MP’s should be given a written contract such as any other employee has, setting out their duties, including that of representing their electorate’s “interests and concerns in the House of Commons”, says Neil Jopson.   

In his recent article on this site, entitled “The Brexit Battle is Not Lost”, my namesake, writer and historian Neil Jopson correctly wrote:- “An establishment that said it needed to learn the lessons of the Referendum continues to ignore every single one of them.”

This has been manifest in the conduct of certain Tory “rebels”, to the extent that this floating voter and political inactivist was moved to write complaining about his conduct to a prominent Europhile MP Unfortunately he did not know at the time that the MP had a French mother, and instead of going to Public School attended a Lycee, or he would not have bothered.

The MP did not reply, but his constituency Chairman did – remarkably on solicitor’s stationery – seeking to justify his MP’s conduct, by reference to what he described as the Burke Principle; in effect telling me that it was wrong in law to object to errant MP’s.

I noted from their respective C.V.’s that neither he nor his MP despite being lawyers had law degrees, and therefore would not have studied Constitutional Law at University.

If they had, they might have reflected upon the fact that what is called the “Burke Principle” is as historically irrelevant as Droit de Seigneur, although I suspect from reports of sexual harassment, that many MP’s believe that they have this!

In 1774 Edmund Burke, an Irishman, and subsequent political philosopher, was elected as an MP for Bristol. He held this seat for six years but lost the seat when, as part of an ongoing disagreement with the electors, he arrogantly told them that he was a Member of Parliament, not the Member for Bristol, and would vote as he thought best, even at the expense of his constituency.

This “principle” is only one man’s opinion as to his position. It is not, nor has it ever been, the law.

In 1774, the United States was a British Colony – just; Ireland was wholly part of the United Kingdom, Robert Clive was busy conquering India for the East India Company; there was no unified Germany, there was far from universal literacy, with many unable to read or write; the electoral franchise was only held by males owning land worth 40 shillings, the electoral ballot was conducted by a show of hands, and communication was at the speed of the horse.

These are the primitive days which certain MP’s seem to think that they are still in, yet the world and society have changed much. To rely on Mr Burke shows either that they are desperately out of touch, or simply desperate.

I would argue that the Referendum, which creates a new chapter in our unwritten constitution, binds MP’s to provide not a Hard Brexit, nor a Soft Brexit, but a Clean Brexit, so that the likes of Barnier, Juncker, Verhofstadt and Tusk et al. have no influence over the way that this country is run.

In 2018, “The Burke Principle”, conflicts with the statement of an MP’s duties on the Parliament website.

 “The UK public elects Members of Parliament (MPs) to represent their interests and concerns in the House of Commons”

Whatever happened to the concept of Great Britain Plc?

The present situation vis a vis the Referendum is akin to a situation where the shareholders of a company have passed an Ordinary Resolution by the majority in General Meeting, only for a number of the directors to think that they have the right to fight against it.

Although some like to say that the Referendum was advisory only, there is no legal authority on this at all either way, as the Referendum was the latest addition to our unwritten constitution.

One can only look for assistance to Switzerland where frequent referenda “are the key element to Switzerland’s unique and well-established tradition of Direct Democracy” or as one Swiss politician is reputed to have said, “The people have decided, the people is right” (sic)

It seems to me that the Labour proposal for mandatory re-selection of candidates is, in the light of recent events, a good one. Call it a fixed term contract for MP’s for the duration of a parliament, and it sounds better still.

Indeed, why not give MP’s a written contract such as any other employee has, setting out their duties, including that of representing their electorate’s “interests and concerns in the House of Commons”.

That would also prevent foreigners like George Soros funding pressure groups to seek to influence MP’s for their own hoped-for financial advantage.

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