Bury St Edmunds MP David Ruffley backs tougher powers for constituents to recall MPs

David Ruffley MP

David Ruffley MP - Credit: Archant

A tougher system to allow constituents to vote out their MP was backed by Bury St Edmunds MP David Ruffley.

Mr Ruffley, who announced earlier this year he was standing down after accepting a caution for assault, backed amendments to a recall bill put down by MP Zac Goldsmith.

The former shadow police minister had been under pressure after accepting a police caution for common assault on his former partner earlier this year.

And in July said a “protracted media debate” about his future would not serve the interests of the party and he was leaving with the “heavy heart”.

There had been some calls for Mr Ruffley to go immediately and trigger a by-election in July.

Mr Goldsmith tabled proposals which would have excluded parliament’s standards committee from any role in determining whether errant MPs should face re-election.

But in a free vote, 340 MP rejected the motion, with Mr Ruffley one of 166 MPs to back it.

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Mr Ruffley said he had voted accordingly because we “need a real Recall Bill”.

“These amendments tried to deliver greater power to the electorate. They would have allowed for 5pc of an electorate in any given constituency to bring forward a notice of intent to recall. This would trigger a recall petition requiring a minimum of 20pc of constituency votes. Should it be successful, a recall referendum would be held.

“This would require a majority vote from those voting in the referendum, to instigate a by-election.”

He said: “Having fought the last four general elections in Bury St. Edmunds, I think I have a reasonable idea of what Suffolk public opinion is.

“We need a more transparent politics and politics that puts local people in charge not the local media who are accountable to no one and have their own agendas; nor politicians in the Westminster bubble.”