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Posts Tagged ‘Recall’

Recall – Put Voters in Charge of MPs

January 19th, 2012 by

Tomorrow, we have the chance to persuade MPs to back a new law that would give voters the power to sack MPs who don’t do their job properly. It could be a massive step forward for people power: just imagine if we’d been able to fire the MPs who abused the expenses system.

This new law- proposed by Zac Goldsmith MP- would give voters in each constituency the power to call a fresh vote if 10% of them sign a petition. Most MPs will still be deciding what to do about the debate Friday. A well-attended, noisy debate about giving voters the right to sack MPs is just what’s needed to get the government to stick to their promises.

The government will be hoping that hardly any MPs bother to show up. That way, they can stick to their plan for a much weaker recall law that would end up giving MPs even more power. They might even try to quietly drop the idea altogether.

But if thousands of us email our MPs and ask them to back a new “recall” law, we can make sure loads of MPs turn up to the debate on Friday. Lots of us talking about plans for a powerful new recall law will build the pressure on the government to toughen up their own weak plans.

Back in May 2009, a recall law was the first thing 38 Degrees members decided to work on together. Even though there were just a few thousand of us back then, we helped to persuade key MPs to back the idea. Now we’ve teamed up with Unlock Democracy, who’ve been working with Zac Goldsmith MP to get the recall law back on the agenda.

Once you’ve got in touch with your MP, it would be great if you could share your MP’s reply in the comments section below, so that other 38 Degrees members can see where our MPs stand.

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Tuition fees – what is an MP’s promise worth?

October 14th, 2010 by

Nick Clegg and Cambridge MP Julian Huppert pledging to oppose any rise in tuition fees in February this year

Photograph by NUS Press Office

There’s been an interesting debate over on our Facebook wall about the Browne report into higher education funding. It’s worth reading for yourself, but it’s fair to say lots of us feel there are two important issues at stake here.

The first is the question of what it means for an MP to make a promise before an election. Is Vince Cable’s claim that it’s no longer valid because of the deficit defensible?  The pledge which all Lib Dem MPs signed was pretty explicit and very recent. Many of us find it hard to accept that an MP should be able to change a key election position so soon afterwards. The issue of how easy it is for MPs to break promises once they are elected is one which 38 Degrees members have been raising for some time, through our campaign for a Recall Law.

Secondly, it has implications for higher education itself. Is a free market in higher education desirable? Is it fair to place so much of the burden for paying on students when so many other bits of society, like business, rely on the training that university provides.  Why were other options such as the graduate tax so quickly dismissed? Many of us seem to share concerns of the National Union of Students at the way policy seems to be headed and impact for poorer students.

We are still to see final proposals and still don’t know what Lib Dem MPs will do- it does that a fair few seem willing to rebel in order to keep their promise.  38 Degrees is in touch with NUS, who we’ve worked with before on this. hopefully our style of people powered campaigning can make sure neither of these issues brushed under the carpet.

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A chance to vote for Recall Law

January 25th, 2010 by

During the expenses crisis our MPs let us down and we had no way to hold them to account. That’s why we’ve been campaigning for a Recall Law, which would give local voters the power to sack their MP.

So far, over 10 000 people have signed our petition. Now we’ve got the chance to put pressure on the government in another way.

Power 2010 are an organisation devoted to getting political reform onto the agenda of the party that wins the 2010 election. People have been submitting their ideas for reform to the 2010 website, and now they’re asking us to vote on the best ideas, one of which is the Recall Law.

The five reform ideas with most votes will become part of pledge that Power 2010 will campaign to get each candidate for the next election to sign up to, so that we can be sure that the next government will be a reforming one.

The Recall Law is currently in 9th place. Help us get Recall into the top five by voting for the law on the 2010 website.

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One down two to go – Nick Clegg accepts our call for a right to recall your MP

June 18th, 2009 by

Despite the best efforts of uncooperative computers and a dodgy printer, a group of us made it down to Westminster on Wednesday morning to hand in the petition on recall. And a suitably hefty tome it made too with a total of 5,111 signatures.

The first port of call was the Houses of Parliament to hand it over to Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg.

Taking time out of his prep for Prime Minister’s Questions, we were collected from central lobby and escorted up to his office. As you might expect, the Lib Dem leadership have been squirrelled away at the top of one of the Palaces of Westminster in something akin to Rapunzel’s tower. After negotiating the stairs we were welcomed in by the man himself (surprisingly tall and a very firm handshake in case you were interested).

Clegg quizzed Executive Director David Babbs on the organisation and cast an envious eye over the rapidly increasing membership numbers – 38 Degrees is going from strength to strength in a way that the old-school political organisations can only dream of.

It was then time for the handover. And there’s very little resistance from the Lib Dems on the issue of a right to recall. Clegg even asked if he could sign the petition himself – one down two to go. If only all the party leaders were so receptive to the people’s desire for real change in the way our politics works.

The next stop was Downing Street, to see if we could hand in a copy of the petition at number 10 for Gordon’s perusal. We didn’t make it through the main gates, but the very friendly police officer on duty took our names and agreed to hand in the petition on our behalf. It’s a shame the Prime Minister, or a member of the government, couldn’t take a little time out to listen to what our members had to say on the issue – they’ve clearly been too be busy thinking about how best to fudge the next big issue on the agenda.

But at least we can be sure the petition will have made it into government hands – and a reply to our demands should be imminent. The Conservatives on the other hand have to date been unable (or unwilling) to accept the petition at all. We’re still hoping for an audience with David Cameron to hand across the demands on all our members behalf – come on, Dave! Fingers crossed it’ll happen before all the MPs jet off for summer recess.

We’ve got the support of one of the three main parties, now we just have to hope that all the grand words used by Labour and Conservative alike about listening to and engaging with the people in the light of the expenses scandal were more than just hot air. The enthusiasm of 38 Degrees’ membership shows a clear will from the public at large for a right to recall – the politicians must take note.

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