Political

Parliamentary by-election coming in Reading West?

The Guardian reports:

Alok Sharma, the UK cabinet minister who led last year’s COP26 climate summit, is in the running to be the UN’s global climate chief, at a crucial time for international action on greenhouse gas emissions.

The UN’s current top climate official, Patricia Espinosa, will step down next month, leaving a vacancy as the world prepares for the next stage in vital negotiations to stave off climate breakdown…

Sharma will face stiff competition, as some developing countries would prefer a candidate from the Global South. There is an unspoken understanding that top UN roles should be shared among rich and poor countries.

There is usually more speculation about MPs possibly taking up new roles and leaving Parliament than actually happens. However, a divided government with a large majority is the perfect combination for such departures – a divided government means MPs are more likely to be looking to get on to their next career and a large majority means claims on party loyalty to avoid a tricky by-election have less impact:

Reading, by the way, was home to an important campaign innovation in British politics. When it was one marginal constituency, Reading, and represented by Labour MP Ian Mikardo, he invented ‘Mikardo pads’. These were pads of carbon paper used by tellers for recording polling numbers at polling stations. The idea was copied by the Conservatives, who initially called them Reading Pads, and then also by the Liberals, who named them after the printer that produced them for the party – Shuttleworth Printers Ltd. Although such pads are no longer used, the name Shuttleworth lives on as in the party’s Connect system as the name for the filter that selects the right people to knock up on polling day.

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