When I was a candidate I would often ring up people who had written to me or emailed me. I became used to the shock at the other end of the phone when they realised a politician had taken their point of view seriously enough to phone them. I thought you'd be entertained by this email of "complaint" I received from a reader last night. It shows at least one MP "gets it".
"After reading your post " The Speaker: What You Can Do... " I decided to follow your suggestion and contact my MP. So 7-15pm Monday evening I sent the Honourable MP a beautifully worded email requesting he removes his finger from his arse. 7-25pm sit down to put shoes on so can waddle off to Dog n Duck to watch the Mighty Pompey thrash some northern team, when the mobile starts ringing. Nothing unusual with this as was running late for pre match drink. Answered mobile with my normal shout " I'm on my way ", when the voice on the other end says "evening Mr R******* this is Andrew Murrison MP for Westbury, you just sent me an email............... " he spends the next 10 - 15 mins talking complete sense in a non condescending way to a simple stonemason (a bloody nice bloke). But he made me late for the footy and for this I put the blame firmly at your feet! Regards n all. Ian"
Well done Andrew Murrison. The thing is, many MPs do this all the time. They regard it as part of the job. And so it is. Perhaps those who bleat that all politicians are the same - which is purely the laziest of arguments - might reflect on that.
I have had a similar experience, Andrwe Makinley phned me after I sent him an emial queryingsomething he said in the house. He was on the phone for an hour. Very good bloke, even if I don't agree with his assumptions on human nature.
I take your point, though of course we've only got one MP each, so we're restricted to a pretty small sample.
'Ere, Iain, off-topic, but what's all this I'm reading about Michael Martin's plans to do serious damage to the current parliamentary set-up before he leaves? The blogosphere seems awash with such claims. Can you explain?
What do you mean "In praise of..."? He made him late for kick off for God's sake! Deselect him and hang him.
That is a tad different to my local Conservative Councillors. I have written to 4 of them regarding plans to develop a small green near my house as part of Ed Balls playbuilder scheme.
They were elected on the promise of preventing the overdevelopment of Bournemouth, yet only one of them bothered to respond to my email.
The reply I received was more of a standard one (sent to anyone contacting them on the issue) and failed to answer any of my questions.
It is pleasing to hear that an MP has time to listen when councillors obviously think the views of the electorate are trivial.
After 21 years of voting Tory I am now consideing whether to vote UKIP or Jury Team.
I gave up writing to my MP. I used to write to him asking him to vote for such things as the EU Referendum and against things like 42 days detention. He would occasionally write back essentially saying "Get stuffed, I'm following the Party Line regardless of what you think.". I gave writing up in the end. He is one of the really nasty, self righteous, authoritarian MP's.
My son was unjustly kicked out of school and I am fighting the case myself rather than ask his assistance because I know it would not be forthcoming or I would get some sarcastic reply to any request for help.
To all intents and purposes I don't have an MP even though he claims the max where expenses are concerned. I expect that is the sort of experience the majority of people will have had rather than concerned phone calls after sending an email.
Compare and contrast that with the behaviour of John Prescott yesterday in the company of a Chinese delegation. He's even bragged about it on his blog: http://www.gofourth.co.uk/lie-t-n
"John being John" means behaving like an odious bully.
It's down to individuals I guess. My MP never responds to my emails ( they've all been quite supportive or asking for his view, God help him if I ever have a complaint).
My local Kent County Councillor who wants my vote in another couple of weeks doesn't reply either, so guess who isn't getting my vote. This is the problem with safe seat parties.
Iain, What's your view on little Hazel's position today?
She has missed her chance to be a hero it seems.
We've got a fine parliamentary democracy. The problem is defending it against Gordon Brown and his ilk.
My lazy bugger MP - Christine Russel - Chester - hasn't even acknowledged my email. She has to be the laziest MP in Parliament. Her voting record stinks - she has done nowt - but claimed all the brass going. Useless.
A few years ago I contacted my local MP to see if she could help with a problem over trains.
She replied that she couldn't help because I was not in her constituency.
Actually I was - and she lived in the next road!
Her name M Moran.
Probably too busy sorting out dry rot in Southampton at the time
Iain - fine for politicians to phone us up - the big question is how we get Brown to call a General Election.
He was on GMTV this morning.
Why are the TV presenters so polite to this monster?
Why don’t they call him a criminal and fraudster to his face and demand a General election?
Why does a TV presenter not do the brave thing and call him a fraudster to his face - we the British people will support that person - I shall write a cheque for £100 to support that person if they are sacked for their actions and I am sure millions of others will support them.
“Cometh the hour,cometh the man” (or woman).
Kay Burley? Adam Boulton? Jon Snow?
One of you please do it.
His bodyguards prevent anyone within speaking distance to approach him - it has to been done on a live TV programme by one of these presenters.
Sorry, this it OT, but.
We're all about to be suckered by the word “independent”. What does it mean ? Next time someone with the morals of Brown wants to appoint a biased place-man, he can do so as the head of the watchdog, without even needing a supine HoC’s approval. And the events we have seen this week – MPs belatedly listening to the public and/or their consciences will not happen again - as Martin Mk. II will be beyond Parliamentary control.
Also, if anyone the HoC thinks Martin can be given a peerage without putting the political class into disrepute, they are on the wrong planet.
If Cameron has agreed this, he should un-agree it. If not, MPs should assert themselves.
I sent an email to my MR, Alan Whitehead, regarding IR35 and asking him to sign an early day motion. Waited 2 weeks and got a photocopy of a letter from the treasury.
What a cop out not even a letter with his reasoned point of view.
Paul Waugh is predicting Blears might be resigning, Iain you must be heart broken
One prominent male Tory MP replied only after I then reminded him that Boris Johnson takes the time and trouble to address peoples concerns whether they live in his constiuency or not - he doesn't 'buy' votes with attention. Micheal Gove continued to ignore me completely. But both Dianne Abbott and Anne Widdecombe ensured a response straight away. It was appreciated. I don't like being ignored and wish only for my existence to be acknowledged. It's polite.
Never, to my shame, having been previously aware of Dr. Murrison, I took a look around his website. Although I know and like my own MP - despite his being one of the rather silly "swimming-pool claimants" - I was left with the impression that I'd be very happy to have Dr. M as my MP.
my mp phil hollobone is the same abloody good mp. Always answers emails/letters.
I emailed my MP, John Baron on 9th May and have received nothing other than acknowledgements from his "staff". I was asked to provide my address so a letter could be sent (15th May) only after I sent a second email asking for a response to my first. I am still waiting. The postal service is not what it used to be.
Simon - I know I will come in for a kicking for this but there are some things (believe it or not) that MPs cannot do and intervening in your son's school affairs is one of them. All he really can do is bring the situation to the Head's attention which does not assist in any way. For clarifications please see the following link:
Also see the link for what MPs do:
Many MPs will help with social care issues even though this is not
in the job description but this is not mandatory.
I hope this is helpful.
Now if he'd made the whole Pompey team late for the match and allowed Sunderland to at least draw, I'd see a reason to praise Andrew Murrison.
It's a long and worrying few days till Sunday now.
'Oh, is something happening in Westminster?'
My MP, Betty Williams , is one of that bunch of talentless nonentities that resulted from Labour`s infamous " Women Only " shortlists.
She has decided to " change her pattern of work " , however , and announced that she is standing down at the next election.
Nothing to do with her notional majority of 243 , of course.
We should reflect that a minority of MPs do the job for which they are handsomely paid?
No, I think not, Iain. I think you should reflect on just how much condescension is involved in what you've posted. If you honestly believe that the definition of a good MP is that he makes the occasional phone call to a constituent, you're merely proving that you're too deep in the Westminster morass to provide any objective comment. I'd also remind you that Gordon Brown is well known for making phone calls to people who write him letters or send him emails. Using your definition, he must be about the best prime minister we've ever had - y'know, if it wasn't for that pesky "he's an unelected incompetent kept in power by a band of thieves who are committed to denying the electorate its right to vote".
But, hey, he makes phone calls - and that's what make a good MP. Right?
Simon - I think we have the same MP.
Kevin Barron - who ostensibly represents me - refuses to answer questions on policy too, and pretty much always votes with the party.
Not a peep from Maude after I e-mailed yesterday.
Not that I expected one.
I rarely praise Labour MPs, but two weeks ago on the Friday afternoon as soon as I heard that the police were going to be called in to investigate the source the leak to the Telegraph, I e-mailed my MP Kate Hoey expressing my outrage that this was happening.
I was pleased to receive a reply from her by e-mail about three hours later agreeing with me.
On Sunday evening I heard her on the radio expressing her concerns and on Monday she got attacked by the speaker for expressing her opinions.
Who knows to what extent I influenced her actions - if at all - but I was impressed both with the speed with which she replied to me and then with the stand she took.
Do you realise how may e-mails and letters MPs get in a day? Do you realise that most MPs have a very limited amount of staff? If you want a well thought out answer then I am afraid that you cannot expect a one day turnaround. If you want a one day turnaround then the taxpayer will have to fork out like they do in the States for any army of letter answerers.
Also, consider what your letter is about. Constituency cases must get top priority, followed by questions about policy. Rants and computer-generated e-mails from lobby organisations tend to have the lowest priority.
I do agree though that all correspondence should be acknowledged and answered - without exception and I daresay there are many who don't. Shame on them!
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