Voting and Representatives

Old Parliament House in Canberra

Ok.  Growing up in the states, I always assumed that people I elected went to Congress, the statehouse, etc… and voted how they thought they should vote.  No one could tell them how to vote and certainly no one could force them to vote a certain way.

Well, the recent vote on gay marriage here in the UK made me do some looking.  It was called a Vote of Conscience where MPs could vote how they wanted.  This implies that normally someone tells them how to vote.  If that is true, I understand the Parliamentary system of government even less and think it is inferior to something like a Representative form of government like we have.

Perhaps someone can help me out.  Have I misunderstood it?  Do MPs get forced to vote certain ways?  As someone who elects them, doesn’t it make you feel as if you have no representation in the government?

Image from sam llic via flickr

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