and give their constituents to right to agree or disagree with their choice. For me this is just convenient hypocrisy. Lets have a thought experiment for a moment – imagine that say a Conservative MP crossed the floor to join Labour. (It isn’t that unlikely – five have done so since 1995). Would the local Labour party be calling for a by-election then? (In none of the five cases – Alan Howarth, Shaun Woodward, Robert Jackson, Quentin Davies and Peter Temple-Morris – did any of them resign and cause a by-election). Of course they wouldn’t. Since 1972 when Dick Taverne resigned the Labour whip and DID call (and win!) a by-election, there have been a further 60 cases of MPs resigning the whip and/or switching parties. In only three of these cases (Bruce Douglas-Mann who lost his by-election when he switched from Labour to SDP, Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless who both switched from Conservative to UKIP and won their by-elections) did the MP resign their seat and call a by-election. There is no requirement and as history shows, no real precedence for this. Factor in that it would cost about £400,000 to hold a parliamentary by-election – money that surely would be better spent within the local community on roads or schools or hospitals – I think a by-election is not the best idea… unless of course you are being conveniently hypocritical?