Search

Fighting talk from Scott of the Lords

PUBLISHED: 09:39 14 February 2003 | UPDATED: 16:17 24 February 2010

A MILLION people are expected to take to the streets of London tomorrow to protest against war with Iraq – and among the Parliamentary contingent will be Baroness Scott of Needham Market.

By Graham Dines

A MILLION people are expected to take to the streets of London tomorrow to protest against war with Iraq – and among the Parliamentary contingent will be Baroness Scott of Needham Market.

The Liberal Democrat life peer, a member of Suffolk County Council, will accompany her party leader Charles Kennedy in the march from the Embankment to Hyde Park via Parliament Square, Whitehall and Hyde Park.

A cross party coalition of leading backbench Labour MPs, Greens, Scottish and Welsh Nationalists, Lib Dems and London Mayor Ken Livingstone will be joining people from all corners of the United Kingdom who are deeply concerned at the prospect of what they see is an unjustified military action, especially if the United Nations does not give the go-ahead.

"This rally is to deliver a message to Tony Blair that he can only move so far ahead of public opinion," said Baroness Scott. "The majority of the British people is not convinced that we should take military action against Iraq.

"We are also marching on the morality of war and the probability that invading Iraq will turn the whole Middle East into a powder keg."

Baroness Scott said there was a serious terrorist threat to London, which had been put in the front line because of the Government's desire to keep in line with President George Bush.

"Saddam Hussein is quite clearly an appalling man, but that doesn't mean we should wage war against an entire people. Even if he has weapons of mass destruction, what evidence is there to prove he intends to use them?"

While the Prime Minister will get an easy ride from the Tory leadership for his war, senior Conservative privy councillors are proving awkward. Suffolk Coastal's John Gummer has signed an early day motion sponsored by former agriculture minister Douglas Hogg which states that British troops should not be involved unless a substantive motion is passed by the Commons and action is authorised by the UN Security Council.

A MILLION people are expected to take to the streets of London tomorrow to protest against war with Iraq – and among the Parliamentary contingent will be Baroness Scott of Needham Market.

The Liberal Democrat life peer, a member of Suffolk County Council, will accompany her party leader Charles Kennedy in the march from the Embankment to Hyde Park via Parliament Square, Whitehall and Hyde Park.

A cross party coalition of leading backbench Labour MPs, Greens, Scottish and Welsh Nationalists, Lib Dems and London Mayor Ken Livingstone will be joining people from all corners of the United Kingdom who are deeply concerned at the prospect of what they see is an unjustified military action, especially if the United Nations does not give the go-ahead.

"This rally is to deliver a message to Tony Blair that he can only move so far ahead of public opinion," said Baroness Scott. "The majority of the British people is not convinced that we should take military action against Iraq.

"We are also marching on the morality of war and the probability that invading Iraq will turn the whole Middle East into a powder keg."

Baroness Scott said there was a serious terrorist threat to London, which had been put in the front line because of the Government's desire to keep in line with President George Bush.

"Saddam Hussein is quite clearly an appalling man, but that doesn't mean we should wage war against an entire people. Even if he has weapons of mass destruction, what evidence is there to prove he intends to use them?"

While the Prime Minister will get an easy ride from the Tory leadership for his war, senior Conservative privy councillors are proving awkward. Suffolk Coastal's John Gummer has signed an early day motion sponsored by former agriculture minister Douglas Hogg which states that British troops should not be involved unless a substantive motion is passed by the Commons and action is authorised by the UN Security Council.

CONGRATULATIONS to West Chelmsford MP Simon Burns, joint top MP for recognising the value of helping constituents via the volunteer-run not-for-profit Internet site faxyourmp.com.

Since December 2000, more than 35,000 faxes have been sent to MPs on behalf of people logging on to the site and seeking assistance. Between April and September last year, the organisation surveyed all the 10,000 people sending faxes to discover how often their MPs replied to a fax within 14 days.

A note on the web site explains: "Ten working days is the target the Government tends to set for its Departments to respond to letters, faxes and emails from the public.

"Parliament does not apply any such standards to its Members correspondence with their constituents. Very quaint. We are continuing the survey."

How good is your MP at responding? Tory Simon Burns managed a 100% response rate from 20 faxes received, making him joint top with 50 other members.

Other chart toppers are: 88% Richard Spring (Con, West Suffolk) and Gillian Shephard (Con, South-West Norfolk); 85% David Ruffley (Con, Bury St Edmunds); 80% Bob Blizzard (Lab, Waveney); 75% Sir Alan Haselhurst (Con, Saffron Walden) and Tim Yeo (Con, South Suffolk); 73% Chris Mole (Lab, Ipswich); 63% Alan Hurst (Lab, Braintree).

The average for all MPs is 61% – failing to meet even that figure were: 50% Ivan Henderson (Lab, Harwich), 44% Mark Francois (Con, Rayleigh); 43% Bob Russell (Lib Dem, Colchester); 32% Sir Michael Lord (Con, Central Suffolk & Ipswich North); 17% John Gummer (Con, Suffolk Coastal); 13% Bernard Jenkin (North Essex).

John Whittingdale (Con, Maldon & Chelmsford East) is not recorded because no constituents contacted him via the web site.

If you want to fax your MP with a problem, log on to wwwfaxyourmp.com and follow the instructions.

HARWICH'S Labour MP Ivan Henderson recently visited Colchester General Hospital and was asked by nurses for assurances that their pay and conditions would be protected if it becomes one of the Government's favoured foundation hospital.

Mr Henderson raised these concerns in the Commons and was told by Health Secretary Alan Milburn that foundation hospitals would provide "fairer and better" pay for nurses. "Clearly, the more responsibilities that nurses take on, the more rewards they can get."

THE European Commission's London office is not very happy with The Times newspaper, which ran a story claiming that, under EU laws, pigs will have to be supplied with toys to keep them happy.

Eurosceptic nonsense, snapped Jim Dougal, head to the EC in the UK, who said a directive indicating that animals should be supplied with stray, hay, wood, sawdust, compost or peat followed scientific evidence that boredom in pigs could lead to them harm themselves and other animals.

"If the UK wants to tell farmers they should supply soft toys for their pigs, that is a matter for them. There is no mention of toys in the EU directive," said Mr Dougal.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the East Anglian Daily Times. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the East Anglian Daily Times