Change Your MP – if Your MP Will Not Change


_DSC7696Life is never certain at the best of times. With cutbacks in a variety of services that had been designed to provide meaningful and immediate support, the role of the MP has become ever more important when there is a need for effective representation by the citizen and business. This is certainly true when dealing with decisions made by Civil Servants or Public Officials who, in turn, are trodden down within a culture of “hit target” should you wish to have the chance of reapplying for your job.

Yet the majority of MP’s seem to labour under the belief that the Constituent may only be represented by their local Constituency MP. Many will continue to quote this as a strict rule and advertise the same on their websites. Nevertheless, they are incorrect and seriously so.

A few weeks ago, Mr Geoffrey Cox QC MP accepted my Opinion that no such “Rule“ existed and that my own interpretation of the Parliamentary convention was correct. Whilst I do not believe that Geoffrey came to that conclusion willingly or in a timely fashion, he did have the good grace to provide confirmation in writing. Hence, he is ahead of many of his colleagues. It is to my mind an important concession.

Without this caveat, matters of public interest, importance and political embarrassment can be kept silent or simply covered up for reasons of personal or corporate expediency. On the other hand, the experience and knowledge among Parliamentarians extends well beyond the boundaries of their own constituency. The Constitution of the United Kingdom is based upon the notion of Commonwealth that includes the sharing of knowledge to preserve and protect the rights of the citizen subject from the nightmare of an Elected Dictatorship, of any political persuasion.

A practical example of the necessity of “changing MP“ arises from the requirement of the Parliamentary Ombudsman that a complaint has to be endorsed by a MP. Without that endorsement, wrongs may go unchecked with an incalculable waste of Public Money best used elsewhere. In welcoming controversy within an open invitation to the American Public to point out errors within his own administration, President Kennedy cited the wise man who had said “an error does not become a mistake until you refuse to correct it”. In 2016 this has been reduced to a half truth. Errors need to be corrected in a timely fashion.

Therefore, how do you “change“ your MP?

Step One: Constituent requests Constituency MP to furnish to an open letter within 14 days stating MP has no objection to another MP taking up either the Constituent or their specific cause. By implication this event only arises when the Constituency MP does not share the same view and/or will not advance the general view of their Constituent or when the Constituency MP – Citizen relationship has broken down.

The overall rule of reason remains that the duty of the MP is to represent ALL Constituents and ALL Constituents will afford the MP a fair chance to do so. It need not become a Court case to decide if any of the above applies.

Step Two: With the letter the citizen approaches any other MP’s with their cause. Feel free to direct the doubting MP to this page or the House of Commons Select Committee Office for Standards.

Step Three: Upon finding the Non-Constituency MP who will advance the cause the new MP may wish to go through the process of confirming with the Constituency MP (as a matter of courtesy and convention) the
provenance of the letter. If confirmation is not forthcoming (b) the original letter is proof of release in any event

Step Four: Plain Sailing – Result Achieved

It remains of concern that I found it necessary to interrogate the ever courteous and knowledgeable House of Commons staff understanding of a convention that Members hold out as a strict rule. The same misconceived fictions apply to the Sovereignty of Parliament which is at best is qualified concept as International Law and the residual powers of the Crown remain supreme; hence Nuremburg and Orders in Council

As the late Commander Maurice Adams, a former Conservative Mayor and my Head of Year used would bellow out “Sweetinburgh – knowledge without understanding is useless

Joe Sweetinburgh
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