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Members of Parliament (Recall)

Volume 508: debated on Tuesday 23 March 2010

The Government have received 74 items of correspondence calling for the introduction of a recall law. We are committed to legislating for a recall mechanism in the new Parliament, and I look forward to discussions with other parties, with a view to reaching an agreed solution.

The Minister says that he supports a power of recall, and of course I welcome that, but is it not disappointing, therefore, that the Labour Whips in another place ensured that an amendment to legislation there, which would have achieved such a power and allowed it to be put in place now, was defeated? In the light of the lobbying scandal and the pressure in favour of introducing a power of recall, rather than talking about it, is it not time for the Government to act?

The hon. Gentleman may not have spotted this, but there is going to be a general election some time before June the third—[Hon. Members: “The fourth!”] Some time before June the fourth. Sorry, Mr. Speaker, I hope that the record can be corrected and the tapes amended accordingly. The issue of recall legislation in this Parliament is, frankly, otiose. It is for the next Parliament to deal with, and we have to get the system right—but it comes as no surprise to this House that the proposals drawn up by the Liberal Democrats on the back of an envelope do not quite do the job that is required.

Can we be specific about this issue? I know from their proposals that the Government support a recall mechanism for the other place, but is the Secretary of State now saying that he also supports a recall mechanism for the Commons? If so, that would be a very great advance, and we would very much welcome it. Indeed, if he has moved on that issue, will he now move on proportional representation, too?

This may well be the hon. Gentleman’s last outing, too, so I pay tribute to him for the work that he has undertaken. However, he needs to get some better briefing, because my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced at the Labour party conference on 29 September that we were committed—

It was hardly a private meeting; it was in the middle of the leader’s speech. In that speech on 29 September, the Prime Minister announced his commitment, and that of the Government and my party, to a recall mechanism for this House.