Zac Goldsmith: Recall Bill in Queen's Speech is Coalition 'stitch-up'

2:12pm Wednesday 4th June 2014

By Amy Dyduch

Zac Goldsmith has branded as a “stitch up” and “dumb, stubborn politics at its worst”, the Government’s Recall Bill announced in today’s Queen’s Speech.

The MP for Richmond Park, who has been lobbying the Government to introduce a Recall Bill, said the new policy announced today did not go far enough in giving power to voters.

The Conservative MP said: “It’s good that we will be legislating for recall, but the proposed bill is a stitch up.

“It gives recall power to a committee of MPs, not voters and the criteria are so narrow as to make it meaningless.

“At the very first political scandal, voters will learn they have been duped, and will be enraged.

“At a time where the anti-politics vote has never been higher, this is dumb, stubborn politics at its worst.”

The Government said the measures would be “transparent, robust and fair” but would not lead to MPs facing “frequent and unnecessary distractions”.

Under the current law, MPs are only ejected from Parliament if they are imprisoned for more than one year, while less serious wrongdoing is punished by temporary suspension.

The new power of recall will be triggered if MPs are given jail sentences of less than 12 months or if the House of Commons rules they have engaged in serious wrongdoing.

Voters can then force a by-election if they collect the signatures of 10 per cent of the MP’s constituents.

The need for the new rule was sparked in 2009 in the wake of the MPs expenses scandal and will be introduced after the summer recess.

At the same time it was good news for the environment when it was announced plastic bags would carry a 5p tax from October next year.

Plastic bag usage in England from 2010 to 2012 increased by 12 per cent, compared with an 80 per cent decrease in Wales, where there is a charge.

Mr Goldsmith and children from Teddington Primary School presented David Cameron with a giant bird made from plastic bags in September last year to push for the new rule.

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