System to sack MPs worked on

Promises to allow people to sack their MP in between elections have been watered down by the government but there is a strong cross-party push to introduce a power of recall for constituents.

I have joined with MPs from many parties to push the need for a system that does not require approval by a parliamentary or other committee because it smacks too much of an old boys’ or indeed old girls’ network.

The initiative urges a system where voters themselves can recall their elected representatives if a majority has lost confidence in them, for whatever reason, and if enough voters sign a petition to trigger a recall vote, in order to rebuild trust between people and power.

An independent minded Tory MP, Zak Goldsmith, is one of the leaders of the move. It starts by recognising that the government’s version of recall is very limited. It says that recall can only start if an MP goes to jail or is expelled from the Commons for 21 days.

But the criteria are so narrowly drawn to be token and make it highly unlikely any MP could be recalled.

A real recall mechanism has been worked on in committee and came to the Commons for its second reading this week.

Many have lost faith and feel that politics is distant when, in reality, it should shape the difficult decisions we face as a country.

A proper recall mechanism is just one way of increasing respect and trust.