During the last parliamentary session a disgraced former minister was able to claim his salary and expenses while not even turning up to the Scottish Parliament to represent his constituents. The minister brought the parliament into disrepute but there was no mechanism to remove him as an MSP.
Holyrood should learn from Westminster and introduce a recall rule to address this democratic deficit. A recall petition – that can lead to a by-election – is triggered if an MP receives a custodial prison sentence, is suspended from the House or is convicted of providing false or misleading expenses claims. A similar mechanism should be adopted at Holyrood and built upon to include MSPs who don’t turn up and other actions that don’t live up to what is expected of MSPs.
The Scottish Liberal Democrats and Scottish Conservatives support this. All parties should come together to clean up Holyrood before it happens again.