Jo is co-sponsoring a Bill introduced this week in Parliament which would allow members of the public to recall errant MPs.
Jo and the Liberal Democrats have long been calling for a law to enable members of the public to call a by-election to recall MPs found guilty of wrong-doing. The Bill was introduced this week by Douglas Carswell MP, and co-sponsored by Jo, Norman Lamb, Norman Baker, Graham Allen and David Drew. The Bill would also allow voters to petition for open primary ballots in which they could choose which candidates parties put forward for election.
In February, Jo called on the Government to introduce such a law, and many MPs and campaigning groups have backed the call since the MPs’ expenses scandal hit headlines in the Spring. This Bill comes two weeks after Gordon Brown announced that he would support the introduction of such a law.
Commenting, Jo said:
“I am delighted to co-sponsor this Bill to allow constituents to have a say on whether dishonest or corrupt MPs should keep their seats in Parliament. This is just one of many ways in which we can make Parliament more accountable to the public, but I believe it is an important one. The proposal has gained a great deal of momentum over the course of the year, and I very much hope that Parliament will pass the Bill as soon as possible.”
The Parliamentary Elections (Recall and Primaries) Bill states that if at least 5% of the voters in any constituency felt their MP had acted inappropriately they should be able to submit a petition to a Parliamentary committee. The committee would then have a month to decide whether the MP is guilty of wrong-doing, and if found guilty, constituents would vote on whether the MP should be recalled. If the majority of people voted to remove the MP, a by-election would be held within three months.