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 6:30 pm on 27th October 2014.

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Photo of David Heath David Heath Liberal Democrat, Somerton and Frome 6:30 pm, 27th October 2014

If a Member of Parliament is elected and fails to carry out even the basic duties of a Member of Parliament, that Member of Parliament will, in my subjective view, be guilty of a dereliction of duty. If the hon. Gentleman is referring to the number of Irish constituencies represented by Members who have not taken their seats, I think, judging by the electoral history, that a recall procedure would be unlikely to succeed in the long run, simply because people would elect those Members again in the full knowledge that they would not take their seats.

There was a famous Member of Parliament who decided to go and run a pub in Northern Ireland, and did not attend the House of Commons for a very long time. I think that he was eventually persuaded to do so by inducements offered by the then Government, who were rather short of voting power at the time. It may be that his constituents were perfectly content with that position, but I think that it should at least have been argued that he was failing in his duties to the electorate and to the House.