Labour Calls For Voters To Have Right To Oust Defecting MPs

Party leadership wants to expand right of recall.

Labour has responded to the defection of eight backbenchers led by Chuka Umunna by proposing voters be able to force MPs out of their seats if they switch parties.

The party has proposed expanding the right of constituents to launch recall petitions.

Under current rules, MPs can only be recalled in a handful of circumstances, such as a serious breach of parliamentary rules or a criminal conviction.

A by-election is forced if the petition is signed by 10% of constituents – usually around 7,000 people – within six weeks.

Labour’s shadow Cabinet Office minister Jon Trickett said voters “should not have to wait for up to five years to act if they feel their MP is not properly representing their interests”.

“Power comes from the people but for too long the overwhelming majority have been shut out. That’s why trust in politics and in elites is rightly falling,” he said.

“This proposed reform has the dramatic potential to empower citizens and will be one of many measures the Labour Party is planning to consult on and announce that will change the way politics in this country is done”.

On Monday Chuka Umunna, Chris Leslie, Luciana Berger, Mike Gapes, Angela Smith, Gavin Shuker and Ann Coffey all quit Labour to set up the Independent Group of MPs. Joan Ryan became announced she was joining them on Tuesday evening.

Explaining her decision to join the breakaway group, Ryan told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We never had this problem in the party before he was the leader. It comes with him, it is part of his politics, I am afraid.

“He has introduced or allowed to happen in our party this scourge of anti-Semitism. It has completely infected the party and at every opportunity to deal with it he has not done so.

“We have had a whitewash report, we have had unprecedented actions of Jewish people feeling they have to demonstrate against the Labour Party in Parliament Square.

“We have had endless calls on him to deal with the most virulent, vile anti-Semitism – bullying, abuse and aggression – and he has turned away from doing that.”


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