On Wednesday, you voted for the NHS reforms. It doesn’t surprise me. You always vote with party lines and rarely listen to the thoughts of your constituents. They Work For You says of you “Hardly ever rebels against their party in this parliament.” No surprises there. The whip must be your best friend.
But on Wednesday, you also voted for an amendment to the Health and Social Bill. An amendment put forward by Nadine “Mad Nad” Dorries, the “wonderful” Conservative member for Mid Bedfordshire. An amendment designed to strip non-statutory abortion providers from offering impartial advice and counselling to women considering abortion, opening the door to organisations opposed to abortion being able to be contracted to counsel women on their pregnancy options by the NHS. And you were one of 118 Members who voted for this bill. Compared to the 368 who voted against it. Disgusting. And what is more disgusting, Oliver, is that there was no party line on this vote. You voted with your conscience.
What does pro-choice mean to you, Oliver? Why should women be told what to do with their bodies, and more importantly, with their babies? If women want to have an abortion, it is their right to be able to have an abortion, is it not? Abortion should not, in any case, be used as a form of birth control or contraception. But you appear not to understand that no woman goes into an abortion thoughtlessly, or without considering the consequences and the effects. Diane Abbott put it best – “The proposer of this amendment assumes that thousands of women don’t know what they’re doing.” They do. At least, I am positive they know a lot more about their own bodies, their own actions and their own emotions than you do, Oliver.
You represent a wonderful, lively city with a lot of great things happening, and a lot of great people to come out of it. A wonderful city full of history, vibrancy and a great atmosphere. Yet, you don’t seem to care about the majority of this city’s opinions, do you? In fact, you have never consulted your constituents on their opinions at all. You rarely respond to emails and letters sent not just by me, but by my mother, and when you do, they are constant attacks on the previous Labour government. I find this pathetic, that you make digs at another political party instead of answering a direct question asked by one of your constituents. My political views should not come into our correspondence when I write to you as a constituent. You are supposed to represent me.
You won this city with a majority of 1149 – just a couple of percent difference between you and Linda Gilroy, the Labour MP for the constituency for over a decade, with 34.29%. To put it into perspective, in 1997 and 2001, Linda had over 50% of the vote in Plymouth. Perhaps I am just too used to Linda and her competency, her quick responses and her hard working attitude, but I am becoming increasingly worried about your incompetency as a Member of Parliament for this city. The fact you voted for Dorries’ amendment – something which I can almost guarantee the majority of the city would categorically oppose – is proof of that. Alison Seabeck, Labour MP for Moor View, voted against the amendment. And she voted against because she knew the amendment was wrong. I am beginning to question if you have any sense of right or wrong.
Or indeed, if you have any knowledge of your city at all! Looking at the written questions you have asked for a response, a large number of them appear to be about the 2002 motor vehicle Block Exemption Regulation. Perhaps my own disinterest in motor vehicles mars my sight a little bit, but I think there are more important issues to be addressed in this city – unemployment, schools, libraries, the states of our roads. Where is your support for these, Oliver? We are a seaside city, and I know you’re proud of that fact, but we also have a lot more to offer than our dockyard. You have shown your support through the issues with Plymouth Argyle, where is that passion and support across the city? Represent the entirety of your constituency, not just the parts you think are most important.
I don’t plan to embark on a character assassination. On the occasions I have met you, you have been warm, welcoming and friendly. I don’t wish to take away from that. However, I do have serious issues and concerns about your responsbility as an elected Member and representative for this city, and your performance as an MP. A year ago I may have put it down to first-time election stumbling. It has been well over a year since you were elected. Its about time you begin to represent your city properly.
We are proud of Plymouth.
Show us you are too.