Recall of MPs Bill (HC Bill 94)

A

BILL

TO

Make provision about the recall of members of the House of Commons; and
for connected purposes.

Be it enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and
consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present
Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

How an MP becomes subject to a recall petition process

1 How an MP becomes subject to a recall petition process

(1) An MP becomes subject to a recall petition process if—

(a) the first or second recall condition has been met in relation to the MP,
5and

(b) the Speaker gives notice of that fact under section 5.

(2) In this Act “recall petition” means a petition calling—

(a) for an MP to lose his or her seat in the House of Commons, and

(b) for a by-election to be held to decide who should be the MP for the
10constituency in question.

(3) The first recall condition is that—

(a) the MP has, after becoming an MP, been convicted in the United
Kingdom of an offence and sentenced or ordered to be imprisoned or
detained, and

(b) 15the appeal period expires without the conviction, sentence or order
having being overturned on appeal.

Sections 2 to 4 contain more about the first recall condition.

(4) The second recall condition is that the House of Commons orders the
suspension of the MP from the service of the House for a specified period
20and—

(a) where the period is expressed as a number of sitting days, the period
specified is a period of at least 21 sitting days, or

(b) in any other case, the period specified (however expressed) is a period
of at least 28 days.

Recall of MPs BillPage 2

(5) For the purposes of subsection (4) it does not matter—

(a) when the period of suspension starts, and

(b) in relation to subsection (4)(a), what provision (if any) is made by the
House regarding what does, or does not, count as a sitting day for the
5purpose of calculating that period.

(6) The provision made by or under this Act does not affect other ways in which
an MP’s seat may be vacated, whether—

(a) by the MP’s disqualification - for example, under the Representation of
the People Act 1981 (disqualification of certain offenders), or

(b) 10by the MP’s death or otherwise.

(7) The loss by an MP of his or her seat under this Act as a result of a recall petition
does not prevent him or her standing in the resulting by-election.

2 The first recall condition: further provision

(1) The reference in section 1(3) (the first recall condition) to an offence—

(a) 15includes an offence committed before the MP became an MP, but

(b) does not include an offence committed before the day on which section
1 comes into force.

(2) The reference in section 1(3) to an MP being sentenced or ordered—

(a) includes the MP being sentenced or ordered where the sentence or
20order is suspended,

(b) does not include the MP being remanded in custody, and

(c) does not include the MP being authorised to be detained under mental
health legislation if there is no sentence or order for imprisonment or
detention other than under that legislation.

(3) 25“Mental health legislation” means—

(a) the Mental Health Act 1983,

(b) Part 6 or section 200(2)(b) of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act
1995, or

(c) the Mental Health (Northern Ireland) Order 1986 (S.I. 1986/595S.I. 1986/595 (N.I.
304)).

(4) For the purposes of this Act the time at which a person becomes an MP is the
beginning of the day after—

(a) the polling day for the parliamentary election at which the person is
elected as an MP, or

(b) 35where the person has been elected as an MP more than once, the polling
day for the parliamentary election at which the person was last so
elected.

3 The first recall condition: expiry of appeal period regarding conviction etc

(1) For the purposes of section 1(3) (the first recall condition), the appeal period
40expires at the earliest time at which—

(a) it is no longer possible for there to be a relevant appeal, and

(b) all relevant appeals have been determined or otherwise disposed of.

(2) “Relevant appeal” means an appeal that meets either of the following
conditions.

Recall of MPs BillPage 3

(3) The first condition is that the appeal—

(a) is in respect of the conviction, sentence or order mentioned in section
1(3), and

(b) is brought within the usual period.

(4) 5The second condition is that the appeal—

(a) is in respect of the determination of an appeal that was itself a relevant
appeal, and

(b) is brought within the usual period.

(5) References in this section to an appeal being brought within the usual period
10are to the appeal being brought within the period allowed for bringing an
appeal of the kind in question, disregarding the possibility of an appeal out of
time with permission.

(6) References in this section to an appeal—

(a) are to an appeal to a court in the United Kingdom;

(b) 15include an application (and accordingly references to an appeal being
brought include an application being made);

(c) include an appeal under paragraph 13(a) of Schedule 6 to the Scotland
Act 1998, paragraph 31(a) of Schedule 10 to the Northern Ireland Act
1998 or paragraph 21(a) of Schedule 9 to the Government of Wales Act
202006 (appeal against a determination, in proceedings in Scotland, of a
Scottish, Northern Irish or Welsh devolution issue);

(d) do not include a reference under Part 2 of the Criminal Appeal Act 1995
(the Criminal Cases Review Commission) or Part 10A of the Criminal
Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 (the Scottish Criminal Cases Review
25Commission), or a petition to the nobile officium.

(7) References in this section to the determination of an appeal are, where the court
to which the appeal is brought remits the matter to another court, to the
disposal of the proceedings by that other court.

4 The first recall condition: courts to notify the Speaker

(1) 30This section applies if an MP, after becoming an MP, is convicted in the United
Kingdom of an offence and sentenced or ordered to be imprisoned or detained
within the meaning of section 1(3) (see section 2).

(2) The court that imposes the sentence or order must notify the Speaker—

(a) of the conviction and of the sentence or order, and

(b) 35whether an appeal may be brought in respect of the conviction,
sentence or order.

(3) Subsections (4) to (6) apply in a case in which an appeal is brought in respect
of the conviction, sentence or order (including from a court that determines or
otherwise disposes of such an appeal).

(4) 40The court to which the appeal is brought must notify the Speaker that an
appeal has been brought in respect of the conviction, sentence or order.

(5) Where the appeal is determined or otherwise disposed of, the relevant court
must notify the Speaker—

(a) that the appeal has been determined or otherwise disposed of,

(b) 45that the conviction, sentence or order has, or has not, been overturned
on appeal, and

Recall of MPs BillPage 4

(c) whether any further appeal may be brought in respect of the
conviction, sentence or order.

(6) “The relevant court” means—

(a) the court to which the appeal is brought, or

(b) 5if that court remits the matter to another court, that other court.

(7) Section 3(6) and (7) (interpretation of references to an appeal and to the
determination of an appeal) apply in relation to this section as they apply in
relation to section 3, except that references in this section to an appeal do
include a petition to the nobile officium.

5 10Speaker’s notice that first or second recall condition has been met

(1) As soon as reasonably practicable after becoming aware that the first or second
recall condition has been met in relation to an MP, the Speaker must give notice
of that fact to the petition officer for the MP’s constituency.

(2) But subsection (1) does not apply if it would require the Speaker to give notice
15at a time—

(a) within the period of 6 months ending with the polling day for the next
parliamentary general election,

(b) when the MP is already subject to a recall petition process, or

(c) when the MP’s seat has already been vacated (whether by the MP’s
20disqualification or death, or otherwise).

(3) For the purposes of subsection (2)(a), the possibility that, after the time
mentioned in that subsection, the polling day for a parliamentary general
election will be altered by virtue of section 1(5) or 2(7) of the Fixed-term
Parliaments Act 2011 is to be disregarded.

(4) 25For the purposes of subsection (2)(b), an MP is “subject to a recall petition
process” during the period beginning with the giving of a notice under this
section in relation to the MP and ending with—

(a) the receipt by the petition officer of a notice under section 13(5) (early
termination of recall petition process) in relation to the recall petition in
30question, or

(b) the giving by the petition officer of a notice under section 14(2)(b)
(determination of whether recall petition successful) of the outcome of
that recall petition.

(5) A notice under this section—

(a) 35must specify the day on which it is given,

(b) must specify which of the recall conditions has been met in relation to
the MP, and

(c) in a case in which the first recall condition has been met, must specify
the offence of which the MP has been convicted.

(6) 40For the purposes of this Act, a notice under this section—

(a) is to be treated as given on the day specified in it under subsection
(5)(a), and

(b) is to be treated as received by the petition officer on the first working
day after the day on which it is given.

(7) 45References in this Act to a “Speaker’s notice” are to a notice under this section.

Recall of MPs BillPage 5

Conduct of the recall petition process

6 Petition officers

(1) There is to be a petition officer in relation to a recall petition for each
constituency as determined as follows—

Location of constituency 5Identity of petition officer
England or Wales The person who is the acting returning
officer in relation to the constituency by
virtue of section 28 of the Representation
of the People Act 1983 (discharge of
10returning officer’s functions in England
and Wales).
Scotland The person who is the returning officer in
relation to the constituency by virtue of
section 25 of that Act (returning officers:
15Scotland).
Northern Ireland The Chief Electoral Officer for Northern
Ireland.

(2) References in this Act to a petition officer are to a petition officer under this
section.

(3) 20Schedule 1 contains more about petition officers.

7 Where and from when the recall petition may be signed

(1) Where the petition officer for a constituency receives a Speaker’s notice, the
officer must, as soon as reasonably practicable, designate—

(a) a place, or places, at which a recall petition is to be made available for
25signing, and

(b) a day from which the petition is to be made available for signing.

(2) A maximum of 4 places may be designated under subsection (1)(a).

(3) The petition officer must, in determining which place or places to designate
under subsection (1)(a), seek to ensure—

(a) 30that all persons entitled to sign the recall petition have such reasonable
facilities for signing it as are practicable in the circumstances, and

(b) that, so far as is reasonable and practicable, every place designated is
accessible to disabled persons.

(4) The petition officer must designate under subsection (1)(b)

(a) 35the day which is the 10th working day after the day on which the officer
received the Speaker’s notice, or

(b) if it is not reasonably practicable to designate that day, the first
subsequent working day that it is reasonably practicable to designate.

(5) In this Act—

    Recall of MPs BillPage 6

  • “the designated place or places” means the place or places designated
    under subsection (1)(a);

  • “the designated day” means the day designated under subsection (1)(b).

8 Notice of petition to be sent to registered electors

(1) 5As soon as reasonably practicable after determining the designated place or
places and the designated day under section 7, the petition officer must send a
notice of petition in accordance with regulations under section 18—

(a) to such descriptions of persons registered in the register of
parliamentary electors for the constituency as are to be specified in such
10regulations, and

(b) to such other descriptions of persons as may be specified in such
regulations.

(2) Regulations under section 18 must require the notice to contain information
relating to the recall condition which has been met in relation to the MP.

9 15Recall petition to be made available for signing

(1) The petition officer must ensure that the recall petition is made available for
signing throughout the signing period at the designated place or places, and by
post, in accordance with regulations under section 18.

(2) In this Act “the signing period” means the period of 8 weeks beginning with
20the designated day.

(3) The recall petition is made available for signing at the designated place or
places, or by post, by a separate petition signing sheet being available for
signing by each person entitled to sign the petition at that place, or by post, in
accordance with regulations under section 18.

(4) 25The wording of a petition signing sheet must include the following—

“By signing in the box below, you are signing a petition for [name of the MP],
the MP for [name of constituency], to lose [his/her] seat in the House of Commons,
and for a by-election to be held to decide who should be the MP for that
constituency. The loss of [his/her] seat does not prevent the MP standing in this
30by-election.

If at least 10% of eligible registered electors in the constituency sign the
petition, the MP will lose [his/her] seat in the House of Commons and a by-
election will be held for the constituency. If less than 10% of eligible registered
electors in the constituency sign the petition, the MP will not lose [his/her] seat,
35and a by-election will not be held, as a result of the petition.”

If at least 10% of eligible registered electors in the constituency sign the
petition, the MP will lose [his/her] seat in the House of Commons and a by-
election will be held for the constituency. If less than 10% of eligible registered
electors in the constituency sign the petition, the MP will not lose [his/her] seat,
40and a by-election will not be held, as a result of the petition.”

(5) The Minister may by regulations amend subsection (4).

(6) Regulations under subsection (5) are subject to affirmative resolution
procedure.

10 Persons entitled to sign a recall petition

(1) 45A person is entitled to sign a recall petition on a day during the signing period
if, on that day—

Recall of MPs BillPage 7

(a) the person is registered in the register of parliamentary electors for the
constituency,

(b) the person is aged 18 or over, or the date of his or her 18th birthday is
before the end of the signing period, and

(c) 5the person would be entitled to vote as an elector at a parliamentary
election in the constituency.

(2) Any alteration made to the register of parliamentary electors for the
constituency which takes effect—

(a) after the day on which the Speaker’s notice is given, and

(b) 10on or before the cut-off day,

does not have effect for the purposes of subsection (1)(a) if it results from a late
application for registration.

(3) Any alteration made to the register of parliamentary electors for the
constituency which takes effect after the cut-off day does not have effect for the
15purposes of subsection (1)(a) unless it takes effect under section 13BC(6) of the
Representation of the People Act 1983 (alterations for court orders or errors).

(4) For the purposes of this Act—

(a) “the cut-off day” means the 3rd working day before the beginning of
the signing period, and

(b) 20“late application for registration” means an application for registration
that—

(i) is made after the day on which the Speaker’s notice is given, or

(ii) is treated as made by virtue of section 10A(2) of the
Representation of the People Act 1983 (return of canvass form
25treated as application for registration) in respect of a form
returned after that day.

(5) For the purposes of subsection (1)(c), section 1(1)(a) and (d) of the
Representation of the People Act 1983 (requirement to be registered and of
voting age) are to be disregarded.

(6) 30Schedule 2 inserts section 13BC of the Representation of the People Act 1983
and makes other amendments relating to the alteration of registers of
parliamentary electors.

11 How entitlement to sign a recall petition is to be exercised

(1) A person who is entitled to sign a recall petition may sign it—

(a) 35in person,

(b) by post, or

(c) by proxy,

subject to meeting the requirements of regulations under section 18 about
signing it by that method.

(2) 40A person who is entitled to sign a recall petition may sign it only once.

(3) Once a recall petition has been signed, the signature cannot be withdrawn.

(4) Unless stated otherwise, references in this Act (however expressed) to the
signing of a recall petition by a person are to the person signing it by any of the
methods mentioned in subsection (1) otherwise than as a proxy for another
45person.

Recall of MPs BillPage 8

12 Double signing

(1) A person commits an offence if the person signs the same recall petition,
otherwise than by proxy, more than once.

(2) A person commits an offence if the person signs a recall petition in person or
5by post knowing that a person appointed to sign the petition as his or her
proxy—

(a) has already signed the petition in person as his or her proxy, or

(b) in accordance with provision made by regulations under section 18, is
entitled to sign the petition as his or her proxy by post.

(3) 10A person commits an offence if the person signs the same recall petition as
proxy for the same person more than once.

(4) A person commits an offence if the person signs a recall petition as proxy for
another person knowing that the other person has already signed the petition
in person or by post.

(5) 15An offence under this section is treated—

(a) for the purposes of section 169 of the Representation of the People Act
1983 (mode of prosecution and penalty for illegal practices) as an illegal
practice,

(b) for the purposes of section 173 of that Act (incapacities on conviction of
20corrupt or illegal practice) as an illegal practice under section 61 of that
Act (other voting offences),

(c) for the purposes of section 178 of that Act (prosecution of offences
committed outside the United Kingdom) as an offence under that Act,
and

(d) 25for the purposes of section 112 of the Electoral Law Act (Northern
Ireland) 1962 (c. 14 (N.I.)) (incapacities on conviction of corrupt or
illegal practice) as an illegal practice under paragraph 12A of Schedule
9 to that Act (other voting offences).

(6) The court before which a person is convicted of an offence under this section
30may, if it thinks it just in the special circumstances of the case, mitigate or
entirely remit any incapacity imposed by virtue of—

(a) section 173 of the Representation of the People Act 1983, or

(b) section 112 of the Electoral Law Act (Northern Ireland) 1962.

Early termination of recall petition process

13 35Early termination of recall petition process

(1) This section applies where any of the following conditions is met at any time
after the Speaker’s notice is given but before notice of the outcome of the recall
petition has been given under section 14(2)(b).

(2) The first condition is that—

(a) 40the polling day for the next parliamentary general election is brought
forward by virtue of section 2(7) of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act
2011, and

(b) the new day is within the period of 6 months beginning with the day on
which the Speaker’s notice was given.

Recall of MPs BillPage 9

(3) The second condition is that the MP’s seat is vacated (whether by the MP’s
disqualification or death, or otherwise).

(4) The third condition is that, in a case in which the first recall condition was met
in relation to the MP, the conviction, sentence or order in question is
5overturned on appeal.

(5) As soon as reasonably practicable after becoming aware that this section
applies, the Speaker must notify the petition officer that the section applies,
specifying which of the three conditions above has been met.

(6) On the petition officer receiving a notice under subsection (5)

(a) 10sections 7 to 11 cease to apply in relation to the recall petition, and

(b) no further action is to be taken under or by virtue of this Act in relation
to the process relating to the signing of the recall petition except—

(i) the action required under subsection (7), and

(ii) any action which may be required or permitted by regulations
15under section 18 in relation to the termination of that process.

(7) As soon as reasonably practicable after receiving a notice under subsection (5),
the petition officer must—

(a) take such steps as the officer considers necessary to terminate the
process relating to the signing of the recall petition, and

(b) 20give a public notice of the termination of that process in accordance
with regulations under section 18.

(8) The Speaker must lay before the House of Commons any notice given under
subsection (5).

Outcome of recall petition

14 25Determination of whether recall petition successful

(1) This section applies unless the petition officer has received a notice under
section 13(5) (early termination of recall petition process).

(2) As soon as reasonably practicable after the end of the signing period, the
petition officer must—

(a) 30determine whether the recall petition was successful,

(b) notify the Speaker that the recall petition was successful or
unsuccessful, as the case may be, and

(c) having done that, give a public notice of the outcome of the recall
petition in accordance with regulations under section 18.

(3) 35For the purposes of this Act, a recall petition is successful if the number of
persons who validly sign the petition is at least 10% of the number of eligible
registered electors.

“The number of eligible registered electors” is the number of persons
registered in the register of parliamentary electors for the constituency on the
40last day of the signing period excluding those who, according to their entry in
the register, are aged under 18 on that day.

“The number of eligible registered electors” is the number of persons
registered in the register of parliamentary electors for the constituency on the
last day of the signing period excluding those who, according to their entry in
45the register, are aged under 18 on that day.

(4) Any alteration made to the register of parliamentary electors for the
constituency which takes effect—

(a) after the day on which the Speaker’s notice is given, and