British people are divided when it comes to being given the ability to sack underperforming MPs, according to a YouGov poll.
Sixty-eight per cent said they were behind the idea, but an equal split was evident – with 43% each side – on whether it should be MPs or voters who trigger a recall decision.
The recall of MPs bill was announced in the Queen’s speech on Wednesday, but many have argued it is a watered down version of the originally proposed legislation.
The initial suggestions were that voters who were dissatisfied with their elected MP could trigger a by-election if 10% of constituents signed a petition demanding so.
The government has reacted by proposing that ultimate power should be given instead to a committee of MPs who would then decide if the MP in question had committed a serious enough offence to trigger a by-election.
This has led to a series of protests from both MPs and campaigners, who believe the public is being duped. Sixteen members of parliament, including Caroline Lucas of the Green party and Zac Goldsmith and David Davis of the Conservatives, recently called for the recall bill to reflect the original proposals – giving absolute power to voters.
In a recent survey by Blue & Green Tomorrow and Vote for Policies, conducted for the Guide to Sustainable Democracy, 93% of 6,999 respondents said recall for constituencies would improve the UK’s democracy. Only 2% said it would worsen it.
Talking to Blue & Green Tomorrow earlier this month, Goldsmith – who has led the campaign for recall – described the need for it as paramount in improving democracy in the UK. He said, “If people feel like they’re in control, they’re much less likely just to boycott elections and pull away.
“Parliament is up for reform. The problem is all three parties are deeply hostile to this, because if you’re in power, direct democracy of any sort becomes a nuisance. There’s this inherent fear of democracy, and I confront that almost every day.”
Photo: shining.darkness via flickr