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Monday, 21 January 2013

Head Banging

Some people have asked to be kept up to date with my efforts to get a response from every Scottish MP on whether they agree with Ian Davidson's infamous Bannockburn comments referred to here and here.

Thus far the response has not been encouraging with only two SNP MPs making a proper response and one Labour MP making a half-hearted one.

The vast majority are declining to answer by invoking Parliamentary protocols which they either do not understand properly or understand perfectly well but are using as a shield to avoid answering.

Reproduced below is a typical to and fro with a Honourable Member who belongs to the Labour Party. I have excised the name to avoid embarrassing anyone.

Dear Mr Adams,
Thank you for your recent e-mail to XXX XXXXXXXX MP.
Under Parliamentary rules and codes of conduct, Members of Parliament may only take up matters raised with them by their own constituents.
On this basis I would be grateful if you could provide us with your full postal address.  This will allow us to confirm that XXX XXXXXXX is your Member of Parliament and able to assist you with this matter.
In the event that XXX XXXXXXXX is not your MP we will be happy to pass your e-mail to your own Member of Parliament.
Yours etc...

Of course, I was not going to let it lie there...

Thank you for your response which, although informative in a number of ways, is factually incorrect.
There are no Parliamentary 'rules' to prevent MPs taking up matters for non-constituents. There are, however, advisory protocols regarding the issue which more than one Speaker of the House has acknowledged are not hard and fast rules but that Members should apply a common sense approach to.
In any case, these protocols do not apply to my enquiry as I am not asking Mr XXXXXXXX to raise an issue or pursue an action on my behalf but merely asking for his reaction to some aspects of the debate on Tuesday, 15th January.
I trust that this will dispel any fears you may have that I am asking Mr XXXXXXXX to breach Parliamentary protocol in any way and I look forward to his response to my original enquiry.
Warmest regards etc...

At the last count, I have 27 such dialogues in progress and am determined that my 'best laid plans' aren't frustrated. I'll keep those interested up to date with further developments.

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