Under-fire Walker backs 'recall' sanction for errant MPs
EMBATTLED MSP Bill Walker says he is in favour of moves to allow the removal of politicians who fall foul of the electorate.
The UK Government is looking at proposals to allow voters to kick out their sitting MP if they are guilty of serious wrongdoing and say they would consider expanding it to the Scottish Parliament.
The 'recall' plans would see errant MPs forced to face a by-election if a percentage of a constituency's voters signed a petition calling for it.
Mr Walker, who has been at the centre of refuted allegations of domestic abuse from his former wives, has no intention of giving up his seat despite repeated calls from opponents.
However, he supports giving voters the right to cut short the term of office of a sitting MP or MSP.
Mr Walker said, "In principle it's a good idea. It seems fair but it would be so difficult to organise and so expensive.
"They've been talking about it for years and if anything did happen in that regard it would be long after Thomas Docherty's still an MP."
It was Labour's Mr Docherty who raised the issue in the House of Commons relating to the proposal to recall MPs who have disgraced themselves in some way but refuse to stand down.
The issue was highlighted by the case of Mr Docherty's former Labour colleague, Falkirk MP Eric Joyce, convicted of a head-butting offence in a Houses of Parliament bar, disowned by his party but staying on as an independent MP.
There have been similar calls for Mr Walker to resign but he has pointed out that while Mr Joyce is a convicted criminal, he has been found guilty of nothing and he rejects the allegations against him.
However, Mr Docherty called for the proposed right of recall to cover the ongoing case involving Mr Walker.
In the House of Commons, Mr Docherty asked the Leader of the House, Sir George Young, if the UK Government was considering extending proposed recall powers to the Scottish Parliament.
Mr Docherty said, "A number of Scottish newspapers have revealed a shocking history of domestic violence and child-beating by a nationalist MSP, Mr Bill Walker, stretching over 30 years.
"Mr Walker, like all who commit domestic violence acts, has arrogantly refused to take responsibility for his actions and will not resign his seat.
"Will the Leader of the House confirm whether the Government will consult the Scottish Parliament on extending any new provisions for the recall of MPs to MSPs so that my constituents can be represented in the Scottish Parliament by a fit and proper person?"
Responding for the Government, Sir George Young said, "I understand the Hon. Gentleman's concern. He will know that we have published a draft Recall of MPs Bill."
He added, "We have said that we will consider extending recall to the devolved legislatures, including the Scottish Parliament, as part of our overall consideration of responses to the inquiry.
"In the first instance we want to honour our commitment to the recall of MPs but we have not ruled out extending it to the devolved legislatures at a later stage."
Mr Docherty said later, "I am delighted that the UK Government is considering extending the power of recall to cover the Scottish Parliament.
"There is no difference between the mandate of MPs and MSPs and when there is serious wrongdoing by holders of either office, the electorate must have the ability to recall their representatives."
Mr Walker responded, "I've noticed Thomas Docherty spends a lot time commenting on matters that have nothing to do with Westminster.
"I would have thought he would be focusing on the major issues facing the country, not least the financial disaster we have to tackle thanks to the last Labour Government, rather than stick his nose into Holyrood matters."
The Press asked Scottish justice minister Kenny MacAskill about the calls facing Mr Walker to quit when he visited Dunfermline this week.
Mr MacAskill replied, "These are matters for the Parliament. We've made it quite clear as a party that as soon as the information came to light we acted expeditiously. He has been suspended and subsequently expelled.
"The information that has now come to light was not known to the party when he went through the candidate vetting.
"As soon as this information was brought to our attention he was initially suspended and subsequently expelled. There is obviously consideration of an appeal against that decision by Mr Walker.
"Given that, I'm limited in what I can say. Suffice to say that we're here to make it clear that the allegations are matters that have to be dealt with by others but domestic violence and domestic abuse is never acceptable.
"We have a zero-tolerance position as a party and as a government and have been working to see what we can do to improve the lot of those who suffer through domestic violence."
Did he think the controversy would make it more difficult for SNP candidates in the local elections?
"No, I think the history of the SNP is long-standing. We've had candidates and party stalwarts here, from Joe Paterson and Alice McGarry over many years past, to the current contingent and new candidates.
"The party's buoyant. This is an unfortunate situation that's arisen with Bill Walker but the party's bigger than any one individual.
"He's no longer a member of our party and as I say I'm sure the people of Fife will recognise the good work done by individual SNP councillors both in past years or more importantly over recent years."
Mr Walker used his column in the Press today to give an exclusive update on his position regarding appealing against his expulsion from the SNP.
He wrote, "Having considered my options and consulted with family, friends and supporters regarding my recent expulsion (pending appeal) from the SNP, I am now advising SNP headquarters how I wish to proceed with an appeal to the Party."
Have your say. Post a comment on this article.
Apr 29, 21:34
So Mr Docherty would clear the benches of the commons, Lords and make a start on Holyrood? Begging your Rt Hon pardon but is that not why we have periodical elections? In a time of vast budgetary cuts, where the poorest are set to suffer the most are we really going to run up by-election bills?
Mr Walker has not faced any criminal charges, and these allegations stem back some 30 years. So all MP's, and the Lords, and the MSP's convicted, or accused of wrong doing, ever, would have to go? And let us not forget the MEPs.
I'd ask Mr Docherty to do his job and look after our population. To do something to stop the sysem that is the biggest benefit cheat. To concentrate on his constituents demands of Westminster and not to distract himself with local politics.
Mr Walker's case is not decided, the process has not yet ended. We wait the outcome of his appeal. Whatever anyone thinks we will have our say in 4 years time, perhaps sooner. Let us sit back and let due process take its course.
A wise man once said
"If you show me a man that has not made a mistake, I'll show you a man who has done nothing"
Recommend? Yes 4 No 12
Apr 29, 23:14
Apr 30, 07:14
Apr 30, 13:05
Getawaytae is missing a number of points:
The point of recall is to have something in place to deal with extraordinary cases like Walker/Joyce outside of the electoral cycle. Walker, because he hid his depraved past, Joyce because he committed a crime whilst elected. For those who wish to stand for election with criminal/unsavoury pasts, that is a matter for the electorate to decide whether to vote for them or not.
If all of this had been known, the good people of Dunfermline would never have elected him, and I hope the SNP would never have selected him. (oh but wait but Nicola Sturgeon knew in 2008).
His expulsion and appeal is purely as to whether he filled in a form correctly or not.
Fairly pathetic defence of Walker to complain about whether the MP can speak about this or not. Docherty is far from the only person calling on him to go. Politicians of all political parties (except the SNP) at council, Scottish and Westminster are calling for him to go. Many individuals, nearly every single media outlet are calling for him to go. At lets not forget his son, step daughter and 3 out of 4 wives are calling on him to go.
No he hasnt faced criminal charges (yet), but these 'allegations' have been made repeatedly in courts of law and he has been criticised at least twice by judges. Additionally his son wrote at length about his experiences in a newspaper last week. This is hardly tittle tattle.
You finish up with a quote about a man making a mistake. A mistake is something that happens once. Walker is accused of rape and is alleged to have beaten 3 out of 4 wives and a number of children and step children over decades, then kept it a secret in order to get elected to parliament. I think "a mistake" is somewhat of an understatement.
Recommend? Yes 23 No 2
Apr 30, 13:13
He has been masquerading as an MSP for far too long.Are his constituents being properly and fairly represented by him at this time? What will he be remembered for....these abuse claims? or his homophobia? or his high hedges bill?
Even the Nationalist Party are washing their hands of him.His hideously repugnant stance towards gay marriage was bad enough,now this.
Let us not forget this man and his then party scraped in with a majority of less than 600 votes.Given the chance I'm sure the Fife electorate would happily show this man the door.
Recommend? Yes 24 No 3
Apr 30, 18:31
Justsayin, thank you for your patronising comment. I have not missed a thing. Allegations are not proof, and while a process going on we should not comment on a specific case.
Starting with Joyce how many of our elected representitives are convicts? Ther was one a Lord who was a drug addict, he may well still sit. Let us consider those already convicted.
Recommend? Yes 2 No 15
Apr 30, 20:16
May 1, 11:10