Over recent weeks we have seen a number of new reports featuring a range of current MPs speaking out in a manner that suggests that they are not fully representing their constituents. It is of course vital that our MPs are not obliged to act as delegates and need to be brave enough to take a stand where that is what their conscience tells them they should do. However that cannot be a one way street. The majority of our MPs are elected in ‘safe seats’ where it would take a major change for the incumbent party to lose its toe hold. This means that the MP is in reality accountable to their constituency party grouping who have the power to select or de-select them. However even the local party’s don’t possess the power to call a by-election if they believe their MP has acted in a manner that brings the constituency into disrepute. The MP can lose their party whip, which almost guarantees they will then lose their job at the next General Election, but there is absolutely nothing that local electors can do. All of these actions take place outside of their hands. The policy that would change that is called “The Right of Recall” or the “Right of Recall”. It is this policy that would allow a certain proportion of subscribing electors to force a local Parliamentary by-election to take place. This would be a particular challenge for MPs in safe seats where by-elections are very rare. The reason why I think we need this, and need it now is below:
Over the last 24 hours Simon Danczuk has declared that it is his electors who get to decide his future, not the Party and not the press – that is absolute nonsense unless he is prepared to call a by election or they have the power to do so.
In the release of Cabinet papers Oliver Letwin is disclosed as arguing against spending on housing and employment provision in the 1980’s that were specifically targeted at young men and women who were at the margins of society at the time. Letwins language (which he has apologised for) appears to have been racist.
In the weeks before Christmas, the MP for Witney in Oxford complained about the way his local Council were implementing cuts, demanding that public services were saved. This was followed by a strong response from the Council pointing out that they had no power to do otherwise, as a result of Government policy. The MP for Witney should have known better, he is also the Prime Minister. If I was a constituent I would want the chance to argue that he faces the electorate.
The MP in the photo above is Philip Davies MP. As the Guardian piece points out he was elected on the basis that he would stand up for Carers. However Mr Davies has spoken up in Parliament on many occasions to prevent other MPs from being able to vote on certain Bills. One of these was a Bill to allow Carers to Park on NHS car parks free of charge. It is vital that his electors have the opportunity to challenge his decisions in preventing other MPs and himself from voting on such critical issues and wasting public money in the process.