In the same week that the Conservative Party have sought to wrest control from the Labour Party over the running of Brighton and Hove City Council without any opportunity for local residents to have a say, as a result of two Councillors leaving the Labour Party, the Cabinet Office have responded to a request by people to whom they are supposedly accountable who signed a petition calling for a by-election to be set up if people leave a party. The response is:
Formally, electors cast their vote for individual candidates, and not the political party they represent. The Government does not plan to change this constitutional position.
There is no requirement for a Member of Parliament to stand down and cause a by-election to be held if they decide to leave the party for which they stood and were elected. Formally, electors cast their vote for individual candidates, and not the political party they represent; although it is recognised that many people vote on the basis of party preference. It is generally agreed that a candidate, if elected to the House of Commons, is not deemed to be a delegate of a particular party, and will hold the office to which they have been elected in a personal capacity.
When a Member of Parliament decides to leave the party for which they were elected, it is for them to decide whether to stand down from their seat in the House of Commons and seek re-election in the subsequent by-election, or to continue to sit in the House of Commons.
A Member of Parliament who decides to leave the party for which they were elected and to continue to sit in the House of Commons will be required to stand as a candidate at the next General Election if they wish to remain in office.
Amending the existing law would involve a significant change to our constitutional arrangements, and would raise important issues about the role and status of Members of Parliament, which would need careful consideration. The government currently has no plan to make such changes.
So it seems as though the Government are far too busy to respond to people who are not part of a political party and therefore cannot be listened to if they have concerns about the way our democracy works (or fails to work). It is not difficult to understand why people no longer have any confidence in the Government or indeed in Councils!