Wow! What a start to the week!
I’ve often been asked how I sit on the political spectrum when I’ve been out campaigning and I’ve written on here about this before and how, in local politics, I really feel it is irrelevant as an independent candidate. In the last 72 hours there have been 11 Members of Parliament who have made a brave decision to leave their parties and form an independent group.
I’ve listened to their statements and, particularly today with the ex-conservatives, I think I could agree with the position that they hold. The concept of putting ‘people before party’ is a value that I have stood on since I started campaigning in 2016 (see 2016 campaign poster), my passion is to represent people – not to be whipped on a vote I don’t agree with.
These 11 people have seen an opportunity to express their dissatisfaction with UK politics. At present it seems that they are mainly joined by the stance of a second referendum on Europe… This I don’t agree with. The UK decided about this in 2016 and I firmly believe that we should stick to this, but it has to be done in a way that has positive outcomes for us. Forming a cross party group, to negotiate the withdrawal deal, would surely have been a better way of getting a deal through parliament. Now it seems we are running out of time and party politics is yet again getting in the way.
If you take a look at The Independent Group statement on their website (www.theindependent.group) there are many things I’m sure we all agree with and that is why it will be interesting to see what happens over the next few weeks. If they go on to form a new party (which it seems likely they will) it will be interesting to see what their manifesto looks like.
Should there be by-elections? Perhaps. However, if the electorate had voted for the people rather than the party then this wouldn’t be a problem. I tend too side with the view that it is a way of the main parties trying to oust them so they can be replaced with a candidate they prefer and stop them in their tracks before they have instigated this change. Some say that they were all facing deselection anyway – if this is the case then we have to ask why? … Was it because they were fighting against the party and threatening to vote against the whip? In which case I have the greatest respect for them – who wants to be bullied by people they should consider their friends and colleagues?
From what they are saying so far it seems they could be a very viable alternative to the Lib Dems – Vince Cable is certainly keen to work with and support them. They have almost tipped the balance of the government. By my calculations one more move from the Conservatives leaves them with a minority government even with the DUP support.
There is obviously a desire to see the face of UK politics change. The headline on the Independent Group website states ‘Politics is Broken. Let’s change it’. Quite frankly I agree and I pray that their actions might make a meaningful and lasting change for the good.