Sir Mike Penning calls for a change in the law so that a Member of Parliament convicted of a crime and imprisoned cannot continue as an MP

31st January 2019

Sir Mike Penning calls for MPs who are convicted of a crime and imprisoned to lose their position as a Member of Parliament citing that if it was a police officer who was convicted they would lose their pensions and everything.

As colleagues around the House know, I am also not enormously party political, and I completely agree with the hon. Member for Gedling (Vernon Coaker) that the House should have been informed.

There is one issue that is bringing this House into disrepute today, and that is the fact that a Member of this House is in prison and continues to be an MP. My constituents and other constituents around the country do not understand how someone can be convicted and go to prison and yet still be a Member of this House. The police officers who protect us here would lose their pensions and lose everything. Something is seriously wrong, so can we have a debate—in the time that it seems we now have—and change the law to ensure that if someone goes to prison, they will not be in this House, so that the public can believe that what we do is right?

My right hon. Friend is quite correct that it is unacceptable for the residents of Peterborough that their Member of Parliament is unable to represent them. Not only is she physically unable to represent them, but she is choosing not to do what I think all right hon. and hon. Members would say is the right thing to do.

Under the Recall of MPs Act 2015, an MP becomes subject to the recall petition process if they are convicted of a criminal offence in the United Kingdom and receive a custodial sentence, including a suspended sentence, which is not the case here. In the event of a criminal conviction, the recall condition will not be met unless the appeal period expires without the conviction, sentence or order having been overturned on appeal. What that means in layman’s terms is that the recall petition process will not be triggered until all appeals are finalised. I agree with my right hon. Friend that it would be right for that Member to stand down to allow her constituents to choose a new Member of Parliament.



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