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A proper recall bill could have saved former Norwich MP Ian Gibson - UKIP MP claims

15:51 21 October 2014

UKIP

UKIP's Douglas Carswell delivers his speech during the UKIP annual conference at Doncaster racecourse in South Yorkshire. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire.

Archant

Former Norwich MP Ian Gibson would have kept his seat during the expenses scandal if there had been a proper recall mechanism in place, UK Independence Party MP Douglas Carswell has claimed.

The University of East Anglia graduate said Dr Gibson had been judged by his party whips to be guilty - but if it had been put to the people of Norwich, he would have been “exonerated”.

Dr Gibson, who was MP for Norwich North between 1997 and 2009, was caught up in the expenses scandal and resigned as an MP after being barred from standing as a Labour candidate at the 2010 general election by the party’s “star chamber”

In a debate into a bill to provide more powers to voters to get rid of their MP, Mr Carswell, who has known Dr Gibson for over 20 years, said he was a “good and decent” man.

“More to the point, I know the people of Norwich, a city I know well, know what a good and decent man he is,” Mr Carswell told the House of Commons.

“Yet he was thrown to the wolves by the whips at the height of the expenses scandal, after a couple of awkward headlines. He was judged by his party whips to be guilty. But perhaps his real guilt was to fail to sign on someone’s nomination papers,” he said.

Mr Carswell claimed that had there been a “proper” recall mechanism in place, he was “absolutely certain” Dr Gibson would have been “exonerated by people who knew him best - the Norwich voters”.

But Tory MP Richard Drax said that MPs who had been involved in the expenses scandal should have resigned as a matter of honour.

Under current rules, MPs must leave parliament if they are given a prison sentence of more than 12 months. But the Government has put forward to new law which would mean that an MP would only face a petition to go if they were given a ban from the Commons by a committee, including MPs, lasting more than 21 sitting days.

North-West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham, who also spoke in the debate in the House of Commons, warned that a “distinction between failure of conduct and professional judgement” had to been drawn. He claimed that had he spoken out in favour of the plans for the King’s Lynn incinerator, which were opposed by 65,000 people in West Norfolk, he could have been “vulnerable to a recall bill cast too widely”.

“Had I been against then their recourse would have been to kick me out at the next election,” he said. “If I had gone against 65,000 people in my consituency, does he not agree with me I would have been vulnerable to a recall bill cast too widely?,” he asked Mr Carswell in the debate.

8 comments

  • @milecross - not so relevant to this thread, but I'm sure that you will be delighted to know that the latest Ipsos-MORI poll finds that the percentage of people wanting to remain IN the EU is at a 23-year high! Only 36% in favour of withdrawal. Bye-bye, xenophobes - UKIP have contaminated the Eurosceptic cause beautifully. Thanks for a good job well done!

    Report this comment

    GoneAway

    Wednesday, October 22, 2014

  • ukip have just been given millions more votes with the news that the goverment have just spent a staggering 850 million on dangerous foreign criminals at a time when millions of brits are living in poverty

    Report this comment

    milecross

    Wednesday, October 22, 2014

  • @PaulH - yep, totally ineffective. You'll remember her scintillating performance when interviewed on Newsnight. Stellar, yes? Simple party clone, nothing more.

    Report this comment

    GoneAway

    Wednesday, October 22, 2014

  • Ineffective ,party hack,get back under the bridge Cuthy.Class will tell next May

    Report this comment

    PaulH

    Tuesday, October 21, 2014

  • Yes PaulH, we do have a thoroughly honest one, albeit nothing more than a party hack and ineffective MP.

    Report this comment

    Cuthbert J. Twillie

    Tuesday, October 21, 2014

  • She his daughter didn't just live in it rent free funded by the taxpayer .He sold it at a knock down price. Right Mr Carswell.let us not get into a debate without knowing the facts.I know the city better than this opinionated politician and nobody repeat nobody likes a deceitful MP.Fortunately we now have a thoroughly honest one in Norwich North at the present in Chloe Smith

    Report this comment

    PaulH

    Tuesday, October 21, 2014

  • Gibbo did it to spite the Labour Party and more power to him. They were going to humiliate him and treat him like a naughty schoolboy so he dropped them right in it. Serves them right. And just what is wrong with having your daughter to stay with you eh? Most MPs have to have two dwellings and both of them should be treated like their home so if he wants his daughter to stay at either house that is his business. He didn't build a duckhouse and invite local ducks to stay did he? More power to you Gibbo. Different politics to me but I'd vote for you on the basis you are a brilliant local representative.

    Report this comment

    alecto

    Tuesday, October 21, 2014

  • It's a bit late now after we have been stuck with that naive school girl for how many years.

    Report this comment

    Cuthbert J. Twillie

    Tuesday, October 21, 2014

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