Recall

Thank you for contacting me about the recall of MPs. 

As a member of the Government I do not, by convention, sign any Early Day Motions as doing so is likely to breach the Ministerial Code’s rules on collective responsibility.

However, we will introduce a power of recall where an MP is found to have engaged in serious wrongdoing. This was a clear commitment in the Coalition’s Programme for Government and I am glad we are seeking to bring in a recall mechanism which is transparent, robust and fair.

As with any complex constitutional reform, it was important to take the time to get the detail right and I welcome the inclusion of the proposals in the recent Queen’s Speech. This is part of the Coalition’s wide ranging reform agenda to restore trust in politics and ensure politicians are accountable to the people they serve.

Under the proposals, a recall mechanism would be triggered, and constituents would be given the chance to sign a petition to call for a by-election, where:

• an MP is convicted in the UK of an offence and receives a custodial sentence of 12 months or less (for more than 12 months an MP is automatically expelled); or

• the House of Commons resolves that an MP should face a recall petition for serious wrongdoing.

It is important to strike the right balance between holding MPs to account and ensuring that Members are not left vulnerable to attack from those who simply dislike them or want to rerun an election they were not happy with.

I believe our proposed recall mechanism is a reasonable way of achieving this difficult balance. Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.