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

My right hon. Friend is right that that is difficult. Before I answer his question directly, let me repeat that this is the least formal part of the process and it is not covered by normal election rules. Yes, policing this process would be harder, but the promoter—a person has to deliver the 5% of names to the returning officer—would be bound by the criminal law in the same way that other elections are governed in this country. If the promoter deliberately included signatures of people who were not eligible to vote, double signatures, signatures of people who were too young or who were from other constituencies, or made-up names, that would be a very serious criminal offence. Could it ever happen? Of course it could. Does election fraud happen in constituencies? Of course it does. It is not possible to have a perfect system, but the protection is in the fact that the promoter would be bound by the criminal law.