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Posts Tagged ‘Recall’

MP recall committee meeting

July 11th, 2014 by

On Monday, the MP recall committee met in parliament to scrutinise a Bill funded by small donations from thousands of 38 Degrees members.

Our Recall of MPs Bill gives people, not MPs, the power to recall their MP when enough people feel their MP isn’t doing their job properly.

Read the brief summary of the meeting here: MP recall committee brief summary

If you want to read the full meeting notes, click here: MP recall committee full meeting notes

Here’s a picture from the meeting:

Posted in 38 Degrees Blog Posts


MP Recall committee meeting video

July 10th, 2014 by

“In a democracy, you end up trusting the people”.

Those were David Davis MP’s fitting last words as he brought the MP recall committee meeting to an end on Monday.

It was a first: bringing a committee of MPs together to scrutinise a Bill funded by small donations from thousands of us. It caused a big fuss in parliament. And even made the news!

It feels like together, we’re really getting somewhere and the government is sitting up and taking notice.

The committee meeting itself was really useful. There were some differences of opinion and lots of MPs made helpful suggestions for how to improve the Bill. But most agreed with the spirit of it – that it should be voters who decide when and how MPs should be sacked for doing a bad job.

This video gives a taster of what what happened:

Throughout the meeting, the committee referred to the survey results of your views on the Bill. Everywhere in the room you could feel the presence of 38 Degrees members – and MPs felt it too!

The lawyer – paid for by 38 Degrees members – is now working on the next version of the Bill, which includes the few small changes raised by MPs in the meeting. Some are easy to implement. But there’s a really tricky bit around how to regulate how much money can be spent during the recall process. This is to ensure that it’s fair playing field and we keep big money out of it.

Last week, 38 Degrees members said that getting this part right was important – and MPs agreed. If we don’t, it will be difficult to get the support we need to get the Bill through parliament and made into law.

But this means lots more work for our lawyer and the Bill needs to be ready before MPs leave parliament for the summer next week. Can you chip in to fund the final version of our Recall of MPs Bill?

To watch the video and donate securely, click here.

It’s a pretty extraordinary thing we’re trying to do here. It’s a radical, ambitious plan to get a real recall law, but so far everything’s going well. Once we have a real recall law that both 38 Degrees members and MPs are happy with, then we can then influence the party leaders to accept it.

Posted in 38 Degrees Blog Posts


The MP committee on our Recall of MPs Bill

July 9th, 2014 by

On Monday the committee of MPs met to scrutinise our Recall of MPs Bill, which 38 Degrees members paid for. It was a really fascinating discussion. And there were lots of really helpful suggestions for how we can improve the Bill.

Here are a few photographs of the event:

Recall committee meeting

Recall committee meeting

Recall committee meeting

Recall committee meeting

Recall committee meeting

Posted in 38 Degrees Blog Posts


Recall of MPs Bill Briefing

July 9th, 2014 by

On Monday a committee of MPs came together to scrutinise the Recall of MPs Bill that 38 Degrees members paid for.

To read the briefing that helped inform the debate please click here.

In this briefing you will find:

    • Foreword – written by the Rt Hon David Davis MP, Chair of the Backbench Initiative on the Recall of MPs Bill
    • The draft Recall of MPs Bill
    • The process and further explanation of the draft
    • Recall of MPs Bill
    • The results of the consultation with over 30,000 members of 38 Degrees

Recall committee meeting

Posted in 38 Degrees Blog Posts

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Recall committee: it’s happening!

July 2nd, 2014 by

Last week over 30,000 members of 38 Degrees fed in to make sure our draft genuine recall law was as good as possible. And now the committee of 21 MPs from seven political parties has been announced. The committee is meeting next week to scrutinise the law line by line. It aims to be a purposeful discussion – it won’t have the pomp and circumstance of a normal House of Commons committee. And it will be live tweeted – allowing *normal people* to feed in and ask questions.

Once the committee are confident with it, 38 Degrees members will then decide if they’re happy. We will then present it to the leaders of all political parties in the House with a recommendation that they use this as the basis for legislation promised.

The committee has been assembled by Zac Goldsmith, and will be chaired by Former Shadow Home Secretary David Davis MP. It includes the former Chief Whip, Andrew Mitchell, former Health Minister Paul Burstow MP and Labour MP Katy Clark.

Full list of MPs involved:
David Davis (Conservative)
Zac Goldsmith (Conservative)
Douglas Carswell (Conservative)
Anne Marie Morris (Conservative)
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
Caroline Nokes (Conservative)
Andrew Mitchell (Conservative)
Robert Buckland (Conservative)
Nick de Bois (Conservative)
Tracey Crouch (Conservative)
Frank Field (Labour)
Yasmin Qureshi (Labour)
Katy Clark (Labour)
Jim Fitzpatrick (Labour)
Kate Hoey (Labour)
Julian Huppert (Lib Dem)
Paul Burstow (Lib Dem)
Jonathan Edwards (Plaid Cymru)
Caroline Lucas (Green)
Mark Durkan (SDLP
Angus MacNeil (SNP)

Here’s what some of the MPs involved had to say:

Zac Goldsmith MP said: “Recall is supposed to be about empowering voters to hold their MPs to account, and the Government’s proposals fall scandalously short. They don’t empower voters in any meaningful sense at all, and at the very first scandal, they will realise they have been duped. This cross-party Committee demonstrates that even if Party leaders have no appetite for reform, parliament does, and I very much hope the Bill we produce will make its way into law.”

David Davis MP said: “Genuine recall is critical to build the reputation and credibility of parliament. And so it is appropriate that we create a recall law that is produced with the public and MPs working alongside each other.  Once the committee is confident that they are happy with the Bill we will present it to the leaders of all political parties in the House with a recommendation that they use this as the basis for legislation promised in this year’s Queen’s speech.”

Katy Clark MP said “The Recall Bill which the Government has proposed does not go anywhere near far enough. The idea of recall is that voters have the power to recall MPs in certain circumstances where there has been a substantial loss of confidence in an individual due to conduct.  Under these proposals the power to dismiss MPs will remain in the hands of the judiciary and the House of Commons. We need a proper recall law which will deliver power to voters. I am very pleased to have the opportunity to work alongside like-minded colleagues so that we can secure a genuine recall law where the public can recall MPs”

Julian Huppert MP said “I want to see legislation which empowers the public to recall their MPs; they elected them and they should have the power to recall them for serious misdemeanors.

Giving the initial decision to a committee of MPs falls short of what is needed here. We set out to repair the relationship between politicians and the public and the Recall Bill can go some way to achieving that – but it must be fit for purpose.”

Posted in 38 Degrees Blog Posts


Recall: Member consultation Results

July 1st, 2014 by

Over 30,000 members of 38 Degrees fed in their views on the member-funded recall bill. The members answered questions on nine different components of the bill. There overwhelming support for most of the components and broad agreement with some of the most technical aspects of the bill.

Here are some of the comments from 38 Degrees members:

“MPs have shown time and time again that their version of self-regulation is ineffective. The proposed committee of MPs here would be just as ineffective. The 38 Degrees draft bill is necessary if we are to have a truly democratic recall system.”

“I believe most MPs are sincere in their desire to serve their electorate and will not be troubled by this ‘law’. Hopefully, this law will drive out those who are not.”

“MPs get too comfortable knowing they hold majority. The threat of recall could cause MPs to focus back on their constituencies!”

The original consultation can be accessed here.

The results for each individual question can be seen in the pie charts below:

The 38 Degrees draft law puts voters in charge of deciding whether to recall an MP rather than a committee of MPs (which is what the government’s proposing). Does this sound right?

  • Yes: 94%
  • No: 5%
  • Don’t know: 1%

The 38 Degrees draft law says that if voters lose confidence in MPs, we should be able to recall him/ her in any circumstances. Does this sound right?

  • Yes: 82%
  • No – it should only be when an MP breaks the law: 11%
  • No, it should only be if an MP is guilty of financial misconduct: 3%
  • I don’t know: 4%
<p> </p>
The 38 Degrees draft recall law says that if an MP is going through legal proceedings, the recall process should be paused until they have been found innocent or guilty. Does this sound right?

  • Yes: 93%
  • No: 6%
  • Don’t know: 1%

The 38 Degrees draft law says that 20% of constituents are in favour of recalling their MP, a referendum of the whole constituency should be triggered. Does this sound right?

  • Yes: 64%
  • No, it should be a higher percentage: 28%
  • No, it should be a lower percentage: 5%
  • I don’t know: 3%
<p> </p>
The 38 Degrees draft law says that central government should pay for the recall process. Does this sound right?

  • Yes: 95%
  • No: 1%
  • Don’t know: 4%

The 38 Degrees draft law says that constituents should be able to sign the first stage of the recall process (which would trigger the actual recall petition) online and in person. Does this sound right?

  • Yes: 97%
  • No: 1%
  • Don’t know: 2%
<p> </p>
The 38 Degrees draft law says that constituents should only be able to sign the second stage of the recall process (the actual recall petition) in person. Does this sound right?

  • Yes: 72%
  • No: 18%
  • Don’t know: 10%

The 38 Degrees draft law sets limits on how much money can be spent on the campaigns during the recall process. Does this sound right?

  • Yes: 94%
  • No: 1%
  • Don’t know: 5%
<p> </p>
The 38 Degrees draft law doesn’t have any limits for how many times an MP can be subject to a recall process per parliament. Does this sound right?

  • Yes: 83%
  • No: 13%
  • Don’t know: 4%

Posted in 38 Degrees Blog Posts

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Recall bill: Your thoughts

June 27th, 2014 by

Hot off the press: 38 Degrees’s draft recall bill is back from the lawyers. It’s the bill that would make it possible for voters to sack MPs who have behaved badly. That thousands of 38 Degrees members chipped in to make possible.

But before we go any further, we need to decide together if we’re happy with our draft law. We need to make sure that it truly represents thousands of 38 Degrees members.

There are rumours that the government’s planning to start pushing through their bill in the next few weeks. So it’s really important that we get our people-powered bill ready. Click here to fill in a quick poll on our draft law.


The big difference between their draft bill and ours is that theirs puts a committee of MPs in charge – while ours put voters in the driving seat. Our draft bill has a lot of detail. Several MPs and other organisations, like Unlock Democracy and Taxpayers Alliance, have also been involved. This is to make sure that the government can’t ignore it by saying it wouldn’t work in practice.

The more people who fill in the poll, the more likely MPs will listen to us, as we’ll be representing the wishes of the people they need to listen to, their voters.

The sooner we’ve approved our draft bill – the better position we’ll be in to stop the government pushing through their sorry excuse for a recall law. To read an explanation of the law, some Q & A’s, and the draft bill in full please click here.

This is a really ambitious and innovative tactic to try and secure real recall. The big stumbling block which critics against real recall have used was that it won’t work in practice.

So 38 Degrees members have been chipping in to fund our plan. A top lawyer has written the 38 Degrees draft recall bill which members are now considering. Next, a committee of MPs will scrutinise the bill and we’ll hope to get enough supporters of real recall to make the government realise they need to back it!

Posted in 38 Degrees Blog Posts

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Recall Draft Bill

June 27th, 2014 by

To read the Bill in full click here: https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/recall-draft-law

Glossary of terms used:

What is a returning officer?

A returning officer is an employee of the Council with the responsibility of overseeing elections in their area.

What is a notice of intent?

That’s the name the lawyer has given to the first stage of the recall process which requires 5% of the constituency to sign their names in favour of a recall petition. This is basically a petition – but it has a different name so it isn’t confused with the recall petition notice which is the next stage of the process.

What is a recall petition notice?

If the notice of intent is successful, the returning officer will then publish a recall petition notice – which is basically the same as the first stage of the process, but more constituents need to sign up!

What is the process?

The 38 Degrees draft law says that an MP can have a recall petition started against them if:

A successful notice of intent to recall an MP has been submitted to a returning officer.
A notice of intent is successful if it has been signed by 5% of voters in the constituency within the previous 28 days. Signatures can be gathered electronically or in person.

If the notice of intent has signatures from 5% of voters in the constituency, the returning officer will issue a recall petition.
There will be four places in the constituency where voters can sign the petition. Within two weeks, the petition will be published for voters to sign. They’ll then have 8 weeks to sign the petition.

A successful recall petition needs to receive signatures from 20% of voters in the constituency.

If the recall petition is successful, there will be a recall referendum in the constituency.
The referendum has to happen no less than 21 days, and no more than 27 days, after the issue of notice has been given. A referendum cannot happen within 6 months of a general election.

If the majority of voters in the constituency vote for their MP to be recalled at the referendum, a by-election will be called.
Where people will be able to vote for who they want has their MP.

More information on the draft law as it stands

How is the notice of intent different to the recall petition?

They’re both basically petitions, but the notice of intent only needs to be signed by 5% of voters in the constituency while the recall petition needs to be signed by 20%.

Why are there 5% and 20% thresholds?

The thresholds have to be low enough to make sure that recall can happen, but high enough to ensure that they cannot be abused. The thresholds are similar to those in recall legislation around the world.

What happens if an MP is subject is charged with breaking the law?

When an MP has been charged with an offence that means they have to go to court, the recall process is paused. Once a ruling has been made it can start again. This is to ensure that the MP gets a fair trial.

Why is there not a ‘trigger’ (or qualifying criteria) for the recall process?

It is impossible to define ‘serious wrong doing’. It has been tried, but there has never been a consensus on what constitutes serious wrongdoing. Some people, including the government, think that there should be triggers which initiate recall – for example, if an MP goes to prison. But there are examples of MPs going to prison for taking a stand that has been welcomed by constituents (eg Terry Fields MP was jailed in 1991 for refusing to pay the Poll Tax). The process puts in enough checks and balances to ensure that recall can only be initiated where demand is very high.

Why are there timeframes involved?

The timeframes have been designed to make sure the recall process moves forward at a reasonable pace, while also allowing enough time for the returning officer to organise the logistics. Where possible this draft law has aligned the timeframes with existing laws e.g. with the law for by-elections.

Why are there so many steps?

Because there aren’t any particular circumstances set out for what starts the recall process in the 38 Degrees draft law. This is to that voters can decide – but is also means that recalling an MP won’t be easy – which will give them job security and make them more likely to pass it.

How do we ensure that the law isn’t abused by political opponents of an MP or time wasters?

This process aims to put in sufficient checks and balances to prevent the tool being used by individual time wasters. That is why at every stage there are time limits and thresholds to demonstrate a genuine demand for the process.

Who can sign the notice of intent and recall petition?

Anyone who is registered to vote!

How does the returning officer ensure that the the recall petition is valid?

There’s a lot of detail on this in the draft law. The returning officer will be able to see whether all of the signatures on the petition are voters registered in the constituency.

Why can’t the recall process take place 6 months before a general election?

It doesn’t make sense to initiate recall 6 months before an election because if a recall referendum is successful, the subsequent by-election would take place very close to the General Election.

Can a recalled MP fight the seat in the following by-election?


Who will be liable for the costs associated with the recall process?

This will be paid for by central government.

To read the Bill in full click here: https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/recall-draft-law

To fill in the survey with your thoughts about the draft bill click here: https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/recall-poll

Posted in 38 Degrees Blog Posts

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Recall: it’s official

June 9th, 2014 by

It’s official: last week, the government announced they’d start work on a new recall law. But as suspected, it’s a fudge. Their recall puts parliament in charge of sacking MPs, not voters.

But the momentum is growing against these plans. 170,000 members of 38 Degrees have signed a petition and MPs from all parties are demanding real recall - which puts voters in the driving seat. This could be the most significant change to the way that Britain does politics in decades – and it’s within our grasp.

A group of MPs have started an Early Day Motion – a petition for MPs which would prove how many are on side. Already, over 20 MPs have signed it and it’s growing by the hour.

The more MPs that sign, the more pressure the government will be under, and the better position we’ll be in to win. Can you email your MP to ask them to sign it?

So far, our campaign to get real recall is working. The petition is huge, lots of MPs are backing it and its been splashed across the media. But we still need to add pressure on the government to make sure it’s the right law.

If lots of MPs sign the Early Day Motion then it’ll send shockwaves through Parliament. But some MPs will only sign the EDM if their voters ask them to. Together, we can show we’re watching them.

MPs won’t want to be seen as not being on the side of voters. The more of us that get in touch with our MPs to ask them to sign the EDM, the more likely they are to sign it – and the more likely it will lead to us securing a law that would allow voters to sack MPs who don’t behave properly.

Some MPs don’t sign EDMs – for example, government minister’s can’t sign them. Even if your MP won’t sign the EDM, they should publicly commit to backing a real recall law, or lobby the government directly to make the right decision. You can see if your MP has signed the EDM here – and if they have, why not email them to say thanks?

Click here to send an email asking your MP to sign the EDM, or click here to send an email to say thanks to your MP for signing it.

Posted in 38 Degrees Blog Posts

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Recall: update

May 30th, 2014 by

This week 120,000 of us signed the petition calling for real recall - a law that would give constituents the power to sack MPs who aren’t doing their jobs properly.

It looks like the government will announce their sham recall law next week. They will put a committee of MPs in the driving seat when deciding whether MPs should be sacked – rather than their constituents.

The big stumbling block which the government could use as an excuse is that real recall wouldn’t work in practice. Together, we need to prove it can. So the 38 Degrees office team has come up with an ambitious plan to do just that:

  • We’ve been in touch with a top lawyer and she’s on hand to write a water-tight recall law.[3]
  • We’ll set up a committee of MPs to scrutinise our draft law, we’ve already got senior Conservative MP, David Davis, to chair the committee.
  • Next week, 38 Degrees members can help persuade their MPs to sign an EDM (a petition for MPs) supporting real recall.
  • We’ll then write an expert briefing - which 38 Degrees members can send every MP.
  • To make sure we’re on the front foot, we’ll also need our lawyer to analyse and write a response to anything that the government publishes.

To do all this, we need the money to make it possible. It will cost around £20,000. Can you help by chipping in a few pounds to make this plan a reality? Click here to make a secure donation now so that we can get to work straight away.

A real recall law would be an important step towards improving democracy. And what better way to achieve this than by using people powered funding to write, publicise and scrutinise the law? Our recall law could be held up in parliament by MPs to bat off any excuses the government gives.

We know that this strategy works - we used similar tactics last month when together, we convinced the government to amend the hospital closure clause. Everything we did together worked – and it can work again.

We’ve already got a host of MPs from all parties on side. If enough of us chip in to fund this ambitious plan - we’ll be one step ahead of the government. We’ll be in the best possible position to get a recall law which gives voters the chance to sack MPs who aren’t doing their job properly.


Posted in 38 Degrees Blog Posts

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