POLITICS: It may soon be easier to remove MSPs who don’t carry out their duties

By Bill Heaney

Scottish Conservative MSP Graham Simpson has today (Tuesday) lodged the final proposals for a bill designed to make it easier to remove MSPs from office.

The Central Scotland MSP will now seek cross-party support on the Removal from Office and Recall Bill which he consulted on earlier this year.

The Bill would introduce new measures on removing an MSP from office, including additional grounds and new processes for removal.

If successful, the Scottish Parliament would be brought into line with local authorities, where councillors can be removed if they don’t take part in proceedings for six months without a valid reason.

The Bill would also ensure any MSP who is given a prison sentence is automatically removed from office. There was no obligation for SNP MSP Bill Walker to resign in 2013 after he was convicted on assault and breach of the peace charges.

Graham Simpson has also highlighted the existing mechanism for constituents of Westminster MPs to remove them if a recall procedure is started.

Scottish Conservative MSP for Central Scotland Graham Simpson said:“I’m pleased my bill to ensure that it will be easier to remove MSPs who don’t carry out their duties has now reached this stage.

“The consultation responses were positive and showed a desire among the public for them to have the ability to remove politicians from the Scottish Parliament who are clearly not serving those who put them into that privileged position.

“Taxpayers should not be continuing to subsidise MSPs who do not even turn up to the Parliament, yet can still claim a large salary and expenses.

“Local authorities have this ability to remove councillors and constituents of MPs have the ability to recall them and hold them to account for their misconduct.

“It is time the Scottish Parliament caught up and my plans would mean the public can be confident in the future that this would occur with MSPs who have fallen short of the standards expected of them.

“I hope that that my fellow MSPs will see that my Recall Bill is common sense and that it will secure cross-party support. I urge all of them to back it.”

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