One of the more interesting pieces of proposed legislation proposed due to the ever ongoing expenses scandal of MP’s ripping off the taxpayer was the ‘recall’ proposal, whereby an MP could if a significant majority of voters in their constituency petitioned parliament, be subjected to a by-election. My suspicions at the time were that this would probably never see the light of day, MP’s being notorious for looking after their own.
David Cameron and Nick Clegg are preparing yet another Coalition U-turn by dropping plans to let voters sack misbehaving MPs, it was claimed last night.
They were accused of being ready to read the last rites over a radical move to give the public the power to force byelections to oust errant MPs.
But Tory MP Zac Goldsmith, a passionate believer in the ‘power of recall’ proposal, warned the Coalition of dire consequences if the pledge was scrapped.
He told The Mail on Sunday: ‘This was a key promise after the endless scandals around expenses. It is also the one promised reform that will directly empower people and keep politicians on their toes. If it is dropped now, voters will rightly wonder if they can believe anything they are promised by political parties.’
Well I have news for Mr. Goldsmith, the public don’t have a particularly high opinion of politicians anyway and as for believing them, the old joke about lying and seeing their lips moving springs to mind.
Such proposals restricting politicians are inevitably made by opposition parties and they are shelved once they are back in power, as most MP’s have little desire to actually have their powers restricted. So, it seems likely that unless an MP actually faces criminal charges and is ‘sacked’ from parliament we’ll have no way to get rid of them if they are a bunch of charlatans lining their own nests, a case of business as usual.
Sooner or later though they’ll go too far and change will come, the harder they resist it, the more likely it will be violently imposed. This was an opportunity for them to place the political equivalent of a pressure relief valve in the system. It was unlikely to ever be used, though the very thought of it probably scared them, which is why Cameron and Clegg will allow it to drop. After all, one day it might just have been used against them…