Any bets on whether there will be a by-election in Bury North?
Guido Fawkes points out here that the MP for Bury South, who was elected as a Conservative in 2019 but defected to the Labour party today, had in 2020 co-sponsored a bill requiring MPs who change parties to submit to a by election.
The bill was not passed but if he still believes in what he voted for sixteen months ago he does of course have the option of resigning and fighting a by-election. The opinion polls suggest he would have a good chance of being only the fourth MP in modern history to fight a by election and win it on changing parties (after Dick Taverne in 1972 and the duo of Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless in 2014).
Lest there be any misunderstanding, I am not calling the MP for Bury South to trigger a by-election, not because I am afraid of the result but for one reason only - I refuse to add to the irritating display of double standards and hypocrisy from too many people on all sides of politics whenever an elected politician crosses the floor.
Time and again when someone joins a political party other than their own, a chorus of people demand a by-election, but when someone defects to their own party, the same people welcome them with open arms and either deny that a by-election is needed, or else there is a deafening silence from them on the subject.
It will be interesting to see whether Copeland Labour party, who have been demanding a by-election for the Mayoralty of a council which will not exist in fifteen months time because the Mayor joined the Conservatives, write to Sir Keir Starmer demanding that the MP for Bury South fight a by-election.
Bet they don't.