Green Party calls for residents’ right to recall councillors

The Association of Green Councillors has called for a democratic right of recall for residents to remove a councillor.

The Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has proposed adding new restrictions to people who want to stand for their local council at the parish, town or any other level.

It is proposnig to disqualify any councillor who

1 Has been issued with an ASBO

2. Has been put on the sex offenders register

The DCLG does not give any reasons for what it calls this “update” of the legislation. But the AGC suspects it may have been triggered by recent local headlines concerning a parish councillor in Saddleworth who refused to resign after he was put on the sex offenders register. The news aroused the anger of residents, fellow parish councillors and the local MP expressed sympathy with their cause.

The AGC, in its response to the proposals, stated that allowing a democratic right of recall for voters would be a better solution than adding more restrictions.

The Green Party and the AGC believe the people themselves should decide whether someone represents them, not those already in a position of power – ie the courts, the police, or the ruling administration of a council.

“We believe that the current weak Recall of MPs Act 2015 should be strengthened so that it is easier for the electorate to trigger it and extended to cover all elected representatives. That would allow Saddleworth residents to democratically remove the councillor concerned, strengthening democracy rather than running the risk of undermining it. Accountability to the electorate is the most important principle for elected representatives to follow, not the decisions of police officers or courts sometimes years in the past.”

The AGC also asked the Government to explain why the restrictions should apply only to local government and not to MPs.

Our full response can be read here


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