I have been contacted by many constituents regarding the recall Bill.
The Liberal Democrat, Conservative and Labour manifestos and the Coalition Agreement all proposed recall for or MPs guilty of misconduct.
As Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg has said, the current Bill is not satisfactory because it involves MPs ‘marking their own homework’.
Zac Goldsmith’s proposals, however, are not a solution, they are a ‘rich man’s recall which would “be a bonanza for wealthy interests, who could – on purely party political or sectional grounds – attempt time and again to dispatch MPs from their seats” merely for taking principled positions on controversial issues (e.g. gay marriage or abortion). In addition, Goldsmith’s proposals would actually make it more difficult for MPs who have done something wrong to be recalled.
Liberal Democrat backbenchers Julian Huppert MP and David Heath MP are leading the way on trying to find a practical solution to “make sure to cover all serious misconduct, and avoid the idea of MP’s judging themselves, so the public have the power.”
They have tabled amendments (with the support of MPs from both the Conservative and Labour Parties) to “add a third trigger for a recall, so the public can bypass criminal conviction or a committee of MPs, and go straight to a completely independent third party – such as an election court – in order to begin recall in cases of real misconduct.”
The Liberal Democrats (and MPs from across the House) believe that this is ‘real recall – people-led and politician-free.