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Points of Order

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Justice – in the House of Commons at 12:44 pm on 25th April 2017.

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Photo of Sue Hayman Sue Hayman Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 12:44 pm, 25th April 2017

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I seek your advice and guidance regarding parliamentary protocol in the case of a Member writing to another Member’s constituents as part of an election campaign. Trudy Harrison has written, as a Member of Parliament, to postal voters in my constituency on Conservative-branded paper ahead of the Cumbria County Council elections asking them to vote for the Conservative candidates. I know of postal voters in her own constituency who have not received any such letter from her.

This is the second time since her election to this place only two months ago that the hon. Lady has campaigned for the Conservative party in my constituency using her status as an MP without informing me. I did not make a fuss the first time as she was new to the House. However, she is now fully aware that in the British parliamentary system one Member represents a single constituency and conventions have developed so that one Member’s relations with her constituents are very much a preserve that other Members should not interfere with.

I have had complaints from constituents, some of whom are now confused about who their Member of Parliament is. My constituency office is receiving phone calls from constituents who think that this must mean that the boundary changes have gone through and that I might no longer be their representative. As far as I am concerned, this is unacceptable. Mr Speaker, I would be grateful for your comments and advice on this serious matter.