ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Casting Vote

You choose a Member indeed; but after you have chosen him, he is not a member of Bristol; he is a Member of Parliament.

– Edmund Burke

In a famous speech delivered in 1774 at Bristol’s Guildhall, Edmund Burke defined a member of parliament’s (MP) duty to his constituency. To the people of Bristol who had elected him, he made clear that as an MP he would no doubt remain loyal and faithful to them, but he would not sacrifice his reason and conscience for the good of the whole nation at the altar of local purposes or prejudices. He said: “…government and legislation are matters of reason and judgment and not of inclination and what sort of reason is that in which the determination precedes the discussion?”. Transposing the same stout logic to the relationship between party interests and that of the whole House he presides over, our Speaker has decided to stay put for the moment.

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