Tory MP proposes bill that could discourage politicians defecting to other parties

Boris Johnson stands in front of cabinet ministers at the despatch box in the House of Commons. Phot

Boris Johnson stands in front of cabinet ministers at the despatch box in the House of Commons. Photograph: PA Wire. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

A Tory MP is proposing a new bill that could discourage politicians in the House of Commons from defecting to other parties.

Anthony Mangall, who replaced former defector Sarah Wollaston as MP, is proposing a private members bill which would amend the Recall of MPs Act 2015 to ensure any defector faces a recall petition automatically, and potentially a by-election if it is triggered.

The bill is likely to ensure any dissatisfied MPs think carefully before switching the floor, as witnessed in 2019 when a number of Tory MPs switched to Change UK and the Lib Dems under Theresa May.

17 MPs quit their original parties without facing the electorate last year, including Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger, and Phillip Lee.

'My bill is about restoring faith in politics, encouraging transparency and making people feel that their vote matters,' Mangall told the Independent.

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'As MPs, we are the representatives of a constituency but we should not forget that we are elected because we stood on a party manifesto, using party emblems, party support and party values.

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'I'm not saying that people should be any less independent. Every MP has the right to speak freely.

'But if you have been elected on the basis that you represent one party and you now want to join another, you should give your constituents the opportunity to decide if they want to be represented by your new party.

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'If you really feel you have been elected entirely on your own merits as an individual, that should pose you no problem.'

The bill has yet to receive the support of government, suggesting the proposals may fail without such backing.

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