The Conservative Party minority Government has a majority of four (I think).

If the party loses its governing majority, could members from the opposition party resign their whip to stand as independents, and then form part of a new coalition/minority government to compensate for the loss?

So, for example: if Dominic Grieve, Tobias Ellwood and Antoinette Sandbach vote to bring down the Government and succeed, could Kate Hoey, Ronnie Campbell and Stephen Hepburn resign the Labour whip and agree to support, as independents, a new minority Conservative government in the delivery of Brexit?

  • I was going to say that sounded very unlikely, but a lot more people have crossed the floor than I realised: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… ; recent transitions into the Conservative party seem rare though.
    – pjc50
    Commented Jun 24, 2019 at 12:44
  • @pjc50 at least since 2010 it looks like all transitions into the Conservative party are reinstatement rather than crossing the floor.
    – Jontia
    Commented Jun 24, 2019 at 15:33
  • 2
    They wouldn't need to resign to vote to keep the government in power, though they would almost certainly have the whip withdrawn afterwards.
    – James
    Commented Jun 25, 2019 at 10:36

1 Answer 1


Yes. MPs are free to change parties or become independents, as they wish.

Even at the best of times, an MP resigning their party whip and becoming an independent comes with a significant risk of losing their seat at the next election (whenever that might be), as their former party will typically select a new candidate to stand against them.

In the situation described in the question, if this gambit fails, these newly-independent MPs could find themselves out of a job only a month or so later, as if the current government loses a vote of no confidence, and no new government is able to win a vote of confidence within 14 days, a general election will then ensue.

  • Your answer is related to my recent question.
    – einpoklum
    Commented Sep 4, 2019 at 22:16

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