Clare Short quits Labour

The Guardian reports that Clare Short, a UK Labour MP for 23 years, has quit her party and will be an independent for her Birmingham Ladywood constituency, “free to campaign for a hung parliament, a check on the executive and an end to presidential government.” (The latter remark represents a common misnomer that assumes that an overly centralized parliamentary party has been “presidentialized.”)

She had been repeatedly warned by party leaders that her support for a hung parliament meant she was opposed to the election of some Labour MPs. The LibDems had hoped to lure her, but her resignation letter pointedly says she will remain a social democrat (and is thus not a liberal).

She has been a dissenter from the Blair government’s Iraq policy since the beginning, and as No Right Turn (NZ) notes, the surprise is that she did not quit much sooner.

Short is also an advocate of eletoral reform, which is, of course, totally consistent with her position against centralization of executive authority.

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