Swinney can get house in order by introducing 'recall' law to dump dodgy MSPs

John Swinney has ALREADY led the SNP to its first defeat of this Parliament
John Swinney at FMQs -Credit:Jane Barlow/PA Wire

Scandal-hit Westminster is hardly a place that has given democracy a good name in recent years.

Countless MPs have disgraced themselves and the Lords remains a retirement home for cronies. The influence of lobbyists also reeks and the institution of Westminster needs fundamental reform.

One rare positive was when the Commons passed a “recall” law allowing voters to dump dodgy MPs. If certain criteria is met, enough voters can sign a petition and force a by-election.

It was this method that led to the effective sacking of ex-SNP MP Margaret Ferrier and a by-election in Rutherglen and Hamilton West. But despite the success of the recall law, Holyrood has never followed suit.

This meant errant former MSPs such as Derek Mackay and Bill Walker could have brazened it out if they had chosen to sit at home. The case of Michael Matheson and his £11,000 data roaming bill further underscores how badly needed recall is at Holyrood.

Voters should have a way of axing MSPs between elections and the option of recall must be on the table. John Swinney has spoken of his desire to reach out to the opposition and listen to ideas wherever they come from.

He wants a more respectful and collegiate tone at Holyrood, where policies are considered on their merits. The First Minister’s response to the Matheson saga could be to back a recall law for Holyrood.

Bad behaviour is not the preserve of one party and it would be a welcome sign of wanting to clean up politics.

Enough kidding

Sweet candy flavours and brightly coloured packaging have clearly driven the youth vaping pandemic we see in our streets and schools.

E-cigs with flavours such as bubblegum, candyfloss and even Haribo supermix are being cynically marketed
at kids by the unscrupulous and irresponsible vapes industry.

Vaping sector boss John Dunne’s defence to MSPs yesterday that “adults like flavours too” falls flat at a time when a quarter of 15-year-old Scots kids are illegally vaping – and our streets are swamped with disposable e-cigs litter.

Traditional rechargeable vapes are a legitimate and often helpful tool for adult smokers to quit cigarettes. But you’d have to be blind to deny that the explosion in polluting single-use vapes has been fuelled by hooking a new generation of youngsters on nicotine products.

That’s why we’ve campaigned for the ban on disposable vapes that begins next April. And it can’t come soon enough.

Don't miss the latest news from around Scotland and beyond - Sign up to our daily newsletter here.