Recall and citizens’ initiatives – 1/5

Shortly before the last General Election, the TaxPayers’ Alliance produced a manifesto. Here is the latest in our series of posts looking at how the Coalition Government has performed in relation to our recommendations.

The full TaxPayers' Alliance manifesto can be found hereClick here to see the full series of posts.

In 2010 we said:

“If the public don’t like their MP they should be able to get rid of them. And a sufficient number of people signing an online petition should be able to trigger a referendum.”

We said that because real recall is essential if we are to restore trust in our political system. It was in the Coalition Agreement, but the eventual result amounted to nothing more than a fudge. We urged the Government to take on Zac Goldsmith MP’s proposals in their entirety.

The current Bill in Parliament will have a parliamentary committee ruling on an MP’s behaviour before voters can start gathering the signatures needed to trigger a recall ballot. But it’s constituents that should have that say, not another group of MPs. You cannot deliver true recall if parliamentarians decide if their colleague should go back and face their electorate.

Fears of constant Recall elections are not supported by evidence from elsewhere in the world where recall is on offer, but used sparingly.

Last year our Campaign Director Andy Silvester said:

“Despite how it things can seem from a glance at Twitter, the vast majority of Britain’s voters are mature participants in a stable democracy – a democracy that would be even stronger if more of its power was returned to the public.”

How true.

The Government has put in place a mechanism to put forward a motion for Parliamentary debate any petition which reaches over 100,000 signatures on the e-petition website. That showed some progress, which is why we’ve awarded 1 out of 5.