The Professors passion for "The Science of Deceit" started here...

Employed by the Ministry (in a covert capacity) to help introduce the law ending dishonest politics, you can see his hand all over the posts of past.

Current political circumstances have forced him to reveal himself and as we speak, MPs are signing up to re-introduce The Elected Representatives (Prohibition of Deception) Bill for debate with over 80,000 voters supporting them.

Posts before Jan '08 are purely for the record (with hindsight they make fascinating reading). Posts after May 13th mark the Professor's return.

Meet the Professor

Friday, February 23, 2007

the Rogue MP (rogus parliamentarianus)

From left to right they are ;

Adam Price | Bob Marshall-Andrews | Norman Baker

Parliament's usual suspects.

Whoever we speak to - friends, politicos, media-types - the same names keep coming up.

"Everyone else 'll feed you the same line,"but we are accountable."

"If anyone's going to support a bill called "the Misrepresentation of the People Act" - it's one of these guys - they'll just get it.".

There are distinct types of MP. Parliamentarians, constituency MPs, rebels, party animals... the list goes on. Basically it denotes a mindset, an attitude toward their role.

One of the joys of our current system is that the responsibilities of an MP aren't defined anywhere. There's no job description. Technically they're our elected representatives in the legislature. They represent our sovereignty and as such are in Parliament to legislate on our behalf, in our interest. Professor Conor Gearty (the motherlode of constitutional law) put it very neatly when we spoke to him.

An MP is supposed to spend his time scrutinising legislation, either governing or holding the government to account (that's a whole different Post). We elect them for their judgement, their opinion - not as a mouthpiece. In days gone by constituency work would be seen as acting like a glorified social worker - technically for your local councillor to do.

With the rise of the party and party whip (basically - the party controlling which way an MP should vote) - in many cases the MP spends his time dealing with constituents and is only in Parliament to do his party's bidding in the chamber. Ask most MPs about the details of legislation and they'd have about as much idea as you and I - the party figures it out for them. That may be OK with you if you're comfortable with your party's official line - it may not.

However, there's a breed of MPs that somehow manage to spend time with their constituents and won't necessarily tow the party line. The above line-up are at the head of the class in this group, particularly Bob Marshall Andrews - he's Labour.

You can look up your MP and check out their voting record here. If they have a decent track record of independent thinking - let us know.

We're working our way through the register and getting diary dates for as many who'll see us.


  1. Apparently Lembit Opik occasionally rebels against his party in parliament

  2. tony the hairdresser23 Feb 2007, 09:25:00

    Lembit Opik's got a lot of cheek.

  3. he certainly has!

  4. I can always ask Gorgeous George Galloway for you.

  5. George Galloway would be the kiss of death to any half-serious attempt at legislation.

  6. Why don't you believe in the ballot box?

  7. Because it doesn't hold individuals to account does it?

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