James Duddridge MP: Refusing to answer simple questions

From: Denis Walker
Subject: Re: Sustainable Livestock Bill
Date: 20 September 2010 14:19:36 GMT+01:00
To: James Duddridge
Your ref: RSE8241
Dear Mr Duddridge,
Thank you for your letter dated 6th September. It should be noted that it wasn't delivered to me until 14th September. I have asked on a number of occasions that you reply to me by email and as you have told me previously that you "agree that we need to do more to tackle climate change," I'm surprised that you don't - especially given that it would also reduce your expenses.
I understand from Friends of the Earth colleagues in other groups that Ministers in charge of the Sustainable Livestock Bill are going to be attending public meetings in their constituencies - they are clearly responsible for the Bill and are happy to speak to their constituents about it.
The "Big Society" has led to many in your party having a lot to say about people coming together to solve societal problems - which is what we are trying to do. We would hope you would support us in this.
At the next election, you are likely to be asking local people for their votes. If your post makes it impossible for you to say in public what your views on important issues are, how on earth are people to make their decision?
I would of course always be disappointed to hear that you have decided not to support the Bill. However, I am actually somewhat baffled this time - the Bill has not been published, I understand discussion between the sponsor and Ministers has yet to happen, and you are refusing to come to a public meeting to hear about the Bill. In such circumstances, how can you possibly know that the Bill is not worth supporting?
I understand you may feel Government is tackling these areas - but would you please tell me whether imports of soy are rising or falling at the moment? And what will happen to them after the policies you refer to are put in place?
Denis Walker
Co-ordinator, South East Essex Friends of the Earth



Mr Denis Walker
Our ref: RSE8241
6th October 2010
Dear Mr Walker,
Thank you for your recent email regarding my ongoing correspondence with you.
As you are aware, I have spoken with you and written to you many times in my capacity as the Member of Parliament for Rochford and Southend East. I have corresponded with you on issues ranging from replacing Trident, to preventing cuts at the BBC, to energy efficiency standards in privately rented accommodation.
However as your Member of Parliament, I also represent approximately 80,000 other constituents, who frequently contact me in need of my assistance. The communications from these individuals are not campaign emails or letters, and are not drafted by public sector organisations to raise awareness for an issue within Parliament.
I am grateful for your correspondence, as it does keep me updated with the sentiments of many public bodies. However, I am writing this letter to explain that every time you request I inform you of the latest developments on any one of the many different issues you contact me about, this takes time away from those constituents who have serious personal problems that require my attention.
In relation to the specific concerns you raised in your email of 20th September, I would like to express again that, as a Government Whip, I am unable to speak publicly on any issue as my front bench role forbids it. I can raise awareness by communicating with my ministerial colleagues, and I am happy to actively address issues directly with the relevant organisations and public bodies, however I cannot debate in the House. You sensibly questioned how, under these circumstances, a Whip may reasonably campaign during a General Election, however during an election the Government is dissolved and so my ministerial duties will be absent during this period.
You also asked why I should not support a Bill that has not yet been published. Private Member’s Bills are often not published until their Second Reading in the House, however Members of Parliament are aware of the proposed contents and potential effects once they go through their First Reading. I gave reasons in my previous letter to you explaining that I feel the Government’s approach on this issue is already appropriate, and so I will not support the Bill as I do not feel it is necessary.
Finally I would like to thank you for your invitation to meet on the 5th and 6th of November, however I unfortunately already have scheduled commitments on those days.
Thank you once again for taking the time to contact me.
Yours sincerely
James Duddridge MP

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