News

What’s the story? Are you a Tory?

Constituent James Dawson wrote that he contacted the Chipping Barnet MP’s office and was asked whether he was a Conservative voter
By David Floyd

There was no intention to refuse help on the basis of voting intention, but clearly the question was not appropriate - Theresa Villiers MP
There was no intention to refuse help on the basis of voting intention, but clearly the question was not appropriate – Theresa Villiers MP

Theresa Villiers has admitted that her office asked a constituent about their voting preferences when they called to raise concerns about the growing financial crisis – but claims there was no intention to refuse help to non-Conservatives.

Constituent James Dawson wrote that he contacted the Chipping Barnet MP’s office and was asked whether he was a Conservative voter. This left him worried that the MP may not care about the concerns of those who do not support her party.

“Only one letter received a reply”

Another constituent, Dr Gaby Parker, claimed that she and her partner had both sent letters to the MP to test whether Conservative voters were more likely to receive a response – with the implication that the letter beginning ‘I am a historical Conservative voter.. ‘ had been the one to receive a reply.

Barnet Post contacted Theresa Villiers to ask whether the allegation that her office responds to constituents’ concerns based on whether or not they are Conservative voters was true.

A spokesman responded that: “I’m happy to provide reassurance. The answer to your question is ‘no’.”

He added on behalf of the MP: “I and my team of staff offer help to constituents wherever we can, whatever their political affiliation. Whichever way they vote, we do our best to assist them.”

“No intention to refuse help”

However, the spokesman also confirmed that at least one constituent had been asked about how they voted when calling the office. He said: “Theresa Villiers does not ask constituents their voting intention when they get in contact with her constituency office. Nor are her staff asked to do this. It seems that a caseworker made an error in this instance and did put this question in the course of a lengthy conversation.”

He added: “There was no intention to refuse help on the basis of voting intention, but clearly the question was not appropriate. Theresa and her team try to assist constituents wherever they can, whatever their political affiliation. The employee in question has been reminded of this important principle.”

To receive a weekly update from Barnet Post, sign-up to receive our email newsletter.

To support local journalism, become a Barnet Post member.


No news is bad news 

Independent news outlets like ours – reporting for the community without rich backers – are under threat of closure, turning British towns into news deserts. 

The audiences they serve know less, understand less, and can do less. 

If our coverage has helped you understand our community a little bit better, please consider supporting us with a monthly, yearly or one-off donation. 

Choose the news. Don’t lose the news.

Monthly direct debit 

Annual direct debit

£5 per month supporters get a digital copy of each month’s paper before anyone else, £10 per month supporters get a digital copy of each month’s paper before anyone else and a print copy posted to them each month. £50 annual supporters get a digital copy of each month's paper before anyone else. £84 annual supporters get a print copy by post and a digital copy of each month's before anyone else.

Donate now with Pay Pal

More information on supporting us monthly 

More Information about donations