Letter: Tory quandary over leadership

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The Independent Online
Sir: Yesterday in the House of Commons the Prime Minister put his finger on exactly what has been wrong with the government of this country in the recent past, particularly under Conservative governments. In response to criticism by Tony Marlow, John Major said:

I remind you that it might be a useful novelty if from time to time you were prepared to support the government you were elected to support.

There speaks a former whip. But that view of an MP's responsibilities is incorrect. MPs are elected to represent, first, the interests of all their constituents, and, second, the interests of their country. These will often coincide; but they are likely to clash with government policy when the latter is based on dogma rather than reason and lacks popular support.

While support for party is the primary criterion by which MPs determine how to vote, we shall suffer bad government, lose economic ground and become an increasingly divided society.

Yours sincerely,


Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands

30 March