Tuesday, 21 October 2014

"The Parliamentary Expulsion Bill"

This is how David Davis MP (Con, Haltemprice and Howden) described the Recall Of MPs Bill (pdf here) as presented to the House of Commons. He sees it as a mechanism for the establishment, via the Standards Committee, to identify members who did not fit in and subject them to recall via a mere 10% of their electorate. ( Lay members are outnumbered ten to three by MPs on the House of Commons Standards Committee.)  Mr Davis is supporting amendments by his party colleague Zac Goldsmith.

Goldsmith himself pointed out that "Recall is not a new or radical idea. It exists in various forms in about 30 countries on five continents, including Poland, Canada, Germany, Japan, India, South Korea, Costa Rica, Taiwan, Mexico, Argentina, Peru and Ecuador. It has existed in the US for more than 100 years, and in Switzerland for even longer. It is a good idea - it works - and it is great that the mainstream parties have finally accepted it."

Liberal Democrat Mike Thornton agreed that the Bill was imperfect because if it goes through unamended, the public will see that we are deciding who should be kicked out and who should not. The public must have a way of initiating a recall. However, he felt that Goldsmith's amendments would open the process to political abuse, and were so horrendously long-winded and complicated that the chances of succeeding in getting anyone recalled if they deserved it would be minimal. The process could be dragged out for two years. He was looking for a decent amendment that would give the public a way of initiating a recall.

Tom Brake, the LibDem deputy leader of the House, in summing up for the government confirmed that both the prime minister and Nick Clegg agreed that the Bill could be improved and that they are willing to listen to proposals, while rejecting the particular amendments proposed by Goldsmith.

If you want to make your views known to your MP, have a look at the Unlock Democracy pages.

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