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"Real" Recall

There is a debate going on about whether the Recall Bill is "Real" or not.

As usual there is a lot of confusion about what alternatives are proposed.

Zac Goldsmith put forward proposals for a different system.  The government proposal is triggered by one of two options either a criminal conviction or a decision by the Standards Committee.  Zac Goldsmith's is triggered by 5% of constituents signing a petition.  The government proposal then looks for a petition signed by 10% of constituents whereas Zac Goldsmith's then goes to a petition signed by 20% of constituents.

The first point is that the government's proposal happens to be what is in the manfesto.  Although I rebel on some issues they are generally not issues which were in the manifesto.  I am making it clear to my constituents that I take a different view to the party on some issues (such as the EU referendum) hence I am not going to be bound by what it says in the manifesto on that.

The second point is that the Goldsmith proposal has a trigger of just getting 4,000 signatures (actually 5% which is around 4,000 signatures).  Although Zac's proposals would make it difficult to recall an MP as there are second and third stages, the first stage is really easy. For example his father James Goldsmith could have paid for canvassers to collect the 4,000 signatures.  There are no seats I am aware of where there are not 4,000 people who oppose the sitting MP.  Hence it makes it very easy to start the process.  Imagine the situation if Winston Churchill had faced a recall petition whilst negotiating the end of the Second World War.  It would have damaged the country's credibility at a key time.

Thirdly, there is a problem with the current bill in that it does not have  an independent step for initiation.  The Lib Dems are working on  proposals to change the bill to enable the first step not to involved MPs at all, but
instead a judicial decision about Misconduct in Public Office.  This may be brought in in the House of Lords.



Comments

Sailesh Patel said…
So you would have supported Zac Goldsmith's amendments if the threshold for the inital stage was higher?

If that was the case, why didn't you vote for the amendments, then get the threshold higher at committee stage?

I'm quite cynical about the intentions behind you not voting for the bill.
John Hemming said…
Firstly, I should stick to the manifesto. Secondly, the manifesto is right in requiring a threshold other than some people not being happy with their MP.

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