A week or so ago, I created a petition. I was struck by the idea that if an MP is elected as a representative for a constituency, they invariably do so under the banner of a recognised political party. And, as every now and again happens, under the current rules, if that MP decides that they can no longer be a part of that political party, then can resign the party whip, but they continue as an MP. There's nothing in law that compels them to resign the seat and fight a by-election either under their new party banner, or else as an independent.
Now, I don't know about you, but to me, that sounds unfair. Folk vote for a party as much, if not more, than for an individual. And the electoral system should reflect that. And resigning MPs should be obliged to step down; the mandate received as part of an election is for their party, not just for them.
So I knocked up a petition on the government website for just such things. It reads thus:
Require that MPs leaving their political party resign their seat immediately.
This gives the electorate of that constituency the proper opportunity to express their mandate again, rather than having to wait for the next general election. It also provides the resigning MP with a mandate to continue (as an independent, or in another party), should they be re-elected.
I sent it off, and waited. They system works like this; you get a minimum of five people to sign the petition (which I did, through a flurry of activity on Facebook and Twitter) and then that triggers the petition being considered by the appropriate panel to ensure that the matter is something which can be debated in parliament if enough signatures are gained.
10,000 signatures, and you get a response from government; 100,000 signatures, and you get considered for a parliamentary debate.
At present, my petition is still awaiting a decision on whether it falls within the petitions committee remit. Those rules are here. As we're now into the summer holiday period, it might be a few weeks before I hear anything.
In the meantime, it's still possible to sign the petition pending its approval (or otherwise) by the petitions committee. You can do that here.
Update 2/8/16: the petition's been accepted and is now live on the UK parliament petition site! Click on the image below and you'll be taken to the petition. Thanks!