Yes, said Charlie's fellow councillors, it's a fine principle. Then they went on to amend the motion so that nothing will be done to make it happen in Bristol. That would be far too complicated!
[Added 30th July]
The amended (and passed) motion:
endorses the conceptsupports in principle the idea of 'recall' for Bristol City councillors. Council calls on the whips and Councillor Bolton to include in their discussions - as agreed at the full council meeting of 31st March - a proposal for the recall of councillors via a voluntary code. Once the details of such a code have been established, all councillors will be invited to subscribe to such a code.
Council further calls on the leader to write to our local MPs and the Prime Minister urging them to bring forward proposals to make 'recall' a requirement at both local and national government levels.]
OK, lets simplify it a bit for them. Recall means the electorate demanding the resignation of a councillor so that a further election can be held. That means a petition being raised among the electors; a figure of 20% of the electorate signing seems about right to demonstrate that the dissatisfaction is real, though that's negotiable.
Here are a few suggested rules to govern a 'recall' procedure.
1. It's voluntary on the part of councillors to commit themselves to 'recall', though the party groups could make it a condition of their backing. If, when elected, a councillor makes a commitment to accept any valid 'recall' bid, that commitment cannot be changed.
2. Any recall petition must be raised by the electorate at its own expense, and in a form that makes it practicable to check signatories' names against the electoral register.
3. Any person, or group, instituting a 'recall' bid should register their intention with the council - and the councillor concerned - beforehand
4. Any promotional literature inviting electors to sign should also be made available to the councillor concerned
5. The costs of mounting the 'recall' bid should be capped in the same way as candidates electoral expenses are.
6. No 'recall' election should be called if the councillor's term of office has less than a year to run.
That's off the top of my head. and no doubt it could be improved. But it's demonstrably do-able. Like me, experienced councillors also gave Charlie's motion some thought, but all they came up with was agreement on the drafting of their disabling amendment.
So why has the council ducked it?