Sound Advice from Boris Johnson

“We don’t need a constitutional convention. We don’t need to contemplate proportional representation, since that will only intensify the power of the party machines and create even more lobby fodder. We want a new breed of MPs who will consistently tell the whips to get stuffed; who will smash the brutal and intellectually enervating system of party discipline that turns Westminster into a kind of Seventies Leyland car factory, apathetically turning out badly assembled laws to plague the people of this country.

We need far fewer laws and far fewer MPs (400 would do fine). My advice to constituency parties is not to hire candidates unless they promise two things: to read every line of every Bill they are called upon to pass; and to vote according to their conscience, and not according to the wishes or orders of the whips.

That may gum up the machinery of law-making, and that would be all to the good. It may make it impossible for Parliament to produce yet another annual Criminal Justice Bill. It may make it more difficult for MPs to produce yet more
laws telling teachers, doctors, nurses and other public
servants how to manage their vocations.

If we had fewer MPs, and they were forced to concentrate on what they were actually doing, we would have much less legislation, and I can’t think of a better way of saving us all time, trouble and money.

We need a Parliament of rebels, and we need it now.”

Hear Hear!

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3 Responses to “Sound Advice from Boris Johnson”

  1. Pete Says:

    Well he got this bit right: “That may gum up the machinery of law-making”…

    Could you imagine a parliament full of Barnaby Joyces? All completely and utterly devoted to whatever hair-brained, half-baked cockeyed scheme they had dreamed up over their weetbix that morning… oh and equally sold-out to pursuing their own agenda.

    Forget that. We need a parliament of people who simply pursue the best outcomes for their constiuencies and their country not themselves.

    I suggest that the best way to do that is have a maximum four-term limit on all MPs.

  2. Ben Raue Says:

    It’s nice to say how great it would be for local constituency parties to insist on politicians who think independently. But none of the Conservative ideas from either Johnson or Cameron will ultimately change anything.

    It’s not a coincidence that the worst excesses of the expenses scandal have taken place in the safest seats. The truth is that as long as you have a system where a single party holds a majority most of the time, the whips will have complete control over their members.

    You can promise to remove the whip from your MPs, but when push comes to shove they’ll be leaned on just like they always have been. Ultimately most incumbent MPs have enough power over their constituency party that the idea of local constituency parties (or even the actual voters, in most seats) can control them in any way is ludicrous.

    The only way you can change it is by introducing proportional representation, so most people’s votes actually count, and MPs are accountable for their actions, and so that no single party will control a majority in the legislature, ensuring that there is proper scrutiny and accountability of the executive.

  3. Tim Andrews Says:

    You know, I’m gradually – very gradually – starting to see some benefits in PR electorates…

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