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Point of Order

Volume 645: debated on Monday 16 July 2018

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Whitworth Park School in my constituency is going through a period of considerable turmoil. The interim head, David Stone, and one of his deputies, Amy Aspland, have been pressurising teachers, pupils and parents not to contact their Member of Parliament and interrogating them about the content of the conversations if they have done so. Even prisoners are allowed to have confidential communications with their constituency MP. Furthermore, and misleadingly, people have been accused of “radicalisation”, which is the language the Government use in respect of preventing extremist terrorism. I would be very grateful for your guidance on what I can do to serve my constituents properly. Do you agree with me that at all times British citizens have the right to contact their Member of Parliament and, indeed, that that is essential for the health of our democracy?

I do agree with the hon. Lady—of course I do—and I am sure that every Member of this House will agree with her. I thank her for giving me notice that she wished to raise this matter. There is no doubt whatsoever that everyone who lives in all our constituencies should feel able to raise matters with their elected representatives in order that they can be brought up in Parliament, and that our constituents should be able to do so in every case, without fear of reprisal. It is clearly wrong of anyone, let alone public sector employees, to make any attempt to intimidate our constituents in order to prevent them from contacting us. If the hon. Lady believes, either now or at some future time, that an actual contempt or breach of privilege has been committed, her remedy is to write to Mr Speaker to set out the facts. I am quite sure that Mr Speaker will consider the matter with the gravity that it requires. Meanwhile, I am sure that the hon. Lady will use the range of parliamentary opportunities open to her, which she knows very well, to represent the views of her constituents with her customary vigour.