How can I vote for Nick Clegg but not my local Lib Dem MP?
April 30, 2010 9:51 AM   Subscribe

UK Voting Question. I want to vote for Nick Clegg but I despise the local Lib Dem MP. How can I vote for one and not the other?

This will be my first UK election and I don't really understand how it works, but as far as I know I can only vote for all Lib Dems (including this odious MP) or none of them.

If this is correct then I'm at a loss about what I'll do. This MP has been extremely rude to members of my family, regularly parks in disabled spaces when he isn't, and thinks rules don't apply to him. I don't know if I can bring myself to vote for him for the greater good of the country.
posted by hazyjane to Law & Government (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You only get to vote for your local MP. You don't get to vote for Prime Minister. The Prime Minister is (almost always) the leader of the party that gets the most MPs. You cannot vote for Nick Clegg without voting for your local Lib dem MP.
posted by cushie at 9:59 AM on April 30, 2010

You can't vote for one and not the other. HOwever, if you can't bring yourself to vote for your local LibDem candidate but want to support the party you can do this by voting for someone else in your riding and doing something else to support the LibDems. This can include donating money to the party or some other candidate or volunteering for the campaign of a different LibDem candidate.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 10:07 AM on April 30, 2010

If it sets your mind at ease any, when it's a tossup between an arsehole from a party you support and a decent person from a party you don't, it's probably better to vote against the arsehole, regardless of the consequences on the raw numbers in Westminster. Decent constituency service isn't an optional extra: it's a huge reason why your MP's there.
posted by holgate at 10:11 AM on April 30, 2010

Vote Pairing: Find a labour-voting friend in a nearby district and agree to swap votes with her. That way the lib dems still get a vote (hers), while you cast a labor vote and avoid supporting your local sleaze-bag. Bonus points if you swap with someone in a district where the lib-dem has a chance of winning.
posted by The White Hat at 10:14 AM on April 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

holgate: If it sets your mind at ease any, when it's a tossup between an arsehole from a party you support and a decent person from a party you don't, it's probably better to vote against the arsehole, regardless of the consequences on the raw numbers in Westminster.

This is a purely subjective opinion, which is fine, but the opposite one should be stated for the record: if you live in a constituency where the Lib Dem MP faces a serious challenge from another party's candidate, your vote (at this important election) could make a serious difference to the future of democracy in Britain, and how nice your local MP is as a person may strike you as a fairly minor matter in comparison.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 10:43 AM on April 30, 2010 [2 favorites]

Don't vote for the nasty person. Write to them to tell them why (is it possible that they're parking in disabled spaces because their partner or someone else in the car/someone they are going to pick up is disabled? Are they definitely not disabled themself? Do you have photos?? But nothing excuses the rudeness). Write to their central office (it's not immediately obvious to me how to do this, sorry) to say are you sure you want this guy representing you?

Then vote for someone else, and hope the nasty person isn't there by the next election.
posted by Lebannen at 10:44 AM on April 30, 2010

If your seat is a dead certainty for a party other than the Lib Dems (so Labour or Conservative), then to some extent your local vote for the lib dems won't make much difference locally; there's no way the sleazebag will get in. What your vote will do, however, is be part of the lib dem figure for the percentage of the popular vote. If there is enough disparity between the percentage of votes cast for the lib dems and the actual number of seats they win, they will be in a strong position to campaign for electoral reform so that your vote would actually count. If there is a hung parliament they will be all the stronger to push for this.

You can find details on the situation in your constituency here, and the BBC's website here can tell you what constituency you're in if you're not sure. Both websites also have additional information on the electoral system in the UK.

Hope some of that makes sense and is helpful!
posted by Lotto at 10:46 AM on April 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

Vote for him and then, once the election is over, write a disparaging article about him in the local paper.

(...sorry, I'm turning into
posted by run"monty at 11:00 AM on April 30, 2010

Do we live in the same constituency? Cos I have the same problem with my local Lib Dem candidate (who is not an MP, so I guess we don't live in the same place). An added factor in my case is that I don't want the Conservative candidate to get in, and as the seat is a relatively safe Labour one with the Tories in second place, a vote for the Lib Dems would likely favour the Conservatives. So I'm voting Labour.

If you are really set on supporting the Lib Dems you could always join the party - that way you get a say next time in who the candidate is.
posted by altolinguistic at 11:03 AM on April 30, 2010

I would be happy to give vote pairing a try if anyone would like to exchange with me? Send me a mefimail if you're interested.

I'm in the Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross constituency in Scotland. Where I live, the Lib Dem candidate is the outgoing MP and according to the BBC Web site he had over 50% of the vote in 2005. I think he's a fairly safe bet to get elected although the Labour MP is doing quite well this year as he's from a local family which is very important to many people in this constituency.

I actually approached my MP today as he was shaking hands outside my place of work. I told him calmly that he had been very rude to my family and to me on a certain occasion and gave him the chance to apologise which he did not do. He instead made a very poor excuse for his behavior so I just said "well, ok" and walked away. I have thought about stirring things up and posting something on our community bulletin board or writing a letter to the paper, but to be honest I'm a bit scared this powerful man will use his influence to cause me to lose my job or some such thing. I don't trust him at all.
posted by hazyjane at 11:46 AM on April 30, 2010

I agree with holness. You are voting for your local MP, as in, the person who will best serve your area. There isn't any way to separate this from the person who gets elected.

Have you spoken to the press about the MP if you feel so strongly he;s an arsehole? I think being a good member of the community is really important if you are to represent them, and it sounds like your MP is not living up to that.
posted by mippy at 11:57 AM on April 30, 2010

I'm a bit scared this powerful man will use his influence to cause me to lose my job or some such thing. I don't trust him at all.

I really don't think this can happen. We're not like the US with their "at will" employment law. You cannot be sacked because your MP takes against you. I really don't think you should vote for this person given everything you've said here. And I shall be voting LibDem this year so feel free to swap your vote with me. I usually vote Labour.
posted by Lleyam at 12:17 PM on April 30, 2010

You cannot be sacked because your MP takes against you.

This is true, though hazyjane is right that her MP has a certain amount of ancestral clout. (That's the downside of reforming the House of Lords.) If you want a venue for anonymous stirring about MPs, then Private Eye is often useful.
posted by holgate at 1:02 PM on April 30, 2010

I'm a bit scared this powerful man will use his influence to cause me to lose my job or some such thing. I don't trust him at all.

This can not happen.

MPs are not as powerful as you may think, and if it did you could sue him for a huge amount of money and destroy his career.

Vote for someone else, write letters to the paper, and hope the Lib Dems take note next time and change their candidate.

I work for a political party in Northern Ireland and even the former paramilitary MPs wouldn't take a grudge over a letter to the paper criticising them.
posted by knapah at 1:05 PM on April 30, 2010

I don't trust him at all

Then don't vote for him, you are voting for the candidate not the party, they can leave the party after being voted in, e.g. MP Clare Short and MP Quentin Davies
posted by Lanark at 1:38 PM on April 30, 2010

I've spent a lot of time this week playing with electoral mathematics. There is a considerable risk now of the election ending with a small but workable majority for the Consevatives because the vote in the traditional Labour heartlands has collapsed and people are thinking about voting Lib Dem.

If this worries you, and if you can stomach the idea, I would strongly recommend voting Labour, given your constituency situation and the fact you hate your Liberal candidate. We're close to the point now where tactical voting like this might genuinely make all the difference: it's ridiculous that your vote can't count in the way you want it to. The only party serious about the sort of electoral reform we so desperately need is the Lib Dems. The best way to make that happen, assuming the lib dems won't get enough votes to be the government (they cannot do this at thus election) is to make the lib dems the deciding bloc in a hung parliament, so they can bargain voting reform in exchange for support of any other party. And the best way to do this is to take as big a chunk out of the Tory majority as possible: vote for whichever non-Tory candidate is going to win!

In essence, right now a vote against the Tories is a vote for the Lib Dems. You can vote Labour with a clear conscience: you were supporting the party of your choice, but voting against your rubbish local MP.
posted by cromagnon at 7:13 PM on April 30, 2010

As others have said, it's impossible for you to vote for the Liberal Democrats but not vote for this MP in UK. That's just how the voting system works I'm afraid: you vote for your MP & then certain groups of MPs band together to form a government.

One option you do have is to spoil your ballot paper: all spoiled ballots must be presented to the candidates representatives at the count so that they can confirm them one way or the other. You can write on the ballot paper your reasons for not voting for your MP (keep it short and snappy!) and it will be brought to the attention of the LibDem machine in your constituency at the count that way.
posted by pharm at 1:15 AM on May 1, 2010

Thanks to all. I still haven't quite decided what to do but at least now I have a lot to think about before Thursday. One thing I will do though is write to Private Eye - Ian Hislop is my hero!
posted by hazyjane at 4:57 AM on May 1, 2010

All of the above answers were simply wrong. There's only one way to do what you asked. Move to South Yorkshire - and don't forget to update your enrolment details.

Though that's all moot now...
posted by wilful at 10:34 PM on May 12, 2010

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