On the Right of Recall

I’m not a fundamentalist on this issue. We have a right of recall, it’s just we might have to wait a few years to exercise it. Neil Hamilton was booted out by the electorate in Tatton in 1997 and now pathetically plods along, embarrassing UKIP rather than the Tories. Tatton was the fourth safest Tory seat.

The problem is how to deal with politically-motivated, opportunistic attempts at recall. It’s easy to see a situation where an MP in a marginal constituency could face a recall petition simply at the behest of a (and it probably would be Labour) party in order to discomfit the Government and take advantage of mid-term unpopularity.

So while I like, in principle, a right of recall, In practice, I’m comfortable with a committee of MPs as a filter for vexatious recall petitions.

I expect lots of “How can you call yourself ‘Libertarian’?” rants from the perma-outraaged in the comments. Democracy doesn’t mean giving the people what they want, all the time. Nor does ‘freedom and the rule of law’ mean pandering to every whim of the mob. Indeed quite the opposite. We have a responsive democracy in the UK. It ain’t broken, so doesn’t need much fixing.

6 replies
  1. arfurleg
    arfurleg says:

    Its a cop out to say there would be politcally motivated attempts at recall all the time. This govt is so tainted by sleaze that it dare not allow a proper recall law cos half the cabinet would be first to go

  2. Malcolm Bracken
    Malcolm Bracken says:

    OK. MP outrages the electorate by overclaiming on expenses, let's say that's valid. MP outrages the electorate by being part of a Government that closes the local A&E = marginal constituency pork insanity. Or maybe someone just gets a petition up, when Labour (and it will always be Labour) supporters are feeling confident.

  3. Gareth
    Gareth says:

    The main problem with this policy is not that the people would have bad reasons to recall MPs, it's that they would have so many good reasons that recall would happen all the time. Then the whole thing would just become tiresome.


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