Parties to be constitutionally protected

(To borrow again from German Basic Law) 

Proposition: That political parties are essential to the functioning of a healthy democracy, and that they are recognised and protected as such. This includes recognition for practices such as whipping* (requiring representatives to vote along the party line) necessary for their effective functioning. For the purposes of the Constitution, for a party to have that specific constitutional protection it shall have to meet criteria including minimum membership and having a democratic internal party structure. 

* a note on whipping: I believe that for a party to provide effective government or opposition  then it has to be able to maintain internal discipline. As such, whipping is an important feature and should be maintained, and internal party sanction for voting contrary to the whip should be permissable. On the other hand, an MP should first and foremost act in his/her best judgement, and therefore there must be no parliamentary sanction for breaking the whip. There may be a need to formalise this dichotomy and restrict party sanction. 

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