Crossing the Floor
In just over two years of Cornwall Council there have been two by-elections and two deflections to other groups/party. One by-election was due to the sad death of a Councillor, the other was in part to the criminal conviction of another Councillor.
I have blogged before about Councillors crossing the floor, or changing parties/groups whilst in office. The last blog was about Neil Plummer. The latest defection or what other may say liberation concerns Jan Powell. Again, for the record I thought and still think Jan did a fantastic job as Chairman and before that as a member of the Health and Adult Scrutiny Committee. I was most surprised that she was removed from that Committee by the Leader of the Conservatives. Details are still sketchy as to why, and I doubt we will ever find out the true reasons.
Anyway, I still believe that if you cross the floor you should stand in a by-election. People do vote for people because they stand under that party’s banner. Crossing the floor to a ‘rival party’ is for many is just too much. I will say many people do vote for the person before party, so there is no exact science on voting.
However, how can you be absolutely certain you have the complete support of your electorate if you change sides? Unless you contact everyone you don’t. You may ask a few people what they think, but this is hardly a full survey. In fact the only way you can be sure is to re-stand and let democracy take its course.
Of course you can disagree with my view (many do), and no doubt the whole strange concept of being and Independent and in a ‘group’ will be raised. But, people have in fact voted for me as an Independent (twice); so I will take comfort in that. If I did decide to change from being an Independent I would stand in a by-election. That way if I retain the seat, I have the support of the electorate. It would be the same if someone decided to go become an Independent from another party – By-election.
At the end of the day Jan’s move is further heartache for the Leader, but a coupé for Jeremy Rowe’s new leadership, which he has blogged Here.
Now the question is will Jan be placed back onto the Health OSC to rub salt into the wounds of the Leader, and if further barrels of salt will be poured over the wounds if she is re-elected as Chairman of the OSC. No doubt lots will be discussed between now and the next OSC as to who will stand for the role of Chairman.