Scots urged to have their say before consultation on 'Mackay's law' closes

Scots are being urged to have their say on a new law to remove MSPs who fail to carry out their duties, before a consultation closes tomorrow.

The Scottish Conservatives said “Mackay’s Law” will allow for the dismissal of MSPs who fail to take part in parliamentary proceedings for more than six months without a valid reason.

There are currently no levers in place for constituents to remove a politician from Holyrood.

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The issue came under the spotlight in 2020 following the resignation of former SNP finance secretary Derek Mackay, who quit after it emerged he had bombarded a 16-year-old boy with messages.

Former SNP minister Derek Mackay resigned in disgrace in February 2020. Picture: Andy Buchanan / AFP via Getty Images

Despite disappearing from public view, he clung on as an MSP until the Holyrood election the following year.

Mackay’s Law, which is formally titled the Removal from Office and Recall Bill, would bring the Scottish Parliament into line with local authorities who already have this rule in place for councillors.

The Bill would also ensure the automatic removal from office of any MSP sentenced to a prison term regardless of the length of sentence.

Tory MSP Graham Simpson, who is bringing forward the legislation, said: “This is the last chance for Scots to have their say on whether MSPs who fail to carry out their duties should still get a taxpayer paycheque.

“The vast majority of MSPs enter politics to serve their constituents to the best of their ability – but, as the case of Derek Mackay highlighted, in all parties there may be members who have abused their position or failed to meet the high standards expected of them.

“This Bill will provide the levers to remove them from office and ensure that Scottish taxpayers are never again left paying for an empty seat in Holyrood.

“I believe this is a common-sense law that will give the Scottish public the power to remove their representatives for wrongdoing – but I also want to hear your views.

"So far, we have received an encouraging number of responses to our consultation, but I would urge any Scots who haven’t yet responded to share their views on the Bill.

“In that way, we can make sure that the Bill we put forward to the Scottish Parliament fully represents the needs and priorities of Scottish constituents, when it comes to holding their MSPs to account.”

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