David Davis MP, a former minister and challenger for the leadership of the Conservative Party said on Radio Four recently that Members of Parliament should put country first, constituency second and party third.
Translate that to local government and it would read: put town first, interests of your ward second and party third.
Sentiments with which I concur. Sadly though, all political parties have members, councillors and MPs who put party first, second and third. The whip system, together with the desire for self-preservation and finding favour with the dreaded selection committee, results in some of our elected representatives toeing the party line no matter how disastrous that line is for the welfare of the people they represent.
Whilst one may legitimately expect a councillor or MP to follow the party line on most issues, there are times when MPs and councillors should exercise independent judgement when they deem it appropriate to do so. Demanding blind obedience requires people to act as zombies. Within political parties it is sometimes the case that the dissident or maverick has reached the correct conclusion on an issue.
Backbench councillors and MPs should not be treated as voting fodder.