Time to deselect Labour MPs

I write here as an avid defender of representative democracy. The most important constitutional checks and balances that we have in the UK exist because of the rights (and duties) MPs have to place their own good judgement ahead of the opinions of their constituents.

For this reason, I have — for a long time — been very strongly opposed to the threat of deselection being used against MPs by their constituency parties as a means of disciplining them on matters of policy (deselecting MPs for their personal conduct is a different matter, obviously). It is the surest way of turning them into delegates and breaking the mechanism of representative government.

However, I must now change that view. In voting for Article 50, most Labour MPs voted for the government to take a course of action in which they have little confidence. I’m setting the bar high here. An MP, behaving normally, will not vote for the country to take a big step, even if they think that it is an attractive one, or one that may just work if things go well.

MPs must be expected to withhold their support from any measure, even one that they are fairly enthusiastic about — if they don’t believe that it has been properly thought through. I would doubt that even many of the naturally eurosceptic MPs can honestly look themselves in the mirror and say that Brexit, in its current form, is in the best interests of the UK.

When an MP privately (or even publicly) believes that a particular policy will end in disaster for the country, voting for it is completely unforgivable.

Any political party, or any political party member who doesn’t work to deselect such an MP will be deserting their duty in the way that so many MPs did in voting for Article 50.

It is now time for Labour Party members to start working to deselect the MPs who have spent years drawing a salary on the promise that they will do the most important part of their job when needed.