Today, the Conservative MP Phillip Lee 'Crossed the Floor' a dramatic and theatrical demonstration of a change of loyalty. In his case he moved to become a Liberal Democrat. Crossing the Floor means that you literally change parties and 'cross the floor' of the House of Commons to demonstrate this. It is reasonably rare but in times of political crises such as at present it is another sign of the heightened stakes and tensions at Westminster.
It is also doubly significant because it removes the Governments working majority.
Politics courses usually start in August with not too much happening but already we have things happening thick and fast on the ground. These are already great examples for AS British Politics and A2 Comparative.
FIRSTLY: Boris Johnson has PROROGUED PARLIAMENT! What does that mean? Well he hasn't shut it down completely but he has used the tactic of suspending it prior to having a Queen's Speech in October. Is this allowed? Well, it is allowed but many argue that what he has done is actually take advantage of political mechanisms to try and stifle debate and opposition to a no deal Brexit which has been simmering in Westminster. He is reducing the time available to MP's before the October Brexit deadline.
SECONDLY, Number 10 advisors / Government Whips have announced that they are going to take the extreme step of DESELECTING any of the Conservative MP's who vote against the Government. This means that those MP's who defy the party whip would not have the chance to run again as a Conservative candidate and a new candidate would be selected instead. This is a ruthless way to run the party and could have two results. He could perhaps instill iron discipline to push through Brexit through determination and threat or he could alienate not just moderates in his party but moderate Tories throughout the country. Many see this as a usurpation of power and a rejection of representative democracy. Some senior Tories including two former Chancellors and Big Beasts - Phillip Hammond and Ken Clark are deeply opposed to such tactics and openly criticise their use.
Great examples of PM/ Executive control / Use of Whips and Back Bench rebellion.
Just when you thought things couldn't get any more complicated - John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, has announced that the Executive cannot put forward another vote to Parliament unless the motion put to it had changed substantially in nature. He was concerned that the Government are keeping coming back to Parliament with essentially rehashed versions of the same deal - almost grinding down Parliament until they give in. Quoting conventions and precedent dating back to the 17th Century Bercow used his power as 'Chair' Speaker to defend Parliamentary rights and effectively scupper Theresa May's attempts at pushing her deal through by attrition.
In another sign of the deep divisions ripping through British Politics at the moment, Environment Minister George Eustice has resigned from the Government due to the proposed delay to Brexit, suggested by Theresa May this week. Eustice is a well known Brexiteer and believes that the Prime Minister, by taking a no deal off the table, has removed any form of bargaining chip for Britain in what he believes should be the final run up to Brexit.
HOW CAN WE USE THIS IN A LEVEL POLITICS?
His resignation is a good example to Politics students of Cabinet splits and Collective Responsibility - as he felt he could not support the Government policy and therefore had to resign.
This article is a good example for House of Lords (as Baroness Lawrence is a Peer / and Select Committee as this took place at an evidence gathering session on the Home Affairs Select Committee
Baroness Lawrence is the mother of Stephen Lawrence who was brutally murdered in London over a decade ago. She is a fighter for justice and uses her role in the House of Lords to fight for this. Read the article and see her views on Knife crime and how to tackle it.
Parliament has been buzzing like never before with amendments being tabled regarding Brexit.
These are clear examples of MP's trying to influence and put their own stamp on the torturous Brexit debate. While many will not be passed, many are in fact gaining cross party support and have directly influenced the debate and progress of Brexit.
This is ESSENTIAL for illustrating the powers of MP's Backbenchers and their ability to really influence the political process - given the right circumstance.
A BBC analysis of where the UK is now using 8 charts to help explain
Mr John Wishart -