Crossing the floor

In politics, crossing the floor is when a politician changes their allegiance or votes against their party in a Westminster system parliament. Crossing the floor may be voting against the approved party lines, or changing to another party after being elected while a member of a first party. While these practices are legally permissible, crossing the floor can lead to controversy and media attention. As well, voting against party lines may lead to consequences such as losing a position (e.g., as minister or a portfolio critic) or being ejected from the party caucus. Maldives and Bangladesh[1] have laws which remove the member from parliament due to floor-crossing.

Australian Senate - Parliament of Australia
The Australian Senate, like other parliaments based on the Westminster system, uses a divided chamber


The term originates from the British House of Commons, which is configured with the Government and Opposition facing each other on rows of benches. In consequence, an MP who switches from the governing party to one in opposition (or vice versa) also changes which side of the chamber they sit on. A notable example of this is Winston Churchill, who crossed the floor from the Conservatives to the Liberals in 1904, before later crossing back in 1924.

Voting against party lines

The term has passed into general use in other Westminster parliamentary democracies (such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa) even if many of these countries have semicircular or horseshoe-shaped debating chambers and mechanisms for voting without Members of Parliament leaving their seats. In most countries, it is most often used to describe members of the government party or parties who defect and vote with the opposition against some piece of government-sponsored legislation, but that usage is not widespread in Canada, where the term's usage is restricted to the original definition.

Most political parties let their members have a free vote on some matters of personal conscience.

In Australia, one of the major parties (the Australian Labor Party) requires its members to pledge their support for the collective decisions of the Caucus,[2] which theoretically prohibits them from crossing the floor; however, in practice, some Labor members disregard this pledge despite the disciplinary action which may result. Among other parties, crossing the floor is rare although former Senator Barnaby Joyce of the National Party of Australia crossed the floor 19 times under the Howard coalition government.[3] Nonetheless, the record for crossing the floor in the Australian Parliament goes to Tasmanian Senator Sir Reg Wright, who voted against his own party (the Liberal Party of Australia) on 150 occasions.

Changing parties

In the United Kingdom, Canada, and other countries, the term is also used to describe leaving one's party entirely and joining another party, such as leaving an opposition party to support the government (or vice versa), or even leaving one opposition party to join another. In both Canada and the United Kingdom, the term carries only this meaning and is not used for a simple vote against the party line on a bill.

In April 2006, the premier of Manitoba, Canada, Gary Doer of the New Democratic Party of Manitoba, proposed a ban on crossing the floor of the Manitoba legislature in response to "the concern some voters have expressed over the high-profile defections of three federal MPs from their parties in just over two years."[4] The resulting legislation, which amended the provincial Legislative Assembly Act, mandated that Members of the Legislature who quit their political party must serve out the remainder of their term as independents.[5]

An extraordinary example occurred in Alberta, Canada in December 2014 when Danielle Smith, the leader of the official opposition Wildrose Party, and eight of her MLAs crossed the floor together to join the governing Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta.[6]

See also


  1. ^ "Article 70(b) of Constitution of People's Republic of Bangladesh".
  2. ^ "Crossing the floor in the Federal Parliament 1950 – August 2004". Research Note no. 11 2005–06. Australian Parliament. October 10, 2005.
  3. ^ Debelle, Penelope (May 31, 2008). "Independently inclined". The Age.
  4. ^ Macafee, Michelle (April 11, 2006). "Proposed reforms would ban floor-crossing in Man". Canadian Press. Archived from the original on March 23, 2007.
  5. ^ "The Elections Reform Act - Schedule E". Statutes of Manitoba. Manitoba Laws. 2006.
  6. ^
25th International Emmy Awards

The 25th International Emmy Awards took place on November 24, 1997, at the Hilton Hotel in New York City, United States. The ceremony was hosted by Sir Peter Ustinov and the presenters included the actor Armand Assante, the dancer- choreographer Savion Glover, and the actress Marilu Henner.

Anne Cools

Anne Clare Cools (born August 12, 1943) is a former member of the Senate of Canada. Born in Barbados, she was the first Black Canadian to be appointed to Canada's upper house. Having been appointed in 1984, she was, from the retirement of Lowell Murray on September 26, 2011, until her own retirement on August 12, 2018, the longest-serving member of the Senate. She is the first female black Senator in North America. With the retirement of Charlie Watt, Cools was the last Senator appointed by Pierre Trudeau remaining in the Senate.

Barnaby Joyce

Barnaby Thomas Gerard Joyce (born 17 April 1967) is an Australian politician. He served as the leader of the National Party from February 2016 to February 2018, and was Deputy Prime Minister of Australia from February 2016 to October 2017 and from December 2017 to February 2018.

Joyce was born in Tamworth, New South Wales, and is a graduate of the University of New England. In 1999, he set up an accountancy practice in St George, Queensland. Joyce was elected, though it subsequently emerged in 2017 that he was not eligible for election, to the Senate at the 2004 federal election, taking office in 2005. He became the National Party's Senate leader in 2008. At the 2013 election, he transferred to the House of Representatives, winning the rural seat of New England in New South Wales.

During 2013, Joyce replaced Nigel Scullion as deputy leader of the National Party. He succeeded Warren Truss as party leader and deputy prime minister in 2016. In the Abbott and Turnbull Governments, Joyce served as Minister for Agriculture (2013-2015), Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources (2015-2017), Minister for Resources and Northern Australia (2017) and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport (2017-2018).

During the 2017 parliamentary eligibility crisis, Joyce was confirmed to be a dual citizen of New Zealand. On 27 October 2017, the High Court of Australia ruled that he had been ineligible to be a candidate for the House of Representatives at the time of the 2016 election. Joyce re-entered parliament in December 2017 after winning the New England by-election with a large swing against low-profile opposition. In February 2018, he resigned his ministerial and leadership roles after acknowledging that he was in a relationship and expecting a child with a former staffer. He was succeeded by Michael McCormack.

Bohnenberger (crater)

Bohnenberger is a lunar impact crater that lies near the east edge of the Mare Nectaris, in the foothills of the Montes Pyrenaeus mountain range that forms the perimeter of the mare. To the east beyond the mountains is the larger crater Colombo. The crater has a low rim along the north wall, and the floor is somewhat irregular with a ridge crossing the floor. There is a small crater along the western inner wall.

The name of the crater was approved by the IAU in 1935 and refers to German astronomer Johann von Bohnenberger.

David Emerson

David Lee Emerson, (born September 17, 1945) is a Canadian politician, financial executive, and economist

Emerson is a former Member of Parliament for the riding of Vancouver Kingsway. He was first elected as a Liberal and served as Minister of Industry under Prime Minister Paul Martin. After controversially crossing the floor to join Stephen Harper's Conservatives, he served as Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics, followed by Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Holman ministry (1916–20)

The Holman ministry (1916 – 1920) or Second Holman ministry or Holman Nationalist ministry was the 36th ministry of the New South Wales Government, and was led by the 19th Premier, the Honourable William Holman, MLA.

Holman was elected to the New South Wales Legislative Assembly in 1898, serving until 1920, before being elected to the Australian House of Representatives. Holman had earlier served as Deputy Leader in the ministry of James McGowen, before replacing McGowen as leader of the parliamentary Labor Party and serving as Labor Premier between 1913 and 1916.Crossing the floor to vote against a Labor Government motion that opposed conscription for World War I, Holman formed an alliance with the leader of the conservative opposition, Charles Wade. This was part of a larger split in the Labor Party between pro- and anti-conscription views. Shortly afterward, this alliance became the New South Wales chapter of the Nationalist Party of Australia, with Holman as leader.

In an unusual measure, Holman, as a Labor Premier and Leader, was suspended as a member of the Labor Party for supporting conscription. At the 1917 state election, Holman stood as a candidate for the Nationalist Party, and successfully retained his seat of Cootamundra.The ministry covers the period from 15 November 1916 until 12 April 1920 when Holman lost his seat as serving Premier and his government was defeated at the 1920 state election by Labor's John Storey.

Innisfail-Sylvan Lake

Innisfail-Sylvan Lake is a provincial electoral district in Alberta, Canada. It is one of 87 current districts mandated to return a single member to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta using the first past the post method of voting.

The district was created in the 1993 boundary redistribution from the old Innisfail electoral district that had existed since the province was created in 1905. It is located in rural central Alberta just south of the city of Red Deer. Communities include Innisfail, Sylvan Lake, Penhold, Bowden, Delburne, Elnora, Springbrook, Spruce View, Markerville and Dickson.

In recent decades the district has elected Progressive Conservative candidates with strong majorities, but in the 2012 election the district elected Wildrose Candidate Kerry Towle. After crossing the floor to the Progressive Conservatives Towle was defeated in the 2015 election by Wildrose candidate Don MacIntyre.

Laurent Desjardins

Laurent Louis "Larry" Desjardins (born March 15, 1923, in St. Boniface, Manitoba – February 7, 2012 in Winnipeg, Manitoba ) was a politician in Manitoba, Canada. He served as a member of the Manitoba legislature for most of the period from 1959 to 1988, and was a cabinet minister under New Democratic Premiers Edward Schreyer and Howard Pawley.

List of political parties in Barbados

This article lists political parties in Barbados.

Barbados has a two-party system, which means that there are two dominant political parties, with extreme difficulty for anybody to achieve electoral success under the banner of any other party. Occasionally various members of political parties in Barbados have used an option of crossing the floor.

Mädler (lunar crater)

Mädler is a lunar impact crater located on the mare that joins Sinus Asperitatis in the north to Mare Nectaris to the southeast. To the west is the prominent crater Theophilus, and Mädler lies amidst the outer rampart.

The rim of Mädler is irregular and somewhat oblong in shape. There is a low central peak that joins a ridge crossing the floor. To the east of the crater are ray markings that include a ring-shape to the northeast.

Omer St. Germain

Omer St. Germain (13 September 1877 – 11 February 1949) was a barrister, solicitor, notary, publisher and a provincial politician from Canada. He served as the first mayor of Morinville, Alberta, and became a perennial candidate in Alberta elections hold office as a member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta from 1930 to 1935 sitting with the United Farmers first and crossing the floor to the Liberals.

Party discipline

Party discipline is the ability of a parliamentary group of a political party to get its members to support the policies of their party leadership. In liberal democracies, it usually refers to the control that party leaders have over their caucus members in the legislature. Party discipline is important for all systems of government that allow parties to hold political power because it determines the degree to which the governmental infrastructure will be affected by legitimate political processes.

Breaking party discipline in parliamentary votes can result in a number of penalties such as not being promoted to a cabinet position, and losing other perks of elected office like travel. Disagreement with the party caucus may be so strong that they leave the party to join another parliamentary caucus or become an independent, which is known as crossing the floor. With party discipline, there is an unwritten rule that pressures parliamentarians to compromise their beliefs if they conflict with the decisions made by the rest of the party.In many political systems, a member of each party is officially designated or elected as a "whip", whose role it is to enforce party discipline.

Peter Temple-Morris

Peter Temple-Morris, Baron Temple-Morris (12 February 1938 – 1 May 2018) was a British politician. He was elected as the Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) for Leominster in 1974; he stood down in 2001 after changing parties. He sat in the House of Lords as a Labour peer. He died on 1 May 2018 aged 80.

Politics of Vanuatu

The politics of Vanuatu take place within the framework of a constitutional democracy. The constitution provides for a representative parliamentary system. The head of the Republic is an elected President. The Prime Minister of Vanuatu is the head of government.

Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and parliament. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.

These institutions, which date from the country's independence in 1980, exist alongside traditional systems of leadership and justice upheld by community chiefs.

Though Vanuatu is a full democracy, its political culture is different from that in most Western democracies, with strong elements of clientelism, and political debate that focuses strongly on the distribution of resources among communities rather than ideology. Governments typically comprise coalitions of numerous small parties which change regularly, with parties and MPs "crossing the floor" and Prime Ministers being ousted in motions of no confidence.

Major political issues in Vanuatu include: customary land rights, foreign investment and the sale of citizenship to foreigners, infrastructure development, recognition of West Papua, response to natural disasters and climate change, the tackling of instability and corruption, and the safeguarding of the country's cultural heritage.

Politics of the British Virgin Islands

Politics of the British Virgin Islands takes place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic dependency, whereby the Premier is the head of government, and of a multi-party system. The British Virgin Islands (officially the "Virgin Islands") are an internally self-governing overseas territory of the United Kingdom. The United Nations Committee on Decolonization includes the islands on the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories. The Constitution of the Islands was introduced in 1971 and amended in 1979, 1982, 1991, 1994, 2000 and 2007. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the House of Assembly. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. Military defence is the responsibility of the United Kingdom.

A new constitution was made in 2007 (the Virgin Islands Constitution Order 2007) and came into force after the Legislative Council (the former name of the House of Assembly) was dissolved for the 2007 general election.

Reg Wright

Sir Reginald Charles Wright (10 July 1905 – 10 March 1990) was an Australian barrister and politician. A member of the Liberal Party, Wright served as a Senator for Tasmania from 1950 to 1978.

Roland Kun

Roland Tullen Kun (born May 6, 1970) is a Nauruan politician and Member of Parliament.

Sandra Jansen

Sandra Jansen (born c. 1963) is a Canadian politician who is an elected member to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta representing the electoral district of Calgary-North West.

Scott Brison

Scott A. Brison (born May 10, 1967) was a Canadian politician from Nova Scotia. Brison served as the Member of Parliament (MP) for the riding of Kings-Hants from the 1997 federal election until July 2000, then from November 2000 to February 2019. Brison was originally elected as a Progressive Conservative but crossed the floor to join the Liberal Party in 2003. He served as the Minister of Public Works and Government Services from 2004 until 2006 in the Paul Martin government. He was President of the Treasury Board of Canada in Justin Trudeau's ministry until January 2019.

In Opposition, Brison has served as the Liberal Party's Finance Critic. In 2005, he was named by the World Economic Forum (WEF) of Davos, Switzerland, as one of its "Young Global Leaders".Brison announced on January 10, 2019, that he would not be standing in the 2019 federal election and was accordingly resigning from cabinet. On February 6, 2019, he announced he was resigning his seat in the Canadian House of Commons effective February 10, 2019. Brison now is the Bank of Montreal's vice-chair of investment and corporate banking.

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