LETTER : Man, party or democracy?

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From Mr Richard Ensor

Sir: In evaluating the recent move of Alan Howarth, MP for Stratford- upon-Avon, from the Conservative Party to the Labour Party, there is a question of loyalty to consider. Has Mr Howarth done the right thing, choosing loyalty to his social conscience over his party?

As Britain is a democracy, where constituency members vote for a person (not a party) to represent them at the Houses of Parliament, surely the first loyalty of an MP is to the people of the constituency rather than a party?

Today, Mr Howarth looked tired and sincere. It is difficult to see his move as an act of loyalty for any party. However, he has shown loyalty to his own values and has not been respected by those who expected his loyalty. The timing, coincidental or not, surely calls to account some Conservatives' attitudes towards the responsibilities of democratic power. In complaining of his disloyalty, some of the party faithful reveal a poor grasp of the nature of democracy, indeed they are hoist by their own petard.

Yours sincerely,

Richard Ensor

Thurleigh,

Bedfordshire

9 October

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