North Lanarkshire Tories are encouraging the public to share their views on a proposed ‘removal and recall’ bill in the Scottish Parliament.
The plans, which have also been referred to as Mackay’s Law, will allow for the dismissal of an MSP if they fail to take part in parliamentary proceedings for more than six months without a valid reason.
Mackay’s Law refers to former Scottish Government Finance Secretary, Derek Mackay, who resigned from that role in February 2020 and continued to collect his salary until the May 2021 election, despite not turning up or voting at Holyrood.
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Central Scotland list MSP Meghan Gallacher told Lanarkshire Live : “I am proud to be supporting the bill brought forward by my Scottish Conservative colleague Graham Simpson.
“The vast majority of MSPs enter politics for the right reasons – to serve their constituents well – but there have been cases where members have abused their position and fallen short of the standards people expect of them.
“This bill will address that and provide the levers to remove MSPs who don’t fulfil their parliamentary duties.”
The bill would also guarantee the automatic removal from office of any MSP sentenced to a prison sentence, regardless of its length.
Mr Mackay quit Nicola Sturgeon’s cabinet in February 2020 after bombarding a 16-year-old boy with 270 online messages.
The 44-year-old was suspended by the SNP but clung on as an independent MSP for Renfrewshire North and West.
He pocketed around £157,000 from the taxpayer before finally stepping down at last May’s election.
Labour and the Lib Dems have previously said Mr Simpson’s plan was worthy of consideration.
But he will need the backing of the SNP or their Green coalition partners to push through the reforms.
Wishaw councillor Bob Burgess told us : “As a councillor in North Lanarkshire, if I did not attend a meeting without a valid reason within a six-month period, it would trigger a by-election and I would be removed from my elected position.
“I feel that the same should apply to MSPs, as they hold an elected office and are expected to fulfil their duties, just as an elected councillor.”
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