In a recent petition on the Government and Parliaments web-site the response from the Government said
“Formally, electors cast their vote for individual candidates, and not the political party they represent. The Government does not plan to change this constitutional position.”
The full response continued
There is no requirement for a Member of Parliament to stand down and cause a by-election to be held if they decide to leave the party for which they stood and were elected. Formally, electors cast their vote for individual candidates, and not the political party they represent; although it is recognised that many people vote on the basis of party preference. It is generally agreed that a candidate, if elected to the House of Commons, is not deemed to be a delegate of a particular party, and will hold the office to which they have been elected in a personal capacity.
When a Member of Parliament decides to leave the party for which they were elected, it is for them to decide whether to stand down from their seat in the House of Commons and seek re-election in the subsequent by-election, or to continue to sit in the House of Commons.
A Member of Parliament who decides to leave the party for which they were elected and to continue to sit in the House of Commons will be required to stand as a candidate at the next General Election if they wish to remain in office.
Amending the existing law would involve a significant change to our constitutional arrangements, and would raise important issues about the role and status of Members of Parliament, which would need careful consideration. The government currently has no plan to make such changes.
This does raise a number of questions such as:
Is the ballot paper misleading when it includes the candidate’s party as it is suggesting that if you vote for this candidate you are voting for their party ?
If you are voting for the individual then how can you have a Government of Conservatives ( or Labour etc.) when you are not voting for the party ?
Why are Election Results presented and interpreted as though you were voting for a party when you voted for the individual ? e.g. “Newport West by-election: Labour holds on to seat”
For elections to the EU Parliament a different system is used.
Since 1999 voters in Britain have elected MEPs under a proportional representation system. The European Parliamentary Elections Act of that year introduced a regional list system with seats allocated to parties in proportion to their share of the vote.
So in this case, you ARE voting for a party!! Although you vote for a UK party, this ends up as a different party in the EU Parliament and I’ve no idea what those parties are – so if you vote for Labour in the UK, you may prefer to vote Conservative in order to be in the EU party you support – confusing or what.
And does your vote matter anyway ? Judging by the EU referendum – if you vote for the winning option, this is still ignored by the “political elite” who believe they know best and ignore the votes.