I support a right to recall MPs

Quite a lot of people have emailed me recently about proposed legislation on the recall of MPs.

Labour supports recall; it was in our 2010 General Election manifesto. So I welcome the Government’s commitment to bring forward a Bill, even though it is late in the day.

I believe a right to recall where an MP has been involved in serious misconduct would provide greater accountability and further empower constituents. I also think it could increase public engagement in politics and help to restore public trust.

We are now awaiting the details of the Government’s Bill. The new legislation, when published, will be scrutinised in great detail, but I am not in favour of a rerun of Nick Clegg’s draft Bill which was hopelessly inadequate and proposed nothing more than enhancing the House of Commons’ internal disciplinary procedures, leaving the recall process in the hands of MPs. There is a real risk that such a system would be seen as the political establishment closing ranks and could lose the confidence of the public.

In addition, 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, simply because they dislike the way a politician has voted on controversial issues.

Recall could play an important role in giving people a bigger say if we get the detail right. I will be studying the Government’s plans closely as and when they are published.

Thanks to those who have written to me and shared their views.