Right of recall: we already have a capable independent body, uniquely qualified to pass judgment on MPs

In a mature and functioning democracy, constituents should be able to hold their MP to account at all times, not just at the election.

If events cause a majority of constituents to lose confidence in their MP, they should have the right to remove that MP. It is a right that shouldn’t be limited to issues of expenses. It should simply be a matter of confidence.

zac recall

 MP Zac Goldsmith continues (and may be heard on video):

“Readers will know that this is precisely what all the mainstream parties promised before the election, when the expenses scandal really took hold.

“But when it came to delivering the promised Recall system, the job was given to Nick Clegg, and it became clear early on that his “biggest shake-up of our democracy in 178 years” wasn’t going to involve giving people more of it.

“Instead, he wants to empower a Parliamentary Committee to decide if an MP qualifies for Recall — as it happens, the very same Parliamentary Committee that ruled this week on Maria Miller’s expenses. What’s more, Clegg’s criteria are so narrow that even if an MP were to take a 5-year holiday, they wouldn’t qualify for Recall.

“What seems to have slipped the net in recent debates is the fact that we already have an independent body, capable and uniquely qualified to pass judgment on MPs. It’s called the electorate. The only difficulty, for now, is that they don’t have the powers to do so”.

“In a mature and functioning democracy, constituents should be able to hold their MP to account at all times, and not just at the election.

“I have made the point to Nick Clegg many times, and his answer is always the same – we don’t want ‘kangaroo courts’. But when you consider that Recall simply involves empowering constituents to hold their MP to account, it is an extraordinarily offensive thing to say. It also reveals an intense fear of the electorate.

“It’s an unjustified fear, as evidenced all around the world where Recall exists and where voters display a reassuring immunity to vexatious campaigns. I have argued about Recall with a handful of MPs who disapprove of my stance on the issue. Two of them recently altered their views when they became embroiled in, as it happens, unfair controversies of their own. They realised their constituents are far more inclined to hear the arguments and consider the facts than anyone in the press or on social media”.

There must be a build up of pressure on the political establishment to honour its early promise, to trust the people, and to adapt our democracy to the modern age. Please sign here if you support Recall. 

HMG petition recall

The petition is open for signatures until 5.11.14




Posted on April 13, 2014, in Democracy undermined, Government, MPs, Parliamentary failure and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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