Yousaf is right to call for Lisa Cameron to quit after her defection from SNP to Tories – Scotsman comment

Lisa Cameron was elected as a member of a left-wing, pro-independence party so her constituents should get to decide if they are happy to have a right-wing unionist as their MP

It’s hard to imagine the thought processes that Lisa Cameron, until yesterday the SNP MP for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow, went through as she decided to join the Conservatives. There have always been “Tartan Tories” in the SNP, even if they kept a low profile under Nicola Sturgeon, but her sudden conversion to unionism is harder to fathom, given she has been working to break up the UK as a nationalist MP for eight years.

She claimed that being in the SNP had been “bad for my health” because of “toxic and bullying” colleagues and that the “significant division” within her own family over independence had “taken its toll”, prompting her to conclude it was “more helpful” to focus on constructive polices to help the UK as a whole. Whether she finds a happier home in the party of Priti Patel, Dominic Raab and Gavin Williamson – all found to have bullied those around them – remains to be seen.

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Coming just days before an SNP conference that was already looking like a downbeat affair following the party’s defeat in the Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election, it adds to Humza Yousaf’s political problems at a time when his party is struggling. So he could be forgiven for uncharitably suggesting Cameron had probably never believed in independence.

His call for her resignation as an MP, however, was a noble one. Cameron was elected by a landslide as a member of a left-wing, pro-independence party, so her constituents have every right to be aggrieved to discover their elected representative is now suddenly a right-wing unionist. However, such is the SNP’s current plight that a by-election would only bring bad news – if not the loss of the seat, then a haemorrhaging of votes that would be accompanied by dire predictions about what this would mean in a general election.

Long ago, MPs were elected as individuals rather than party members, but democracy has moved on. Today, most people vote for the party they support, not the name on the ballot. As Yousaf suggests, Cameron should quit but chances are she won’t.



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