I’m hugely grateful to the 166 MPs from all Parties (see link below) who backed my amendments for real Recall. But it is nevertheless depressing that a majority voted for an alternative Recall system that betrays a frightening contempt for voters, and is so restrictive as to be meaningless. MPs were asked to trust their voters to hold them to account, and tragically a majority chose not to.
The effect is that we are likely to have a Recall law that would throw out independent MPs like Caroline Lucas and George Galloway for engaging in peaceful protest, while sparing the likes of David Laws, who engaged in a grotesque abuse of expenses. It would even protect MPs who refuse to turn up to parliament, meet constituents, or keep to key promises.
I must say I find it extraordinary that the new Lib Dem candidate in my own constituency has gone on the record opposing genuine Recall. If he is unwilling to trust voters, I wonder why on earth he thinks they should ever trust him
The Bill still faces another round of amendments at Report stage, and although in all honesty I do not believe Parliament is yet willing to back meaningful reform, anything is possible. If what eventually emerges at the next stage genuinely puts voters in charge, and not Parliamentary committees and ‘election courts’ – bound by the narrowest of criteria – then I will back the Bill.
Here’s a link to the transcript of yesterday’s debate, where I made the case for meaningful reform: LINK
And here is a link to my speech at Second Reading, where I critiqued the Government Bill and proposed a meaningful alternative: LINK