Dear Bruce,

Thank you for your reply and kind understanding about the pressures on my time. I treat constituent correspondence with the highest of priority, however sometimes it is not possible to reply as quickly as I would like.

I understand your point about EDMs and PQs and believe that it has merit. In fact, some have argued for encouraging the Back Bench Business Committee to consider EDMs for a debate, as they do with e-petitions, once they reach a certain level of support from MPs. PQs are slightly different however as they seek to draw information from Government and are a valuable tool in scrutinising the work of Government. I do not believe it would be appropriate for PQs to be used as tools for debate. As I mentioned in my last email, the Back Bench Business Committee is very effective at allowing time for topical debates which attract a large amount of support from not only MPs but the public as well.

I am sure you will appreciate the vast demand for Government Ministers to make media appearances. It would therefore be unrealistic for Ministers to make every media request. I do not believe that it would be a practical use of Ministerial time. That being said, I do agree that where there is a Government policy announcement or debate on a major issue the Government should put forward a spokesperson to explain the policy or Government’s position.

I understand your concerns about the role of party Whips in politics; but they do play a vital role. They facilitate the working of the parties in Parliament through, amongst other things, circulating briefs, providing a secretarial role for party meetings and providing a pastoral care role – which is very important for first time MPs. Without the Whips MPs and Parliament would be a lot less organised and I am certain that less productive work would get done. As Parliament evolves and adapts to cope with a constantly changing modern society, so does the role of the Whips.

I do feel that the Royal Household should do more to support a growing or even static civic list while the public at large are facing significant challenges over the next few years. I also believe that Royal estates like the Duchy of Cornwall are effectively businesses and they should be subject to the same planning, taxation and every other type of regulation as any other business.

You will be aware of the work of the Leveson Inquiry into press regulation. I hope that when Lord Justice Leveson reports back to Parliament with his final recommendations the media will take this as an opportunity to return to a trend of serious journalism. However, it is undoubtedly important that we allow a free and independent press.

All of the points you raise are valid and I hope I have been able to address them and provide you with my views on them. The Liberal Democrats have long campaigned for the reform and modernisation of Parliament and it is something which we take very seriously in Government.

I hope you find this interesting.

Best wishes,

Mike

Mike Crockart MP | Edinburgh West
1A Drumbrae Avenue, Edinburgh, EH12 8TE | Tel: 0131 339 0339

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From: brucek3@aol.com [mailto:brucek3@aol.com]
Sent: 14 November 2012 10:46
To: CROCKART, Mike
Subject: Re: Public’s role in politics

Dear Mike

Understand the demands on your time, so I will summarise my points and look forward to your thoughts when you have more time. No rush!

1. EDMs, PQs etc to have a statutory right to be considered by HMG if they reach a certain percentage of crossbench support; not sheer numbers, but overall support
2. Accountability: the government to provide a spokesperson for all media requests, or pool
3. An EDM/PQ/select committee summons pressing media to invest in serious journalism
4. Private member’s bill for a levy on ISPs to pay content providers such as news, music etc.
5. Start a parliamentary movement for “legislation in the long term good” (needs a better title!)
6. Review of whips, who often deny constituents real representation
7. EDM/PQ/PMB or whatever, requiring an end to the monarchy’s unconstitutional contacts with elected representatives; or they can resign their office and become self-funding and have what contacts they like.

Best wishes,
Bruce Whitehead

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One Response to “A response from my MP Mike Crockart”

  1. heather goodhand Says:

    I receive more unsolicited nuisance calls than ordinary ones. They are recorded message and silent and direct voice ones! They have been frequent since last Autumn.


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