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I thank the hon. Lady for that clarification. I think it is important that we represent our constituents. Following my direct responses to the 38 Degrees e-mails, many constituents replied and said that they saw that as a matter of great concern and that they agreed and had considerable sympathy with the position I had taken. I must say that I was surprised by that support. Having been forthright in my response, I did not expect to find much support from that particular quarter. I think that there is a message for Opposition Members to take away and consider, just as there is for Government Members. State-funded activists are engaged in direct lobbying of politicians and indirect lobbying of the public using taxpayers’ money, and I think that blurs the distinction between private and public action.
I also think that we all have a trust to uphold, in relation to the votes of supply and the impost we put on our constituents for the funding of Government and public money, to ensure that it is spent in a way that is targeted at particular social purposes and need. My concern is that if taxpayers’ money then finds its way back into arguing for more money to be spent on particular things, or indeed on the election of particular candidates or parties at an election, that is an abuse of the public trust that we are sent here to represent.