Latest Public Sector News


MPs could be recalled for misconduct by 2015 – Maude

A string of lobbying scandals over the weekend involving MPs and peers from a range of parties has pushed the Government to pledge reform.

Although reforms such as a register of lobbyists and a right to recall, allowing voters to force a by-election, were included in the Coalition Agreement in 2010, there has been little progress to date – but deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has now promised action.

Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude has said this morning he would be “astonished” if the power to recall MPs found to have engaged in serious wrongdoing did not come into force before 2015.

The proposals follow allegations that one Tory MP, two Labour peers and an Ulster Unionist peer accepted offers of money in exchange for parliamentary services from undercover journalists posing as lobbyists. They have all denied wrongdoing, but have referred themselves to the Parliamentary standards watchdog.

Clegg said he remained committed to “the view that we should end the culture of safe seats – which effectively give MPs jobs for life”.

“We need to be realistic: there is no single, magical protection against an individual politician determined to behave unethically or inappropriately. I know that the absence of the [statutory lobbyists'] register from last month's Queen's Speech raised some concerns. So let me be clear: it will happen.

“Having consulted on the proposal, the detail is being looked at thoroughly in government.”

Maude confirmed that the Government intends to give voters the power to sack MPs by forcing those who engage in serious misconduct to face recall via a by-election.

He told the BBC's Sunday Politics programme: “We all want it to happen. It will come into effect. It won't necessarily be in the next Queen's Speech because it's perfectly possible we'll legislate for it in this session.

“We are going to do this. We need finally to resolve the issues about scope and so on and then we'll get on with it.”

Director of Unlock Democracy Peter Facey welcomed Clegg’s commitment to political reform, but called for the Government to respond to widespread criticism, “not just blithely carry on regardless”.

“In the case of a lobbying register, the Government’s proposals united the public affairs industry and transparency groups in criticising a proposal that would have exempted the vast majority of lobbyists from the legislation. We need a comprehensive register which insists on financial information; providing huge loopholes will merely encourage the worst behaviour.

“The Government’s proposals on recall made it almost impossible for constituents to sack their MP even where they had been found guilty of serious misconduct. We need a system that puts the power in the hands of voters not the establishment in Westminster. If the system only serves to raise people’s expectations without making a meaningful difference, its only effect will be to increase public cynicism.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at [email protected]


Keith Mackman   03/06/2013 at 14:15

How so unlike Clegg to be an opportunistic bandwagon passenger. Funny that his principles proved so elastic when it came to the opportunity to amend the current constituency boundaries and reduce the number of MPs. Doubtless the idiot is hoping that he will be able to cobble a coalition with the Labour Party in 2015 and thus cling to the illusion of power that is obviously all that motivates the little weasel. I despise Clegg and his pathetic attempts to portray himself as strong and statesmanlike. The man is a disgrace and his party will pay a heavy price at the next election. Why Cameron persists in coalition with Clegg is vexing, we would do better to drop the millstone and actually govern according to proper Conservative values.

Add your comment


public sector executive tv

more videos >

last word

Prevention: Investing for the future

Prevention: Investing for the future

Rob Whiteman, CEO at the Chartered Institute of Public Finance (CIPFA), discusses the benefits of long-term preventative investment. Rising demand, reducing resource – this has been the r more > more last word articles >

public sector focus

View all News


Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >
How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

19/06/2019How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

Tom Chance, director at the National Community Land Trust Network, argues t... more >


Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

17/12/2018Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

It’s no secret that the public sector and its service providers need ... more >