A Manitoba law that forbids provincial politicians from switching parties by crossing the legislature floor remains alive, at least for the immediate future.

Independent MLA Steven Fletcher had asked a judge to rule that the law is unconstitutional and a violation of freedom of expression and association.

But Court of Queen's Bench Justice David Kroft said the matter deserves a full hearing.

A court date is to be set in the coming months.

Fletcher was kicked out of the governing Progressive Conservative caucus in June after he criticized a plan for a new Crown corporation on energy efficiency.

A provincial law passed in 2006 forbids him from joining another party and requires him to sit as an Independent until the next election.

The Manitoba government has said it will eliminate that provision through a bill in the legislature sometime this fall, but it is not prepared to concede that the law is unconstitutional.