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Yes Minister

A distraction from the Brexit shenanigans.

From Series 2 Episode 5 “The Devil you know” Sir Humphrey and Jim Hacker discuss Brussels and why European nations joined the common market.

Apparently in an election you’re not voting for a Party

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.

Cabinet Office.

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.

Brexit – Plenary session of the European Parliament 30 Jan 2019

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30 January 2019: Speeches by President Juncker and Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier at the Plenary session of the European Parliament on the occasion of the debate on the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU

Speech by President Jean-Claude Juncker

Mr President,

Honourable Members,

In less than 60 days, the United Kingdom is due to leave the European Union. This is a bad decision, as I find.

Even as the Commission has defended the interests of the European Union, this spirit of respect and friendship has accompanied us at every step in these negotiations. The Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration agreed by all 27 Leaders and the United Kingdom government is the result of that. The Withdrawal Agreement remains the best and only deal possible.

The European Union said so in November. We said so in December. We said so after the first meaningful vote in the Commons in January. The debate and votes in the House of Commons yesterday do not change that. The Withdrawal Agreement will not be renegotiated.

Both sides have said loud and clear that there can be no return to a hard border on the island of Ireland. No slipping back into darker times past. I believe the Prime Minister’s personal commitment on this point. But I also believe that we need a safety net that secures us against this risk. We have no incentive nor desire to use the safety net. But at the same time, no safety net can ever truly be safe if it can just be removed at any time.

Sometimes, from time to time, I have the impression that some hope that the 26 other countries will abandon the backstop and so Ireland at the last minute. But this is not a game. And neither is it a simple bilateral issue. It goes to the heart of what being a member of the European Union means. Ireland’s border is Europe’s border – and it is our Union’s priority.

Theresa May call to Prime Minister Sanchez of Spain

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Theresa May call to Prime Minister Sanchez of Spain on 21 November 2018

A Downing Street spokesperson said:

The Prime Minister spoke to Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez of Spain this evening.

She said there had been good engagement between the UK, the Government of Spain and the Government of Gibraltar in order to come to an agreement in the Withdrawal Agreement and associated package of Memoranda of Understanding relating to Gibraltar. She said that the UK and Government of Gibraltar looked forward to these discussions continuing as we discuss the future relationship.

The Prime Minister reiterated her commitment to agreeing a deal that works for the whole UK family including Gibraltar, the other UK Overseas Territories and the Crown Dependencies.