Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,
Nicholas
nwhyte

The coming UK by-election

A shout out to Iain Weaver who has listed previous examples of British MP's resigning their seats on points of principle - or, more strictly speaking, MPs who resigned their seats in order to fight the subsequent forced by-election. He leaves out the interesting case also of George Lansbury in 1912.

There is almost no history of this for the Dáil - nine TDs resigned in sympathy with the so-called "army mutiny" in 1924, but none of them fought the seven subsequent by-elections. Kevin Boland also resigned from the Dáil in 1970 in the wake of the arms crisis, but did not fight the subsequent by-election either (he did have a go in the next general election but lost). Purist Republican theorists of course insist that the entire 1918 election in Ireland should be retrospectively given the status of a plebiscite, but nobody seems to have argued this at the time.

I have to say that it doesn't impress me all that much as a political move. Referendums, as we are seeing in Ireland at the moment, are referendums, and elections are elections; and if Parliament takes a decision that people disagree with, a by-election result in one seat won't change that (and historically did not do so in 1986 or in 1912). The fact that I happen to agree with Davis on the substance (as I would have done in 1912, but did not in 1986) doesn't change the fact that this is essentially a stunt which will do nothing to change the legislation (which may yet be blocked in the House of Lords or in the courts); the only winner will be Davis personally. Sure, he'll get some nice publicity for embarrassing the government; but I would much rather have the focus on their coalition with the DUP.
Subscribe
  • Post a new comment

    Error

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.
  • 6 comments