By Bill Heaney
Scottish Conservative MSP Graham Simpson will bring his MSP Recall Bill before Parliament, after gaining cross-party support for the proposals.
The Removal from Office and Recall Bill will be debated by MSPs after attracting the support of 24 members, including Labour’s Monica Lennon and Paul O’Kane.
The Bill would introduce new measures for the dismissal of MSPs who fail to take part in parliamentary proceedings for more than six months without a valid reason.
Currently, unless an MSP chooses to resign, there is no method for constituents to remove them even when they fail to carry out parliamentary duties.
If successful, the Bill would bring the Scottish Parliament in line with local authorities which already have this rule in place for councillors, and Westminster, where there is an existing mechanism for constituents to remove MPs if a recall procedure is started.
The Bill also includes proposals to ensure the automatic removal from office of any MSP sentenced to a prison term, regardless of the length of sentence.
Scottish Conservative MSP Graham Simpson, right, said: “I’m pleased that my MSP Recall Bill has come one step closer to becoming law after gaining cross-party support.
“As things stand, Scottish taxpayers still have to foot the bill for an MSP’s salary and expenses even if they fail to carry out their duties. This common-sense Bill will give the Scottish public the power to remove their representatives for wrongdoing.
“This mechanism exists for both MPs at Westminster and councillors in local authorities – it’s time the Scottish Parliament caught up.
“I will be bringing this Bill to Holyrood for MSPs to debate, and I urge members of all parties to get behind these sensible and much-needed proposals.
“It is vital that we make this Bill law and ensure that Scottish taxpayers are never again left paying for an empty seat in Holyrood.”