Peter Hoskin

A litmus test for Cameron’s leadership?

A litmus test for Cameron's leadership?
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Iain Dale flags up a letter in today’s Telegraph written by 27 of the 2005 intake of Tory MPs.  They’re asking for the sanctions that MPs face to be tightened, and even suggest the introduction of US-style recall mechanisms:

"...we do think that consideration should be given to creating a recall mechanism, similar to that used in some US states, to enable constituents to vote on whether they remove their MP during the course of a Parliament.

For example, in California in 2003, a petition was organised calling for the recall of the governor, Gray Davis. Once it was established that a sufficient number of electors had signed the petition, a ballot was held on whether Davis should be recalled. That ballot succeeded, and Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected to replace him...

...a mechanism of this sort used in exceptional circumstances would increase MPs' accountability, address some of the frustration felt by a disenchanted public and help restore trust in our democratic institutions."

Dale regards it as a defiant message to the Conservative old guard; and it also fits in neatly with the anti-Westminster/pro-the-people approach that Cameron peddled in PMQs, and which Guido picked-up on so superbly yesterday. 

It’s a brave move for the Tories.  If everything goes according to plan, the new approach could reinvigorate politics in this country (and be a huge vote-winner in the process).  Alternatively, it might prompt a very public split between the Tories’ tie-less young Turks and their silver-haired forebears (which could well turn the voters away). 

Will the Cameroons' "new politics" rouse the slumbering dragons?  It’s a question that’s gained even more relevance after Lord Tebbit’s letter to the Spectator this week.  And the answer should be a good litmus test for the strength of Cameron’s grip on his party.