Zac Goldsmith assembles cross-party group of MPs to finalise a genuine Recall Bill that puts voters in charge of sacking MPs who have lost the confidence of their constituents
The government’s recall plans puts the power in the hands of a committee of MPs instead of their voters.
The draft Bill has been written by a lawyer paid for by thousands of members of campaign group 38 Degrees members.
On the 7th July, a cross-party group of MPs met in Parliament to finalise a genuine Recall Bill that would give voters the power to remove MPs if they lose the confidence of a majority of their voters.
The committee of 22 MPs from seven political parties was assembled by Zac Goldsmith, and chaired by Former Shadow Home Secretary David Davis MP. It includes the former Chief Whip, Andrew Mitchell, ex Health Minister Paul Burstow MP and former Labour Minister MP Kate Hoey.
The MPs met for three hours to finalise their draft alternative Recall Bill in which the public can have confidence.
Opposition to the Government’s proposed recall legislation has been growing, with numerous campaign groups and MPs from all parties saying it falls dramatically short of voter expectations. More than 70 MPs from all parties signed a Recall Motion tabled by Zac Goldsmith and Douglas Carswell calling for a genuine Recall system.
Under the Government’s version of Recall, an MP could only be recalled if a Committee of MPs agreed to it. Additionally, the criteria are so narrow as to render it highly unlikely any MP could be recalled.
The alternative Recall Bill gives constituents the power to sack their MP. It has been shaped by nearly 40,000 members of the public who have responded to a detailed survey issued by 38 Degrees.
Speaking about the success of the meeting, Zac Goldsmith MP said “Recall is supposed to be about empowering voters to hold their MPs to account, and the Government’s proposals fall scandalously short. They don’t empower voters in any meaningful sense at all, and at the very first scandal, they will realise they have been duped. This highly successful cross-party Committee demonstrated that even if Party leaders have no appetite for reform, parliament does, and I very much hope our Bill will make its way into law.”
David Davis MP said: “”Genuine recall is critical to build the reputation and credibility of parliament. And so it is appropriate that we create a recall law that is produced with the public and MPs working alongside each other. Once the committee is confident that they are happy with the Bill we will present it to the leaders of all political parties in the House with a recommendation that they use this as the basis for legislation promised in this year’s Queen’s speech.”
Becky Jarvis of 38 Degrees said “Politics is broken. Real recall – the right to sack your MP – is one important step forward to improve on this. If we’re serious about building the trust people have in our political system, we have to ensure that these powers lie with voters, not a committee of MPs. Which is why tens of thousands of 38 Degrees members have come together to work with MPs from all parties, to make sure we get real reform.”
- The draft Bill and explanation can be found here: https://s3.amazonaws.com/38degrees.3cdn.net/256bfbc03377ddb5a2_whm6ivd8h.pdf
- The Early Day Motion on Recall can be found here: http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2014-15/25
- The Committee, the Backbench Initiative on the Parliamentary Recall Bill, includes the following MPs:
David Davis (Conservative)
Zac Goldsmith (Conservative)
Douglas Carswell (Conservative)
Anne Marie Morris (Conservative)
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
Caroline Nokes (Conservative)
Andrew Mitchell (Conservative)
Robert Buckland (Conservative)
Nick de Bois (Conservative)
Tracey Crouch (Conservative)
Frank Field (Labour)
Yasmin Qureshi (Labour)
Katy Clark (Labour)
Jim Fitzpatrick (Labour)
Kate Hoey (Labour)
Julian Huppert (Lib Dem)
Paul Burstow (Lib Dem)
Jonathan Edwards (Plaid Cymru)
Caroline Lucas (Green)
Mark Durkan (SDLP
Angus MacNeil (SNP)
Roger Williams (Lib Dem)
- The consultation, which over 30,000 members of 38 Degrees responded to can be read here: http://blog.38degrees.org.uk/2014/07/01/recall-member-consultation-results/<http://blog.38degrees.org.uk/2014/07/01/recall-member-consultation-results/>
Summary of results:
The alternative Recall Bill puts voters in charge of deciding whether to recall an MP rather than a committee of MPs (which is what the government’s proposing). Does this sound right?
Don’t know: 1%
The alternative Recall Bill says that if voters lose confidence in MPs, we should be able to recall him/ her in any circumstances. Does this sound right?
No – it should only be when an MP breaks the law: 11%
No, it should only be if an MP is guilty of financial misconduct: 3%
I don’t know: 4%
The alternative Recall Bill says that if an MP is going through legal proceedings, the recall process should be paused until they have been found innocent or guilty. Does this sound right?
Don’t know: 1%
The alternative Recall Bill says that 20% of constituents are in favour of recalling their MP, a referendum of the whole constituency should be triggered. Does this sound right?
No, it should be a higher percentage: 28%
No, it should be a lower percentage: 5%
I don’t know: 3%
The alternative Recall Bill says that central government should pay for the recall process. Does this sound right?
Don’t know: 4%
The alternative Recall Bill says that constituents should be able to sign the first stage of the recall process (which would trigger the actual recall petition) online and in person. Does this sound right?
Don’t know: 2%
The alternative Recall Bill says that constituents should only be able to sign the second stage of the recall process (the actual recall petition) in person. Does this sound right?
Don’t know: 10%
The alternative Recall Bill sets limits on how much money can be spent on the campaigns during the recall process. Does this sound right?
Don’t know: 5%
The alternative Recall Bill doesn’t have any limits for how many times an MP can be subject to a recall process per parliament. Does this sound right?
Don’t know: 4%
- Recall was promised by all three parties before the last General Election, and the Government announced in this year’s Queen’s Speech that a Recall Bill would be brought forward in this Parliamentary session. However the Government’s proposed Bill has been slammed by groups, like 38 Degrees, Unlock Democracy and the Taxpayers’ Alliance which has said that it represents a step backwards, not forwards. Under the Government’s version of Recall, an MP could only be recalled if a Committee of MPs agreed to it. Additionally, the criteria are so narrow as to render it highly unlikely any MP could be recalled.