I’m rather nonplussed by all the kerfuffle at Labour’s annual conference which has just voted to make it easier for local party members to deselect their sitting MPs.
Being a democratically elected MP is not a job for life and never has been and nor should it ever be considered so even in those constituencies regarded as so-called safe seats.
If a politician is not pulling their weight to the satisfaction of those who selected them in the first place then why on earth should they be allowed to hang on with all the determination of a child on a white knuckle, fairground ride?
Until now, Labour MPs only faced a reselection contest if 50 per cent of a constituency’s local branches and affiliated unions voted for it in a so-called “trigger ballot”. That threshold after Sunday’s vote has now dropped to 33 per cent.
No doubt the move will be seen as the start of a purge to oust the enemies of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and, let’s face it, there are more of those on his own back benches than those who sit behind Theresa May!
it’s quite possible Frank Field and John Woodcock who’ve both quit the Labour whip recently could be in the firing line – but that’s the risk you take if you step so far away from the leadership.
So-called trigger ballots should not be confused with no confidence votes and there’ve been quite a few of those in Labour Party constituency meetings of late; Field, Kate Hoey and Gavin Shuker have all lost no confidence votes.
Personally I think there should be open selections before every general election so that prospective candidates don’t get the idea they’ve got a job for life. I’ve seen too many aspiring politicians with a bellyful of fire head to Westminster only to morph into gutless, lazy members of parliament who think they’ve got a job for life.
May be things will change for the better now – certainly other political parties should embrace the same concept. It’s time those who sit in Westminster become more accountable to the people who elected them in the first place.
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