Clause 1 — How an MP becomes subject to a recall petition process

Part of Bill Presented — International Trade Agreements (Scrutiny) – in the House of Commons at 5:15 pm on 27th October 2014.

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Photo of Zac Goldsmith Zac Goldsmith Conservative, Richmond Park 5:15 pm, 27th October 2014

I would give two responses. First, if we existed in a world where recall was possible, I suspect that the promises made before the last election would not have been made. In the context of a recall regime, we would have to be much more careful about the promises we made because we would know that we could be held to account after making and then breaking them.

Secondly, if circumstances require a broken promise—an abandonment of a manifesto pledge—in a system of recall, or, frankly, without it, it is incumbent on Members to go back to their constituents and explain why that promise had to be broken. In the case of the Liberal Democrats, I know that my right hon. Friend Mr Davey has spent a lot of time speaking to and engaging with students of all ages to explain why the U-turn was necessary. I can absolutely guarantee that whether or not he wins at the next election, he would not have been recalled on the back of what was a profoundly broken promise. My hon. Friend Crispin Blunt must have confidence and faith in his voters. Voters can see through these things.