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Digital Subscriptions > Prospect Magazine > October 2016 > Should party whips be abolished?

Should party whips be abolished?

The Duel

© ANTONIA MACARO 2015, ARCAID/UIG VIA GETTY IMAGES

The whips in parliament are MPs and lords appointed by the party leaders to organise parliamentary business and to ensure that MPs and lords vote accord- ing to the leaderships’ wishes.

YES Parliamentary democracy in our country is suffering a crisis of legitimacy. Support for mainstream parties is at an all-time low and the opposition has a leader whom 80 per cent of its MPs don’t support. There are many reasons for this and there is no magic bullet to cure it. The whips system is part of the problem and must be abolished.

Whipping demands of our elected politicians that their first duty is to obey their party, not to serve their constituents. As such, it is a potent symbol of what many perceive to be wrong with our politics: that it is played by the internal rules of the Westminster elite without enough regard to the people they are supposed to represent.

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About Prospect Magazine

In Prospect’s October issue: Nobel-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz tells our new Editor Tom Clark why globalisation has made him more radical. Rachel Holmes asks whether more women leaders really help women. Five hundred years on, what does Thomas More’s “Utopia” tells us about political idealism. And Tristram Hunt on why Labour needs another Clement Attlee. Also in this issue: David Runciman on why more members isn’t always a good thing for a political party. Will Self on why we’re all turning into robots. Your handy graphic guide to Brexit. Plus: David Willetts on what Theresa May’s industrial strategy should look like. And Kenneth S Rogoff argues we should abolish cash.