UKIP leader Nigel Farage has challenged David Cameron to give the voters of Basingstoke the right of recall over shamed MP Maria Miller as promised by the 2010 Coalition Agreement.
The right of recall proposed in the agreement committed the government to introducing a new power allowing voters to force a by-election when an MP was found to have engaged in serious wrongdoing (provided at least 10% of constituents signed a petition).
But no such measure has been delivered and now Mr Cameron and Nick Clegg appear likely only to pursue a watered-down measure that will allow a committee of MPs to decide if a case is serious enough to allow voters that right.
Mr Farage said: “Yet again this is the political class looking after its own and letting down the electorate. Maria Miller’s critics in Basingstoke – and there are many – should have the right to see if they can put together a petition of 10 per cent of the local electorate as stipulated in the Coalition Agreement. I believe they would be able to clear that hurdle with ease.
“A promise was made by Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg and they have failed to honour it. That is desperately cynical as I suspect they never intended to honour it in the first place. Neither did Ed Miliband raise this aspect of the Miller debacle in PMQs. Voters in Basingstoke and elsewhere will be forgiven for thinking the whole political class at Westminster is once again conspiring to protect one of its own from proper democratic accountability.”
Mr Farage was the first senior political figure in Britain to propose a right of recall. He added: “When I first suggested this idea it was met with stunned silence by the political class. Since then Zac Goldsmith and one or two others have picked it up and run with it. It is an idea whose time has surely come if we ever expect politics in Britain to recover the esteem it has lost in the eyes of the public.”