You can expel an MP for fiddling expenses – but not violence or misogyny. Why?
Well, actually, yes, you can suffer a recall petition for violence and even misogyny.
As long as they avoid a custodial sentence, men who assault or harass cannot face recall from Commons. This is a scandal
No, actually, it’s not a scandal.
Mandu Reid is leader of the Women’s Equality party
It is, of course, the most dreadful patriarchy to insist that the leader of a political party know anything. It is, sensibly, all about the feelz.
Nor is it possible to recall Damian Green, who admitted to lying about the thousands of pornographic images on his Commons computer and was accused of sexual harassment by a Tory party activist. Or Jared O’Mara, who made misogynistic and homophobic comments online in his 20s, including inviting the members of Girls Aloud to an orgy. Or any of the 20 other MPs, MSPs and assorted politicians who were accused of misconduct ranging from unwanted sexual advances to rape during the 2017 “Pestminster” scandal.
Amazingly, we don’t fire nor jail people on the basis of allegations. We prefer – Lordy Be how mansplaining of me to introduce the word testimony, derived as it is from testes – to wait until conviction.
Those men continue to sit in our democratic institutions, voting on legislation that affects women’s lives. They work in Westminster, where one in five employees have reportedly experienced harassment. And while a few have been suspended from their parties, the public has no power to recall them from their position as elected representatives.
There is always that power at the next election.
Under the Recall of MPs Act 2015 constituents can recall their MP if they receive a custodial sentence, if they are banned from the House of Commons for 10 sitting days (which only happens if they’ve previously been banned for a shorter period) or if they are convicted of providing a misleading expenses claim.
Yes, quite so. Therefore, if someone is convicted of violence or misogyny, receiving a custodial sentence for it, then they can suffer a recall petition.
The point about conviction rather than allegation should be obvious. The one about the sentence might be a little more mysterious but there’s a hint. We consider some crimes more serious than others. Thus the difference in sentence for them.
For example, perjury – off to jail with you as both Jeffrey Archer and Jonathan Aitken found out. Because that is a serious crime – the judicial system doesn’t work if people lie on oath.
Telling some bird to piss off might be misogyny – depends why you said it – and it might even be a crime. But it’s not a crime of the same seriousness. Therefore no jail sentence follows.
That’s how it works. Punching a bird is both misogyny – well, it could be – and violence. And if could be a crime either way – not if it was in self defence say. But even then there are different standards of seriousness of crime here. Affray, GBH, ABH even manslaughter – yes, so sexist – in the extreme. Each different version of the violence visited upon a woman having a gradation of sentence.
Because this is what we do in the real world, agree and accept that we need to have a sense of proportion. But then of course it’s difficult for a woman to grasp that, isn’t it?
As it happens around here we’d support any 10% of the electorate being able, to start a recall petition for any reason and none. But that doesn’t mean that we’re going to support this sort of drivel from the Women’s Equality Party nor its leader.