Campaigners want a recall bill which would empower constituents to fire their MP between elections

Comment: It’s time for a real recall bill

Comment: It’s time for a real recall bill

By Becky Jarvis

  • "It won't work in practice"
  • "It needs to have enough checks and balances"
  • "MPs would never support it"
  • "MPs are the ones who should decide when another MP should face recall"

These are the arguments I've heard against genuine recall, where voters are in charge of sacking MPs who have lost the confidence of their constituents. So, what have 38 Degrees members done to combat these claims?

Together, we're proving that the arguments against genuine recall don't stack up. Thousands of 38 Degrees members have donated money to 'crowdfund' a legal team to work with MPs to produce an alternative bill. It's a serious piece of draft legislation – which over 30,000 members of 38 Degrees have fed into, ensuring the alternative law represents all of us.

While the government's plans will only allow a committee of politicians to recall an MP, our alternative bill gives constituents the power to sack their MPs. 38 Degrees members are clear that this must be the case; 94% of them agreed that it should be voters who have that power. And 82% agreed that constituents should be able to recall an MP in circumstances that they voters choose.

And now a committee of 21 MPs from seven political parties has been assembled by Zac Goldsmith MP to scrutinise the draft law. It will be chaired by former shadow home secretary David Davis MP. It includes the former chief whip, Andrew Mitchell, former health minister Paul Burstow MP and Labour MP Katy Clark.

The committee is meeting next week to scrutinise the law line-by-line. It aims to be a purposeful discussion – it won't have the pomp and circumstance of a normal House of Commons committee. And @38_Degrees will be live tweeted – allowing *normal people* to feed in and ask questions.

Once the committee are confident with it, 38 Degrees members will then decide if they're happy. We will then present it to the leaders of all political parties in the House with a recommendation that they use this as the basis for legislation promised.

As David Davis MP says: "Genuine recall is critical to build the reputation and credibility of parliament. And so it is appropriate that we create a recall law that is produced with the public and MPs working alongside each other."

The thing is, genuine recall has never been more needed: if we're serious about fixing broken politics, we need real reform, not a stitch up that will make voters feel duped. Real recall – the right to sack your MP – is one important step forward to improve on this.

If we're going to build the trust people have in our political system, we have to ensure that these powers lie with voters, not a committee of MPs. What's really exciting about this campaign is we're proving that even if party leaders have no appetite for real reform, citizens and parliament do. And what's more, we're working together to try and ensure it happens.

Becky Jarvis is the recall campaign manager at 38 Degrees

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