February 21 letters: MPs toeing party line is mockery of democracy

From: Rev Neil McNicholas, Yarm, Cleveland.

ON the BBC Inside the Commons documentary (February 17), it was quite blatantly stated that when the division bell sounds in the Commons, MPs head for the division lobby, often with no idea what the vote is about and are instructed by the party whips how to vote. MPs, it said, will vote the way they are instructed if they are interested in promotion.

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Those with any backbone or the courage of their convictions are, of course, considered “rebels”, “mavericks”, “the awkward squad” and their political career is going nowhere.

How is such a self-serving system even remotely democratic? Why do we bother to vote for a MP when it doesn’t make any difference what they support, or what we elected them to support? They vote the way they are told to vote. And yet David Cameron has the gall to appear on the programme and say: “An MP’s authority comes from those who elect them”! I think you could just see, sticking out of his pocket, a ticket to “Cloud Cuckoo Land”.

We have a responsibility and a duty to vote, but what if we don’t like the choices we are offered? Shouldn’t there also be a “none of the above” box? The only alternative is to spoil our ballot or not vote. We shouldn’t be backed into a corner of choosing between unacceptable options.