7 April 2010
Next week will see the launch of our manifesto, an essential plank of which will be People Power. Transferring power away from central government and back to where it belongs, with the people. Today the Labour Party re-announced their plans to introduce proportional representation, a system that Churchill said created "The most worthless votes for the most worthless candidate", and a fully elected house of Lords. This is their response to the reform of the parliamentary system and their plan to restore trust in politics and politicians. It's their first foray into it for 13 years and one can be forgiven for seeing it’s pre-election announcement as a cynical attempt to win votes. The phrase closing the barn door after the horse has bolted comes to mind. Labour’s proposal do nothing though, to tackle the major issues that the expenses scandal raised, mainly that constituents have no ability to remove their MP. Instead they have introduced proportional representation (so called PR) which is simply a complicate system that returns the least worst candidate. However our People Power manifesto changes that introducing a right to recall if a Member of Parliament is found guilty of wrongdoing. So unlike in the current system whereby MPs, who have broken the rules and have been officially sanctioned by parliament and the Standards and Privileges committee, can continue to represent a constituency until the next election, we will give constituents the right to recall their Member of Parliament. Under a conservative government if an MP is found guilty of any wrong-doing then a right to recall will be offered to his or her constituents. This process will begin with the filing of a notice-of-intent-to recall petition to be signed by at least 100 constituents and submitted to the local returning officers. A recall petition will then be circulated within the constituency. If this petition has been signed by more than 10% of the electorate (in the case of Stratford by 6,936 people) within 90 days then a by-election will be triggered. This is a radical change, and a change that is truly needed, it removes the concept of the “safe seat” and makes MPs directly answerable to their constituents over the whole, parliament not just every five years. Most importantly it will force MPs to remember who they are are there to represent first, their constituents.