Sir, After Liberal Democrat Evan Harris’s third term in office as MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, a few of us felt that it was time to get an MP who would challenge their party occasionally and vote by their conscience and their constituents’ best interests and not toe the party line.
I am afraid to point out to those who made the same mistake as I did that his Conservative successor Nicola Blackwood has followed the line of so many before and voted to keep her party happy and not her constituents.
On February 22, the following motion was put before Parliament: “That this House calls on the Government to respect the ruling by the Information Commissioner and to publish the risk register associated with the Health and Social Care Bill in order to ensure that it informs public and parliamentary debate”.
The motion was put before MPs because the Information Commissioner thought that it was in the public interest for people to know what the Conservatives were trying to do with the Health and Social Care Bill. Nicola Blackwood voted against it.While I share some of his sentiments, there's depressing sense of naivety about them, which adds to the problem of our broken (and lack of) democracy.
So she is saying that the public should not know the facts about this Bill, which will affect every person in her constituency. How condescending. This seems too stupid and hard to believe, doesn’t it?
Since June 2010, she has never voted against her party once.If we wanted her to vote the party line, we would have asked for that. In fact, I have sent her letters saying that the only reason I voted for her was to bring a bit of youth into Parliament, who would vote for her constituents and follow logic. Some things never change and this waste of a vote will be out at the next election.
It was pretty obvious from the outset that Ms Blackwood would toe the party line; she was on the Tory A-list, the constituency is next door to her boss's and at under 30 years old she has a greasy pole to climb first. Not even the fact that the constituency is a marginal is enough to concentrate her mind to put her constituencies wishes first, as demonstrated in the letter above.
Yet despite the letter writer's exasperation at a 'wasted vote' he takes comfort in the knowledge that; "...this waste of a vote will be out at the next election" - the implication being that he will partake in the election to vote against Ms Blackwood. But what's the point, who would she be replaced by? Dr Evan Harris probably and then the whole silly charade continues all over again.
The problem is that it's not Ms Blackwood that needs replacing but, as Richard North illustrates, the whole damn rotten system.