Over the previous five years in Parliament, I have been in close and continuous correspondence with the electors of Wycombe whether by phone, email, social media or in person, no matter their voting intentions. I want to continue having the fullest discussion possible to promote the most vibrant democratic process.
Mass email campaigns are today a substantial part of that process.
On most issues, the majority of electors express no opinion but I often receive tens or hundreds of identical or near identical emails on single-issue campaigns. I always pay attention to the weight of expressed opinion, whatever political hue it may indicate. I’m glad people are taking the time to express their deeply-held views so frequently.
To promote open debate, in future I will reply to campaigns by posting articles on this site tagged “campaigns”. They will be found here:
Comments will be open for several days and I will endeavour to read them all.
In a representative democracy, electors will often disagree with one another irreconcilably. For candidates and representatives, there will always be tensions between their own views, their party and the views of different electors. On this point, little has changed since 1885 when Auberon Herbert MP wrote ‘A Politician in Sight of Haven’, which I recommend.
When I receive campaign email, I will compare my own and my Party’s view on the issue. Where we agree, I will express that view. If, rarely, we disagree, I will say so but I do expect to support my Party. The Conservative manifesto will be the set of pledges on which I stand. If the campaign is advocating an opposition line, it is not likely I will be able to support it.
As a believer in free speech, I will be delighted if a flourishing debate emerges. As a strong advocate of personal responsibility, I ask that people express their views in a civil manner, in their own name and with a genuine email address. I anticipate removing comments which are abusive, in a false name or associated with a fake email address. I do not propose to host opposition propaganda but instead to promote genuine, open-minded debate.
I want to live in a vibrant democracy where we can all participate equally in an open discussion. I hope this approach proves helpful.