I READ with interest Dr Richard Taylor's regular column in last week's Shuttle/Times & News. In it, he raises an interesting point regarding the advantage of being an independent MP when it comes to voting in the House of Commons.

He quite rightly points out that he can vote how he pleases on every vote that takes place in Westminster. But the conundrum he raises is this: Without a published manifesto on every single issue likely to come up, the constituents of an independent MP have no idea how their MP will vote on their behalf.

It is not for me to comment on how Richard chooses to vote - I am sure he takes it very seriously. But I do think his comments underline why a party affiliated MP is an advantage.

When the electors go to the polls, probably May 5, they are making their choice for the next five years. Voters may not agree with every policy of their preferred party, but they, by definition, agree with the larger part.

So, when a constituency returns, for example, a Conservative MP, all those constituents know that their MP will be voting in Westminster according to Conservative values.

The same applies for all political parties - a Labour MP will vote according to Labour values etc. The problem arises when your MP has no, or very few, policies and no political allegiances.

While some may see it as a virtue that an independent MP can vote as he or she chooses, the fact is the independent MP has to make up policies on every issue as they go along. It is therefore probable that many people will feel dissatisfied with the independent MP on individual issues. More seriously, the independent MP may be swayed by whoever is the latest pressure group to lobby his or her support, irrespective of the wishes of the silent majority.


Conservative Parliamentary Spokesman

Wyre Forest Constituency

Margaret Thatcher House

Mill Street, Kidderminster