Sputnik discussed the future of the Independent Group in UK politics with Professor Martin Smith, Department of Politics, University of York.
Sputnik: The Independent Group is in talks with Britain's Electoral Commission about becoming a fully-fledged political party. How significant is this news?
Martin Smith: Well, I think it's significant in the sense it means that they'll be an official party and they'll be able to function as a party and most importantly, stand for elections. I think the issue, the key issue, is whether they can actually be successful in elections, particularly typically given our electoral system.
Sputnik: If we look at the Independent Group, they are a mixture of Conservative and Labour MPs, all of which you could say have very different ideas on a variety of different policies. What common ground do the MPs in the Independent Group have? And is this essentially big enough of a foundation to create a fully-fledged party?
Sputnik: Many individuals were pushing for these MPs to have a by-election, on the basis that these MPs have built a strong majority with their parties. Could this recent move be considered as a way of manoeuvring in order to not go through with a by-election?
Martin Smith: Well I think the thing is they can't be made up a by election anyway, so I don't think this makes any difference. I think calling for a by election is just part of the party game that happens every time an MP shifts from a party and it's very rare that when they do move from quality that they actually do his own and call it a by-election but every time that happens, we get this course of saying there should be a by-election. I think the interesting thing is that neither party at this moment would welcome a big solid block of by elections all at the same time because I think the outcome would be too unpredictable.
Sputnik: Many of the things that we've seen recently with the Independent Group hark backs to the scenes, we saw the SDP. Can we see the same thing happen with the independent group even if they did create this fully-fledged party?
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