A number of constituents have sent me a copy of an email arguing in favour of the Zac Goldsmith amendments to the Recall Bill.
Today we have a Second Reading debate of the government bill, drafted under the supervision of Nick Clegg. I think the present draft needs amending. Today, however, I will vote for the Bill as without a second reading there will be no bill to amend. The amendments will be considered later if the Bill passes this first hurdle. I do support the general proposition that if enough constituents think an MP’s conduct has been unacceptable there can be a by election, maybe following a confidence vote in the MP.
When the House comes to consider the amendments on report stage I will study carefully which amendments will give the best answer. I do think the recall mechanism should be more about what voters think and less about what a committee of MPs think about the conduct of a sitting MP and will wish to support amendments with that in mind.
It is too early to say whether the Goldsmith amendments will be the best we can do. The government itself might produce amendments given the public reaction to the Clegg draft. Other MPs may come forward with a better version. It will also depend on which amendments are debated by the full House, and the arithmetic on the divisions.