Letter: The secret ballot should be used in Parliament

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The Independent Online
SO, Norman Lamont has gone - a scapegoat for the slaughter of a sick Tory party at the recent council elections ('One gone, but the ship of fools sails on', 30 May).

But whatever happened to cabinet responsibility? I am no lover of Mr Lamont, but his policies were approved by the whole Cabinet. Does the Government not realise that the electorate deserted because of its policies and because, a worse sin, it was seen to be incompetent and insensitive in the promulgation of those policies - in spite of warnings from those with expert knowledge?

When the public perceives that the flagrant pursuit of parliamentary rules of procedure for party ends takes precedence over the protection of the public as a whole (particularly the poor and those least able to protect themselves), it is hardly surprising that they exercise their democratic power at the ballot box.

Is it not ironical that although ballots are mandatory for trade unions and the electorate they are not used in Parliament itself? Indeed, parties employ 'whips' to ensure votes on issues that are clearly distasteful to their supporters. MPs seem to forget that, once elected, they represent all their constituents, not only those who voted for them.

M C T Morrison

Swindon, Wiltshire