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OPINION: ‘We need recall petition both for MPs and local councillors’



The Andrew Brigden story is one that I find really frustrating.

Let’s be clear what he did. As an elected member of the House of Commons he peddled misinformation about the Covid vaccine, not as a one-off, but on a number of occasions.

The result of all of this is that he has been suspended by the Conservative Party.

Some will think he has now been punished. But he hasn’t.

Andrew Bridgen will sit on the back benches for a period of about 6 months or so and, if he toes the line and votes appropriately then he will get the whip back and all will be normal.

My issue is that MPs are supposed to be able to weigh up evidence and come up with sensible conclusions.

Sometimes those conclusions may differ from those of others – that is what politics is about – but they should still stand up to some sort of robust scrutiny.

Andrew Bridgen’s views about Covid do not, and the reality check article by the BBC is clear evidence.

Basically, they amount to misinformation which, by the nature of Andrew Bridgen’s position, may influence people and cause harm – to the point where people may lose their lives.

So, basically the end result of these lies is virtually no punishment. It is another example of failing politics and another reason for political renewal in the UK.

My view is, if some sort of independent scrutiny came to the same conclusion that I have above, a recall petition should be opened, that way his constituents can decide whether they want him as their MP.

If they don’t a by-election can then be called (under Proportional Representation a different system would probably apply).

Finally, I would add that I would support a similar process for councillors.

There are a few councillors who have expressed some foul views about Covid (and other issues), and it is really hard to hold councillors to account for misinformation, when the only real punishment they receive is a slap on the wrist, an instruction to issue an apology and maybe some training.

If councillors’ views are proven to be without foundation and likely to cause harm, they too should be accountable through recall.



Martin Curtis is a former Conservative Fenland District and Cambridgeshire County councillor.

He was leader of Cambridgeshire County Council from 2013/14.

He says on his new blog, that “if the last couple of years has taught us one thing, it is that our political system is broken.

“Both major political parties are divided, parliament refuses to govern itself effectively and politicians are increasingly chasing select groups of individuals whilst largely ignoring the core voters that they believe they can rely on.

“One result of this last issue is that the focus is increasingly away from core issues to issues which those who engage in politics from the edge of the acceptable spectrum are interested in – whether that is immigration, punishing success and wealth or obsessing with low taxation.

​“Change from the Centre has been set up to stimulate debate about political change, based on centre-ground thinking.

“This includes the need for top-to bottom structural change, based on the clear need for Proportional Representation but also a need to refocus so that focus is firmly on core issues like education, health, and social care and especially the need to focus on prevention.

“The future of our country will never, ever be built around the rights and wrongs of asylum. Nor will it be helped by an unjust obsession with punitive taxation on the wealthy.

“It will be built on an innovative economy, excellent public services, and a focus on “right taxation” rather than ‘low taxation’.

​“Change from the Centre will never pretend that we have a monopoly on right ideas – but we will put forward our ideas and thoughts as way of stimulating public debate and ensuring that change is at the heart of the political agenda in the run up to the next General Election”.




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