Trust in MPs at crisis point, campaigners say

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Houses of Parliament

Less than a quarter of people trust their MP to represent them in Parliament, a survey has suggested.

It came as 86 out of 100 MPs asked in another survey said they thought they were trusted by constituents.

The polls were published by campaigners calling for changes to the government's Recall of MPs Bill, which goes before the Commons on Tuesday.

The 38 Degrees campaign group said public trust in politicians had sunk to "crisis point".

Under the government's plans, an MP could be recalled after being convicted of an offence and receiving a sentence of 12 months or less.

MPs could also be recalled if they were suspended from the House of Commons for at least 21 sitting days.

'Minimum acceptable'

Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith has said the criteria for recall are "too narrow" and has tabled amendments aimed at making MPs more accountable.

Mr Goldsmith believes an MP should be recalled if 5% of voters in a constituency sign a "notice of intent to recall" and 20% of voters then sign a "recall petition".

Speaking during Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday, David Cameron suggested the government would listen to proposed changes.

He told MPs: "I will look very carefully at all amendments that come forward because, frankly, in getting this Bill together we have come up with the minimum acceptable for recall, but I think there are a lot of very good arguments to be had about how we can go further, and I look forward to having them in the House of Commons."

YouGov carried out the public poll, of more than 1,600 people. Respondents were asked if they trusted their MP to represent them in Parliament - 24% said Yes.

The survey of MPs was carried out by Dods Polling.

Acid test

David Babbs, executive director of 38 Degrees, said: "Giving voters the power to get rid of bad apple MPs would be the first step towards restoring people's faith in politics.

"This vote will be the acid test of whether MPs trust their constituents - or whether they want to keep real power locked within Westminster."

Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the Taxpayers' Alliance, said: "Quite simply, the voters who have the power to hire MPs should also have the right to fire them.

"If MPs want to regain public trust, a vital first step would be to trust voters with real recall powers."