‘Honoured that you are writing my father’s biography’ the late Tony Benn, ‘...wonderfully written’ Hilary Benn

‘Sparkles with fascinating detail…a remarkable story of Liberal and Labour politics in the first half of the twentieth century.’ Michael Crick, Political Correspondent, Channel 4 News

‘Casts much light both on the evolution of British radicalism, and on the legacy which he bequeathed to his son, Tony. Professor Vernon Bogdanor, King's College, London

‘Brilliant biography…wonderful reading about the father and...discovering more about the son.’ Steve Richards of The Independent

‘Well-written and carefully researched, this fascinating biography brings to life a major figure in British political history…an excellent job of weaving together the strands of a complex life…as well as filling in the background of the Benn family’ Richard Doherty, military historian

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Nadine Dorries’ whip removal may be painless

Nadine Dorries may have had the Conservative whip withdrawn for going to Australia to take part in I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here, but is this likely to spell the end of her political career? 

For the rest of this parliament she can remain an MP, either as an independent or she could join another party. (On Have I Got News for You she said that she did feel ‘Ukippy’ Clip here).

But, with the three main parties dominating the political landscape, what are her prospects of re-election? There are some interesting precedents of MPs who had the whip withdrawn but who then won a seat at a future election. 

In 1911 Horatio Bottomley had the Liberal whip withdrawn, was declared bankrupt and thrown out of the House of Commons, but this did not prevent his return as an independent in 1918. However, he was expelled again in 1922 and imprisoned for fraud.

George Galloway lost the Labour whip in 2003, but was elected as the Respect MP for Bethnal Green and Bow in 2005 and is now the Respect MP for Bradford West.

An example of mass whip-withdrawal was John Major’s removal of the whip from eight Conservative MPs who rebelled over European policy in 1994. Where are they now?

All eight had the whip restored. Five were returned as Conservative MPs at the following election in 1997. The other three were defeated. However, two of the eight have subsequently defected to UKIP.

The precedents for Nadine Dorries suggest that re-election as a Conservative MP is not out of the question, and nor is a defection to UKIP.

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