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 5:30 pm on 27th October 2014.

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Photo of Thomas Docherty Thomas Docherty Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons 5:30 pm, 27th October 2014

I am going to make progress—many hon. Members wish to speak.

As I have said, amendment 47 relates specifically to MPs who have fiddled their expenses. It is worth noting that since the introduction of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority not one MP has been caught trying to abuse the new system. The cases that have come to light in this Parliament have related to the last vestiges of the old, discredited system. Nevertheless, it is crucial that Parliament listens to the concerns of the public to ensure that if a Member of Parliament is found to have abused the new system a suitable course of action is available. That is why the amendment would ensure that, when the IPSA compliance officer finds that an MP has committed a serious breach of the rules, and the MP is convicted of making a false expenses claim, they will be subject to recall.

Some colleagues might question why the Opposition have singled out expenses for qualifying for recall, even when a non-custodial sentence is given. Labour Members believe that a flagrant misuse of public funds by an elected representative is unacceptable and that extraordinary measures are required. We hope that MPs in other parties agree with that principle.