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Sep 29th, 2009

We’ve just had a big campaign success

By JohnnyChatterton

A few minutes ago Gordon Brown announced that the he intends to “give constituents the right to recall their Member of Parliament.”

This is great news – we’ve been campaigning for a Recall Law since we launched in May.

I wanted to share this email which David just sent out to all our members.

Dear Johnny,

We wanted to tell you about what we think is probably 38 Degrees’ biggest success to date. We’re excited about it!

We’ve been campaigning together for a Recall Law since we launched back in May. A Recall Law would give us new powers to hold our MPs to account. It would mean local voters would be able to come together to call a fresh vote where an MP has lost their trust. At the moment local voters are stuck with their MPs until the next General Election no matter what they do.

Today, Gordon Brown announced plans for a Recall Law. [1] We still don’t know all the details, but clearly this is huge progress. As more details do emerge we’ll need to analyse them and think together what more we need to do to make sure we really do get new powers to hold MPs to account.

There’ll probably be more for us to do together on this campaign, but today it’s worth celebrating the impact we’ve had together. When we started campaigning on Recall it was not really on the agenda at all. Within hours of launching our campaign, 1000s of us had signed the petition.

The first time Justice Minister Jack Straw accepted that Recall “should be looked at”, it was in response to us appearing on BBC News. By the time we handed the first 6,000 signatures to party leaders at the end of June, we’d forced Recall up the political agenda.[2] There’s no doubt that all the campaigning we’ve done together – the petition, the emails to MPs, and the media coverage – have helped push Brown to make today’s announcement.

Back in June, 38 Degrees members took part in a poll on reforming politics. We agreed that new rules tomake MPs more transparent about their activities and more accountable to their voters were key. We made a Recall Law and Lobbying Transparency our key campaigns in response to the MP expenses scandal. Together we’re having an impact, on political reform but also on other important issues like Public Services and the BBC. As MPs return to parliament in a couple of weeks we’ll need to work together to maintain the pressure.

People power is working, together we made this happen. As we grow bigger over time we’ll have more and more impact.

Thanks for all that you do,

David, Hannah, Johnny, Nina and the 38 Degrees Team


A few other exciting things that have happened this week:

Two former cabinet ministers have echoed our calls for the renewal of the Trident nuclear weapons system to be scrapped. David Blunkett and Alan Milburn made their comments separately at the Labour Party Conference. Over 5,000 of us have now got involved with this campaign. If you’ve not already done so you can add your voice here: http://38degrees.org.uk/halttrident

Our project to find out how MPs spend their Summer Recess from parliament featured in last nights Dispatches on Channel 4. You can watch it here, we’re in the final 10 minutes:http://www.channel4.com/programmes/dispatches/4od#2972656

In Scotland, we’ve passed 10,000 signatures for our campaign to stop local families being forced off their homes to make way for a golf course which Donald Trump wants to build. You can get involved with that here: http://www.38degrees.org.uk/donaldtrump/


[1] Brown said: “And so where there is proven financial corruption by an MP and in cases where wrong-doing has been demonstrated but Parliament fails to act we will give constituents the right to recall their Member of Parliament.”

Speech in full is here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/sep/29/gordon-brown-labour-conference-speech-in-full

Article about it here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/sep/29/gordon-brown-recall-errant-mps

[2] Here’s the blog post we wrote at the time: http://blog.38degrees.org.uk/2009/06/18/one-down-two-to-go-%e2%80%93-nick-clegg-accepts-our-call-for-a-right-to-recall-your-mp/

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