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 5:45 pm on 27th October 2014.

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Photo of Zac Goldsmith Zac Goldsmith Conservative, Richmond Park 5:45 pm, 27th October 2014

I am struggling to define wrongdoing, but I challenge anyone here to define wrongdoing in a way that would genuinely capture wrongdoing by MPs. It is simply not possible. My argument is that it is not necessary because we have a jury out there: they are called constituents and we can rely on them. My concern is that even with a relatively straightforward threshold such as jail, there could be perverse outcomes. For example, Caroline Lucas—I apologise for bringing her into this—could have been sent to jail for two or three days for her role in a protest against fracking. I have no doubt that she would have been welcomed as a hero by her constituents for doing so, but under the hon. Gentleman’s mechanism and under the Government’s mechanism just 10% of her constituents could have thrown her out of Parliament. Yes, she may have been able to claw back in through a by-election, but I suggest that a situation where 10% of the people can throw her out of Parliament and make her lose her job on the back of something most of her constituents would appreciate, is another example of a perverse outcome.