As published in The Daily Telegraph:
Recall system for MPs;Five years after the Telegraph revealed the MPs’ expenses scandal, 16 MPs call for a genuine recall system.
SIR – The expenses scandal brought the public’s trust in politicians to an all-time low. Anxious to address the problem, the mainstream parties all promised to back the introduction of a recall system to allow constituents to hold their MPs to account in between elections. It was a promise that resonated with the public.
We are pleased that the Government has indicated that it intends to bring forward a Recall Bill in the Queen’s Speech, but we strongly believe that the version of recall it currently proposes falls far short of public expectations. For instance, instead of handing recall powers to voters, it will hand that power to a committee of MPs.
In addition, the criteria would be so narrow as to exclude all but the most serious financial offences. Such a system would not only not empower voters, it would expand the gulf between them and their representatives.
If our political leaders are serious about improving the relationship between people and power, we need a genuine system of recall, where voters are able to remove under-performing MPs. There should be no middlemen, no requirement to secure the permission of parliamentary committees.
If enough voters sign a petition, they should earn the right to hold a referendum on whether or not to remove their MP.
If the threshold is set at the right level, decent MPs would have nothing to fear. A genuine recall system would boost accountability, empower voters and help settle the strained relationship between people and their politicians. It’s time for parties to honour their promise in full.
Steve Baker MP (Con) Guto Bebb MP (Con) Douglas Carswell MP (Con) David Davis MP (Con) Nick de Bois MP (Con) Nadine Dorries MP (Con) Jim Fitzpatrick MP (Lab) Zac Goldsmith MP (Con) Robert Halfon MP (Con) Gordon Henderson MP (Con) Kate Hoey MP (Lab) Julian Huppert MP (Lib Dem) Caroline Lucas MP (Green) Dominic Raab MP (Con) Mark Reckless MP (Con) Rory Stewart MP (Con)