Letter: Outlaw the whips

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The Independent Online
Sir: A very simple change could be made to our political system which would avoid the dangers of single-party government as discussed by Andrew Marr (8 December). The conduct of political parties in the Commons should be reformed in much the same way as the unions have been reformed in the past 10 years. The behaviour of some of the Tory Whips during the recent Maastricht vote seems similar to that of the 'union bully boys' in the past. Intimidation is intimidation, whichever workplace it is in.

If the party political closed shop (ie, the three-line whip - or any degree of whipping for that matter) was outlawed, this would force all governments to prepare legislation properly, to consult widely, and to achieve the widest possible support. Would this type of change not be easier to bring about than the more radical one of introducing some form of PR?

Yours sincerely,


Helensburgh, Strathclyde