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Oct 2nd, 2014

38 Degrees members at Conservative party conference

By Rebecca Falcon

On Tuesday, 38 Degrees members took the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham by storm. Twenty of us were there handing out leaflets to party-members walking in and out of the conference. We told party-members to support a real recall law – that would give voters the power to sack MPs who don’t do their job properly.

38 Degrees members have helped write a new law that would give voters these powers – and MPs will soon be voting on it. Together, we were trying to persuade the Conservatives to back our people-powered law – and prove that ordinary people won’t accept anything less.

MPs and candidates say they want to build trust in politicians. If that’s true, they need to give us the power to hold any ‘bad apple’ MPs to account. Getting as much support as possible for a recall law from within Tory ranks is vital. Their votes and the pressure they can bring could be what wins this.

Normally the space outside the conference is full of lobbyists and party members. Our presence handing out leaflets was a reminder to politicians walking in who they’re really accountable to.

Our leaflets were also advertising the 38 Degrees event taking place that evening – to explain the details of our people-powered recall law. Recall is a controversial topic for some politicians and the event was banned from the conference itself by the Conservative high command! Instead, it happened in a hotel next door.

But 38 Degrees members weren’t going to be locked out. Together, we wrote to our MPs and Conservative candidates asking them to come, to see where they stood – and how many would put the wishes of their voters first.

The line-up of speakers was full of people that Conservatives would listen to – who are all already behind the campaign. The head of the TaxPayer’s Alliance was on the panel, so was the Telegraph’s senior political correspondent and Zac Goldsmith, a Conservative MP.

It was a great opportunity to set out exactly why voters deserve a real recall law. Several PPCs – people standing to be future Conservative MPs – came along to the event after receiving invitations from their constituents. One PPC also spoke about the need to extend powers of recall to local councillors too.

The panel explained how real recall is the minimum of democratic change that we need. It was firmly put that most MPs listen to their constituents and do a good job, and that this law is about weeding out the bad apples, who let the whole side down.

The whole event was live tweeted on the 38 Degrees Twitter account. You can read all the top comments made here.

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