Saturday, June 26, 2004

Lamb Chickens out of Pre-Election Debates

Here's a press release I have just issued...

LibDem Norman Lamb has snubbed an opportunity to take part in a series of pre-election debates with North Norfolk Conservative Candidate Iain Dale. North Norfolk Radio were prepared to host a series of monthly one hour debates between the two leading contenders to be MP for North Norfolk after the General Election on a variety of current issues, but Mr Lamb insisted he would only take part in such debates during a General Election campaign itself.

Speaking at a Conservative Party tea in Swanton Abbott Iain Dale commented today: "I will debate Mr Lamb any time, any place, anywhere. I think North Norfolk people would welcome the chance to hear some proper political debate between us and I am sorry that Norman Lamb's self-importance has got the better of him. For a public servant to say he refuses to debate isuues of political concern to his constituents is a disgrace. If we are to re-engage people with politics I would hope we could talk about the key political issues in a polite and constructive manner. Of course we should have such debates during a General Election campaign but there are many current national and local issues which we should be debating now. For instance, on North Norfolk Radio on Friday Norman Lamb said he didn’t know whether he would vote in favour or against a European Constitution because he hadn't read it. Instead he said he had relied on political commentators to form his opinions, although he couldn't actually tell us what these opinions were. Is it any wonder that people lose faith in their elected representatives if they are unable to give a lead on such a clearcut issue as this? I am sure the people of North Norfolk would like to hear Mr Lamb state clearly - on a public platform - what his position is, or is he typically trying to face both ways on this issue for fear of offending anyone? My position is clear. I would NEVER vote for a European constitution. At some stage Norman Lamb will have to climb off the fence."

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Dale

I realise that this press release was issued some time ago but I feel there are several rather ill-informed comments in it which shouldn't go unchallenged.

Firstly - that Norman Lamb is sitting on the fence regarding the European Constitution. As I understand it, the final version of the EU Constitution will not be published until the autumn. I find Mr Lamb's decision to withold judgement until he has has the opportunity to read in details the finalised document refreshingly honest and humble. Rather than arrogantly assuming that what is in the final document will make no difference to what he thinks (unlike others who have clearly made up their mind before seeing the evidence), Mr Lamb will base his opinion on the document itself. Personally I would place far more trust in someone who waited until he was well-informed before making judgements, than in someone who rushes to make ill-advised personal attacks on his competitors.

Secondly, with all due respect, Norman Lamb is a sitting MP. While I appreciate your reasons for wishing to enter into a debate with him, Norman Lamb has an enormous workload - not just in his role as shadow Treasury spokesman and member of the Treasury Select Committeeover but also in view of the 1,000 new constituency casework files opened already this year, on top of all those ongoing - and debating with you before an election has been called may not be considered the best use of his time. An MPs job is not just turning up at fetes, school open days, WI meetings etc, and credit must be given to the sheer amount of work Norman Lamb puts into being MP for North Norfolk.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Dale

I realise that this press release was issued some time ago but I feel there are several rather ill-informed comments in it which shouldn't go unchallenged.

Firstly - that Norman Lamb is sitting on the fence regarding the European Constitution. As I understand it, the final version of the EU Constitution will not be published until the autumn. I find Mr Lamb's decision to withold judgement until he has has the opportunity to read in details the finalised document refreshingly honest and humble. Rather than arrogantly assuming that what is in the final document will make no difference to what he thinks (unlike others who have clearly made up their mind before seeing the evidence), Mr Lamb will base his opinion on the document itself. Personally I would place far more trust in someone who waited until he was well-informed before making judgements, than in someone who rushes to make ill-advised personal attacks on his competitors.

Secondly, with all due respect, Norman Lamb is a sitting MP. While I appreciate your reasons for wishing to enter into a debate with him, Norman Lamb has an enormous workload - not just in his role as shadow Treasury spokesman and member of the Treasury Select Committeeover but also in view of the 1,000 new constituency casework files opened already this year, on top of all those ongoing - and debating with you before an election has been called may not be considered the best use of his time. An MPs job is not just turning up at fetes, school open days, WI meetings etc, and credit must be given to the sheer amount of work Norman Lamb puts into being MP for North Norfolk.

Iain Dale said...

Nice try (James, I presume?). Sainthood beckons...

Liam said...

No, not me Iain.

Liam said...

As you know, anonymity is not my style!

Iain Dale said...

True. I take it back!