Members of Parliament might soon be forced to do something many of them haven’t thought about for years: consider the views of their constituents.
Michael Simpson, a researcher for Conservative MP Tim Loughton, has set up Note My Vote, a website where people can vote on forthcoming legislation. Mr Simpson, 28, will send the results, broken down by constituency, to every MP a few days before they vote in the House of Commons. Mr Simpson believes it will make MPs more “accountable” to their constituents.
“Working for an MP I realised that there wasn’t a platform where people could have a direct influence in democracy. MPs will have a concise statistic on how people feel about an issue. It is also about making MPs more accountable to their constituents.
“There are some very effective MPs who do listen to their constituents, but maybe sometimes it’s difficult for them as there is no platform for them to know whether their constituents are for or against a particular issue.”
The website will formally launch on 26 September, with a poll on the EU Referendum Bill, which MPs will vote on next month. This will show how many constituencies really have an appetite for an in-out referendum on the UK’s continued membership of the EU.
A second poll will be held on the Wild Animals in Circuses Bill. This aims to prohibit the use of wild animals in circuses, though there is unlikely to be sufficient Parliamentary time for it to become law before the general election.
Note My Vote has been piloted largely in Mr Loughton’s East Worthing and Shoreham constituency in West Sussex, with broader questions over Scottish independence rather than legislation.
More than half of the 212 people who voted in East Worthing and Shoreham said that they wanted to see border controls between Scotland and the rest of the UK if the union is broken-up after this week’s referendum. More than three-quarters of them also said that there should be no currency union with Scotland and 79.91 per cent want an English assembly to be established in the event of independence.
Mr Simpson, who funded the operation himself, is now crowdsourcing to raise further money for the project.Reuse content