A proposed member's bill to introduce new grounds for removing an MSP from office, and new processes for removal, has been put out to public consultation.

The proposal, in the name of Graham Simpson, Conservative member for Central Scotland, would allow removal where an MSP does not participate in parliamentary proceedings for a set period (perhaps six months as for local councillors) without a valid reason, or receives a prison sentence for a term "substantially lower" than the current threshold of one year.

Mr Simpson cites as cases where the Parliament was unable to act, that of former Finance Secretary Derek Mackay, who remained an MSP for 15 months apparently without taking part in any parliamentary business, after resigning from the cabinet in 2020 over inappropriate communications with a 16 year old boy; and Bill Walker, sentenced to a year in prison in 2013 on charges of domestic assault and breach of the peace.

He also invites views on bringing in a recall system such as can now be applied to MPs at Westminster, under which voters can trigger a by-election in certain circumstances, while recognising that the different electoral system for the Scottish Parliament may make this more complicated.

Click here to access the consultation. The final date for responses is Wednesday 13 April 2020.