Who can be an Independent MP?

June 17, 2009

The recent comment / post by Sonny raised a really interesting question:

“Though for it not to be just another major party it would have to be impartial to any political view… but that would then mean that I, a socialist, would have to take support from as well as give support to an organisation that also takes/gives support from/to those with a similar view to the likes of Nick Griffin and the BNP. Now I will stand up and fight to the death for anyone to have the right to believe those things and to voice their opinion, but I would also die before giving them the financial, political, or social leverage to overcome my beliefs. They are allowed their opinion and they are allowed to voice it, but I’m not paying for or setting up the PA system to amply it.”

However in a later comment Sonny seemed to answer the dilemma himself:

“This obviously raises the issue that I made in my original post, about how do you get a far right and a far left individual working under the same umbrella. A difficult one, but I think I would prefer to have my chance to voice my opinions, make my suggestions and have a greater impact on central governmental issues whilst having someone of the opposite opinion have their say, then neither of us having any say and the government do what they will. It is really the only way to reach a compromise between both extreme views.”

And I think it is this second point of view that I agree with. I’ve said previously that my personal political affiliations are not important here – this is by no means me trying to establish my own agenda. Instead it is about trying to let regular people canvas on the views of their local constituents. I’m sure in many cases those views will clash with my own – well, so be it.

I think that anyone has the right to be an independent MP – no matter what their political views. It’s not for me (or anyone else connected to this movement) to say whether those views are valid – it’s up to the electorate. They and only they can decide whether someone should represent them in parliament.

In fact the whole point of this movement (for want of a better word) is to remove the barriers that stop people standing for election, that stop the electorate having a full choice.

Like many people, I am personally appalled at the recent election victories of the BNP – but, as long as they remain lawful, they are perfectly entitled to their views and the electorate are entitled to vote for them. If I disagree, then it is up to me to offer an alternative.

So, who would I be willing to support (not vote for, but support) as an independent MP?

Well, the answer is anyone. With, as I see it, three main caveats:

1 – They must be legally entitled to stand and not break the law with what they are canvassing on

2 – They cannot have been a member of a political party within the last 12 months – maybe a bit controversial, but this shouldn’t be about career politicians trying a different route in

3 – They must have a connection to the constituency – ideally they would be currently living or working there, but any strong connection works for. What I don’t want is people parachuting in because they think the seats winnable, like the major parties do.

Obviously one thing that this could lead to is more than one independent supported in a constituency. That’s obviously not ideal, but who am I to say who’s more deserving? So, yes that might happen and again it’s up to the electorate to decide which one to vote for.

Well, those are my thoughts – what do you think?