The Government should “urgently” review the legal mechanisms available to Parliament to expel convicted MPs in light of the Fiona Onasanya scandal, the former head of the Commons standards watchdog has said.

Sir Kevin Barron, the former chairman of the committee on standards, has called on ministers to consider tightening legislation so that MPs who receive a prison sentence lasting more than 10 days should face expulsion from Parliament.

The senior Labour figure said it was “absurd” that MPs can only be automatically ousted from Parliament after receiving a year-long prison sentence, as set out in The Representation of the People Act 1981.

The people who should decide the membership of the Commons are the voters. And only the voters.

Not the police, prosecutors nor courts.

Think of it from the view of power. Imagine a more than usually unscrupulous PM. Who faces some rebels within their own party. A quick series of arrests for minor stuff – look, selling a bendy banana carries a theoretic 6 months inside as a possible sentence. – and rebels are gone, by elections held. You can make up your own variations on this.

So, who wants to give the centre of politics this power? Who doesn’t think that some in Momentum wouldn’t happily use this against Blairites?

I’m even against that 12 months as in the Rep the Peeps Act.

There’s an election every 5 years at least. That’s when to decide.

34 thoughts on “No”

  1. I agree. If the voters want a convicted black fraudster and liar to represent them as MP, they should be free to get one.

    And everyone else should be free to draw their own conclusions as to why.

  2. I think this is correct in principle, though countries that give legislative representatives complete immunity from prosecution are likely going too far (think what kind of applicant that attracts, and why the octogenarians and nonagenarians among them are still so loathe to stand down and give up their protection).

    Still raises the question of what to do if the PM does dole out a bunch of prosecutions with, say, 6 month or 3 year sentences – as you say, the lower end stuff might be all too easy these days. There are some horrifying statistics that do the rounds occasionally about the percentage of Brits who have committed criminal offences at some point in our lives, albeit the majority of us never get prosecuted for them. I’m dubious how accurate they are, as “Have you committed crime X?” is a tough question to poll people on and get honest answers for. Anybody here got a realistic-looking figure?

    While MPs are locked up, they’re not able to represent their constituents effectively, so it’s not as if a “no chucking out of office” rule is doing the electors a favour on that front. But what’s a workable alternative? There are some proposals that MPs going on parental leave should be able to nominate a proxy to represent their constituents while they’re away – something I’m not mad keen on because it means voters being represented by someone we didn’t get the chance to vote for. Indeed, if we did get to elect the stand-in, they might as well take over the job since they’re the one now holding the most recent electoral mandate. Nevertheless, perhaps some sort of nominated proxy could work for the duration of an MP’s imprisonment?

  3. If memory serves, one of the plot ideas in The Wire, is that plenty of politicians and a variety of other nice respectable middle-class people could be had up for mortgage fraud if only the police decided it was opportune to look in depth at their financial affairs. Parents loaning them money on their deposit when they were in their twenties but this not being declared to the bank, or some such? Not sure how universal that issue is but I’m sure most politicians would start to sweat hard if a crack team of forensic accountants, lawyers and analysts were to delve deeply into all their historic personal and business dealings.

    @Julia For better or worse, I fear we’ve all got to put up with being represented by liars – any completely honest and open politician being immediately destined for an exciting new career as a failed ex-politician. Whether the colour of a convicted criminal was black, white, brown or luminous green would bother me infinitely less than what they were convicted of and whether they’d made a right mug of me had I voted for them. Or more to the point, voted somewhat unenthusiastically for their party but been lumbered with an utterly crap candidate I had to put the cross against the name of – the perennial dilemma of the British electoral system…

  4. My local council has somehow managed to bar one of the members from all council meetings, meaning that after six months they cease to be a councillor. Where I used to live the local council tried to get an opposition councillor jailed for protesting against council policy.

  5. And if the electors really really don’t want to to be represented by their MP they can use the new recall procedure to kick them out. And if they really really really want to keep them, the expelled MP is allowed to re-stand.

  6. I like Pat’s idea. An immediate by-election where the relevant MP can stand again sounds about right to me. To solve Tim’s concern, the MP’s party not to be allowed to field any other candidate.

  7. Were I PM any POS MP who acts against a full and proper Brexit WOULD be arrested in the HoC and would certainly have a nasty and painful accident on their way to the cells.

    As for the lying bitch–your suggestion Tim gives those scum even more power to do as they please after a every SOS election. We want vastly LESS of that not more. Automatic by-election plus instant recall elections against ANY scummy MP at any time . Such that ALL remainiac MP would be out on their arses by now.

    To avoid harassment recall attempts, at every election the pukes would have to put up a list of policies that –if they fail to follow through on–provide grounds for an arse-kicking recall. Most ZanU/BluLabour traitors would be at hazard because of their false promises to support Brexit.

  8. JGH–My understanding of the “recall” crap is that there are all kinds of bullshit rules that largely ensure that unless the MP is –say–caught in the act of eating a freshly-murdered child, there is little chance of any recall vote taking place.

  9. Agree entirely Tim, only the electors get to decide who represents them.

    What about members of the Lords who serve time though?

  10. Meanwhile, in the real world, the rules are for Republicans. Democrats can do whatever they want.

    That Fiona Onasanya was a member of Labour, and still prosecuted, is strange to me. Perhaps UK justice isn’t quite as political as U.S. justice.

    ‘She is contemplating the ruin of a career that included her public aspiration to become Britain’s first black female prime minister.’ – Guardian

    This would make her untouchable in the U.S. – unless she were Republican.

  11. Is this the same one with the drug dealing son and who threatens journalists with bats or a different one?

    I can’t keep up with Labour MPs.

  12. A different one John.

    The scenario Tim outlines is exactly what happened in Malaysia a few years back.

  13. Was that the one in Malaysia where they accused the guy of sodomy before he could get elected? I remember recently in Indonisia they also did some governer for blasphamy before he got too powerful.

    Reminds me… Years ago I was sat in a car with this beautiful Malay girl in Singapore. Just friendly… old family friend going back like three or four generations now and she told me that if we were doing this (just sitting there) over the border we’d be arrested.

  14. damn.. now i cant stop thinking about her. name is Ayu and she was so beautiful and liberal. Told me she only wore her headscarf when driving back from the bars so the police wouldn’t stop her. I was totally in love.

    Married a Malay and has gone full Islam now. Oh well.

  15. Gamecock: She was convicted of perverting the course of justice. No-one gets a free pass on that one over here. It almost certainly means a custodial sentence. She would have done better with drugs or fraud, probably.

  16. @Gamecock

    In Fiona Onasanya’s first trial the CPS (Prosecution) summing up was – made a mistake, honest, hard working, caring, community, family, busy, confused…

    TPTB didn’t want a guilty verdict.

  17. @MBE

    Everyone who drives will have broken the law many times – underinflated tyres, blown bulb, speeding, yellow box…

    Quite likely everyone has committed fraud, obtaining goods by deception, tax evasion…

  18. @ Pcar
    Driving offences almost certainly every driver will have broken the law by accident (and often deliberately because it is safer to do so if the car behind is going at 75-80 mph), but deliberate crimes NO. I for one have never committed a deliberate non-driving crime nd I expect many other will agree.

  19. I think that the idea that miscreant MPs should have to face a by election is the best suggestion. This would guard against the abuse of the law by those who want people that they disagree with removed. I do worry that the electorate who would get to decide are the same people who re-elected hundreds of thieves in the wake of the expenses scandal.

  20. @john77

    Never paid tradesman etc cash? Not told a white lie for a discount/price reduction? Bought something that was mispriced?

    More importantly not “deliberately” does not negate a crime, that’s the point Tim W and MBE made.

    Example: EU – bananas must be displayed in hands of 3-5(?); if you remove one from a hand of three to buy it you are complicit (joint enterprise/art&part) in retailer breaking law.

  21. @Pcar

    Paying cash is not a crime. Only the other day I bought a Mars Bar in Tesco for cash. Not a crime. The crime is committed if the recipient doesn’t declare it.


    Ha ha. You only broke the law by accident. Tell Plod that. You go faster than the speed limit because you aren’t paying attention to the speed you should be driving at. You know the law requires you to keep to speed limit. You’ve chosen to give priority to something else. That’s a choice not an accident.

    And you are such an experienced driver you know when it’s safer to break the speed limit than keep to it? Yeah, me too. I razz up and down the road outside the local primary school at 90mph because I know that the faster I go the quicker I get past a danger situation.

  22. I dunno. I think that those who make the lawshould be held to a higher standard than the rest of us. Unfortunately the rest of us continue to vote for expenses thieves, liars and hypocrites. Part of the problem is that there are way too many politicians to vet properly and they are able to perform favours for everyone in receipt of government ie taxpayers money. Shrink the state and disbar everyone dependent on it from voting!

  23. Surreptitious Evil

    More importantly not “deliberately” does not negate a crime, that’s the point Tim W and MBE made.

    Thankfully, not universally true.

    The requirement for “mens rea” to make an act a crime, while not universal, is sufficiently well engrained in the common law system that we call out “strict liability” offences as such and, often, point out the injustices they create.

    And, I would point out the large range of lesser offences that exist where the act itself should be punishable but the deliberateness is either not there or difficult to prove – manslaughter rather than murder, for example.

  24. There are some horrifying statistics that do the rounds occasionally about the percentage of Brits who have committed criminal offences at some point in our lives, albeit the majority of us never get prosecuted for them.

    You can thank that cunt Blair for that.

  25. Ignorance of the law used to be no excuse.

    Today, the Congressional Record, the log of laws and regs created by the Federal government now numbers 177,000 pages. It is absolutely impossible for any American to be innocent.

  26. She’s also a solicitor, and the courts don’t look lightly on solicitors who pervert the course of justice, and neither do the solicitor’s guild. The court will want to bang her up hard to make an example, and the guild will want to strip her of her ability to solicitorise to also make an example.

    Tho’, she’s going to appeal all the way to the rope, so it’s going to drag on a while.

  27. I agree withTim’s warning of the way this can be misused
    But the current situation is not ideal: removing an MP and forcing a by-elextion is easy, but doing it legally however…
    What sort of action does that incentive structure encourage?

    There’s also the issue a that an MP in prison cannot do their job, so their constituents are disenfranchised until the next GE.
    That happened in the last “it was my wife driving ” MP case.

    An immediate byelection isneeded. If the MP is good and popular, ir the charge an obvious fabrication, they can still win and continue. The voters decide.

  28. @Pcar “Never paid tradesman etc cash?”

    That is not a crime. Show me the statute that says it is. I don’t prepare my plumber’s tax returns.

  29. @Alex

    Perhaps I should phrased it as:

    “Offered to pay cash – in hope/expectation of a lower price”
    Accepted an “I can do it for £x Cash” offer

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