Hansard Society Debates the Effectiveness of Independent MPs

A debate on the effectiveness of independent MPs is set to take place in the Houses of Parliament at 6:30pm on March 16th, 2009.

Topics to be discussed include the likelihood of independents being elected in the upcoming general election and how this would affect Parliament and politics in general. Will independent MPs spend more time in their constituencies at the expense of Parliament? Can a large number of independent MPs without the influence of whips affect real change?

Hansard Society LogoThe debate is being hosted by the Hansard Society, UK's leading non-partisan political research and education charity. Panelists include Dr Richard Taylor, Independent Network endorsed PPC Diane Park, Labour MP Chris Mullin and Professor Phillip Cowley.

Dr Richard Taylor defeated a government minister in 2001 to take Wyre Forest after campaigning on the single issue of saving the local Kidderminster Hospital. He became the only Independent MP to have retained his seat for a second term in the House since the 1949 General Election.

Cllr Diane Park is currently a PPC for Halifax and one of the first independents to be endorsed by Independent Network for the 2010 election. She was elected in 2003 and again in 2009 as a local councilor for Elland on Calderdale Council. Cllr Park has said “I think that the current political system is broken and if elected I will try and change this.”

Chris Mullin is a Labour MP for Sunderland South. Mullin was first elected in 1987, and has been re-elected at every subsequent election. Before undertaking public office, he campaigned again miscarriages of justice

Professor Philip Cowley is a British political scientist and an academic at the University of Nottingham. He has academic expertise in the analysis of parliamentary voting behavior in the House of Commons and House of Lords and is known for his outspoken opposition to lowering the UK voting age.

This is a good opportunity for both independent candidates and supporters to come along and ask questions or simply develop additional insight.

This event is free to attend, please email hans_admin@hansard.lse.ac.uk to register. For more information check out the Hansard Society website.

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