Monday, 6 February 2012

A reply from Jenny Willott MP

Earlier today I blogged about how Jenny Willott's article on LibDemVoice had got my blood up. But, in fairness to her, following the vote on Wednesday I emailed her expressing my disappointment at the vote and asking to meet with her prior to my submitting an emergency motion to Liberal Democrat Spring Conference.

And today she's replied - not bad timing I suppose for someone who's just been shifted from one job to another. I won't post her email but in it she says that she'd be happy to meet me to discuss the matter and that I should contact her parliamentary researcher in order to organise a meeting - something which I've just done.

Out of respect for confidentiality (she does at least have the courage to justify her voting record, unlike many tory MPs) when I find out the timing of the meeting I won't make it public and I won't make the details of what's said public either but I'll certainly be blogging the gist of it for those who are interested.

Throughout this, I've always wished I could have a chance to meet the people supporting the disability cuts face to face so that I could convince them of what seems obvious to everyone outside of the Westminster bubble. And, even though I fundamentally disagree with what Jenny's done on ESA, I'm grateful that she's at least giving me the opportunity to do that.

That being said, I will still be submitting an emergency motion to spring conference - details of which should be blogged in the next week or so.


  1. She's gained a modicum of respect from me for at least replying to you. I'll be interested to see what happens.

    All the best George. I'm glad you're doing everything you can to ensure your Party adheres to its values and is not bastardised by this truly Unholy Alliance.

  2. Why is there a need for "respect for confidentiality"? What is there to hide? voting records speak for themselves. What is hidden under 'Chatham House Rules'?

    1. It's not the case that there's something to hide, it's that it's a matter of what I'd consider courtesy. I don't think it'd be right for me to make public the time and date of the meeting without her permission. And I think that exactly what's said in the meeting should stay confidential - simply because I don't have her permission to make public what she's said and so, if I did, it could well be seen as a breach of trust which might make it harder for me should I ever need to speak to a member of the government in future.

      'll still let you know how the meeting goes, and I won't hide anything but nor do I think it would be right to give a verbatim transcript of what she says. It's a balancing act and I'm sorry if you think that that means that I'm trying to hide something.

    2. Sorry George. I did not mean to suggest that YOU would have anything to hide. It's just that I've yet to hear any politician say anything in public to justify these policies. Danny Alexander was one of the most outspoken critics of the WCA right up until he joined the cabinet. They continually assure us that the MOST vulnerable will be better off but what about the merely vulnerable?

  3. I don't think you are trying to hide anything George.I do understand Chatham House Rules.And trust you well enough not to hide anything from us.

    Peter Benson.

  4. "I've always wished I could have a chance to meet the people supporting the disability cuts face to face so that I could convince them of what seems obvious to everyone outside of the Westminster bubble."

    Did you ask for meetings with them? Did you contact Jenny Willott, Mike German, Steve Webb, and the others involved before the votes to ask specifically for a meeting?

    1. I contacted Lord German by email and had a discussion with him via that medium. I also know that Liberal Youth have spoken with Steve Webb about this a lot. And I also attended a meeting with Lib Dem MPs on the monday before the WRB. It turned out that it clashed with something that made Jenny and Lord German unable to attend but it was too late for us to change the time of the meeting. I'd been hoping that people like Steve Webb would attend but, unfortunately, only 6 MPs attended.

      I didn't directly ask for one to one meetings with any of these people though - mainly because I didn't see why they'd agree given that far more knowledgeable and prominent campaigners have tried and failed.


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