During the Queen’s Speech on 4th June it was announced that legislation will be introduced to allow MPs to be recalled if they are involved in serious misconduct. The previous Labour Government had plans to introduce a right of recall and there was broad cross-party support for this at the last General Election. A commitment has now been made to bring forward a Bill in this session of Parliament.
I strongly support this principle as I believe it would provide greater accountability and further empower constituents. The right of recall could also increase public engagement in politics and help to restore much-needed public trust in Members of Parliament.
The new legislation, when published, will be scrutinised in great detail, but I am not in favour of a rerun of the Government’s failed draft Bill from last year which was inadequate and proposed nothing more than enhancing the House of Commons’ internal disciplinary procedures. MPs should not police MPs, it is a recipe for disaster and will do nothing to restore the respect of Parliament. There is a real risk that such a system will be seen as the political establishment closing ranks and could lose the confidence of the public. Any system of recall has to be designed in such a way that will avoid powerful vested interests from taking action against MPs where no wrongdoing has happened, but they simply dislike the way a politician has voted on controversial issues.
I believe that recall could play an important role in giving people a bigger say if we get the detail right. That is why I will be closely studying the Government’s plans as and when they are published.
I will, as always, keep those constituents who are interested updated and seek views in due course.