Comment

Letter to the Editor – What’s the story? Are you a Tory?

Labour candidate responds to constituent screening controversy
By Emma Whysall

Chipping Barnet MP Theresa Villiers
Chipping Barnet MP Theresa Villiers

Barnet Post’s story last week found the staff of our MP, Theresa Villiers, was screening constituents’ calls, asking whether they were Tory voters. That story had already appeared on social media.

Obviously any MP represents all constituents, regardless of party. 

Mrs Villiers’ “spokesman” replied that such questioning was “not appropriate”. 

That response doesn’t address the key matter. Mrs Villiers’ staff are paid by the public purse and her expenses. They provide a service, not partisan canvassing.

Mrs Villiers’ expenses claim (May 2021) was entirely for staffing and office costs. It amounted to £172,037.86, above the average of £165,814.60.

If callers are being questioned, is that recorded? Does it feed into her electioneering? Does it accord with the Data Protection Act?

Both Mrs Villiers and I are lawyers. Mrs Villiers cannot simply shrug off this serious breach of protocol and procedure. As well as misusing public money.

The people of Barnet deserve better from their Member of Parliament.

Emma Whysall, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate, Chipping Barnet, 2017 and 2019

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