Two rival Recall Bills now in the running

As the BBC reports:

New laws to allow voters to “recall” their MP and force a by-election have been published by the government.

Under the plan, an MP could be recalled if they are convicted of an offence and get a sentence of 12 months or less.

An MP could also be recalled if House of Commons authorities suspend them for at least 21 sitting days.

If one of these conditions is met, and 10% of voters in the MP’s constituency sign a recall petition, the seat will become vacant and a by-election held.


A rival plan has been introduced to Parliament by the Conservative backbencher Zac Goldsmith, which does not require an MP to be proven to have broken any rules.

Under his private member’s bill, an MP could be recalled if 5% of voters in a constituency sign a “notice of intent to recall” and 20% of voters then sign a “recall petition”.

The problem with Zac Goldsmith’s approach is that it allows a small minority of voters to force at least temporarily out of office an MP simply because they don’t like them. Imagine what Labour supporters could be doing year in year out to Conservative MPs at the moment, for example, needing no more reason than ‘they’re Tories, I don’t like them’.

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