Recall of MPs


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 ┬ádebate 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┬áthis ┬áfirst 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 ┬áfollowing a ┬áconfidence 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.


  1. Antisthenes
    October 21, 2014

    Democracy would be far better enhanced by Zac Goldsmiths amendment being eventually incorporated. However sadly if it is I suspect it will be very open to abuse by vested interests notably by those with left leaning views are they often prove themselves to be the most vocal and manipulative. So in the end it will not serve the purpose for that which it is intended, regrettably.

  2. Horatio McSherry
    October 21, 2014


    Where do you think the balance sits with regards to MPs having a confidence vote for an MP before a public ballot (which will just about always result in favour of the scrutinised MP and therefore no public ballot) and a purely public recall system which could/will be influenced by opposing parties and their vested-interest supporters?

    I’m more towards to purely public ballot if enough signatures are gained, but I do realise how open to abuse it would be.

    Reply Both systems have their drawbacks. I incline to systems which trust voters more than other Parliamentarians, but wish to see how the detail of Mr Goldsmith’s amendments work and whether anything better emerges during the committee stages. A system which rests on other MPs deciding how long to suspend an MP for misconduct could be open to political manipulation.

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