Petition Make MPs who are absent from their constituency and Parliament subject to recall
A recall petition is opened if an MP is suspended from the Commons for ten sitting days, or certain convictions. However, there is no sanction for MPs who choose to be absent from constituency and Parliament while House sits. Constituencies should expect a minimum standard of service from their MP.
There are reports of MPs taking holidays or otherwise choosing to be absent when the House is sitting.
If MPs are absent from their constituency and Parliament for 10 sitting days, we believe they are failing to provide their constituency with the representation the taxpayer is paying for. In this situation a recall petition should be opened so the constituency can decide whether to recall them.
This response was given on 6 September 2023
The Government does not intend to amend the circumstances in which the Recall of MPs Act 2015 applies; it is for voters to judge their MP's record and work on local issues at a General Election.
Read the response in full
The Recall of MPs Act 2015 sets out the circumstances in which an MP could be subject to a recall petition. The Government believes that these conditions are clear and does not intend to amend the legislation to subject MPs to Recall based on how they perform their role as an elected office holder. The purpose of the 2015 Act is to provide the electorate, outside of the cycle of general elections, the opportunity to make their views known where an MP has: committed an offence that attracts a custodial sentence; been suspended from the House of Commons for the requisite period or; been convicted of an offence under the Parliamentary Standards Act 2009. The Act is not intended as a mechanism for voters to recall their elected representative because they are dissatisfied with their work.
An MP's primary job should be to represent their constituents, scrutinise legislation and raise local issues with Government Ministers, and engage with constituents and organisations in their area. The proxy voting scheme recognises and supports MPs where a longer term absence is legitimate, such as for parental reasons or serious or long-term illness or injury.
It is imperative that all MPs act in keeping with the rules and principles set out in the Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament. The House of Commons sets and enforces its own rules, and published the latest Code of Conduct in February of this year. The Code makes clear that holders of public office are accountable to the public for their decisions and actions, and must make themselves available for scrutiny. MPs must behave in a way that does not bring Parliament into disrepute.
If it is alleged that an MP has not adhered to the rules, they may be subject to an investigation by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, who reports their findings to the Committee on Standards. The Standards Committee may either recommend remedial action or more serious sanctions for decision by the House. The Commissioner for Standards cannot investigate a Member’s work in Parliament or in their constituency unless this forms part of an investigation into an alleged breach of the rules of conduct.
If it is felt that an elected representative has not adhered to the clear set of standards expected of public officeholders, the electorate may make their views known at the ballot box at a General Election.
At 100,000 signatures...
At 100,000 signatures, this petition will be considered for debate in Parliament