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This article was written on 11 Mar 2012, and is filed under Politics.

Parliamentary Shocker

John Howell MP (Henley-on-Thames, Conservative safe seat)

UPDATE: This story has now been covered by the Henley Standard newspaper and subsequently by regional BBC TV news and the Oxford Mail.

On Friday and Saturday (March 9th-10th) Israel’s military (its airforce to be precise) exacted an operation on the Gaza Strip, which consisted of several bouts of aerial bombardment, resulting in death and destruction. At least 17 Palestinians were killed, including at least one little boy and one elderly man; several were wounded.

The least I could do was to alert my Member of Parliament to this situation, asking him to assert a political position, and question him on how he was going to use his democratically mandated power to help put an end to the violence.

So I drafted and sent the following message to my MP, John Howell:

To: John HOWELL <john.howell.mp@parliament.uk>
Subject: Recent attacks: Israel & Gaza
Date: 10 March 2012 17:24:11 GMT

Dear John Howell MP,

What is your position with regard to the recent military assaults on parts of the Gaza Strip (UN: Palestinian Territories) by the state of Israel (Hague: “important [UK] ally”)?

What actions are you taking to see that Israel halts the military actions that are taking place in defiance of international law and basic human decency?

Only a few hours ago Israel felt it necessary to inflict this destruction and death on the Strip:

I look forward to your reply.

Regards,

Harry Fear
Constituency resident, of XXXXX Road, XXXXX, Oxfordshire

P.S.: This is an open letter

I received this reply the same day:

Date: 10 March 2012 21:51:12 GMT

And what is your position Harry on the 100 rockets which have landed in Israel over the weekend?

John Howell OBE MP
Member of Parliament for Henley
House of Commons
London, SW1A 0AA
Tel. 020 7219 6676
howelljm@parliament.uk

I found the reply deeply disturbing on several accounts:

  • The MP did not extend me the professional practice (or even human courtesy) of writing a proper and serious reply;
  • Additionally, I believe it does not require imagination to find a latently abusive or sarcastic tone in the reply that I did receive;
  • He absolutely ignored my two genuine and important questions;
  • I see this as disturbingly unprofessional conduct for a democratically elected, mandated, empowered, public representative.

So I have thus issued: (1) a conduct complaint to the Conservative Party; and (2) also made a Parliamentary complaint. This blog post has been forwarded to The Independent and The Guardian.

Considering we are talking about the lives lost of innocent children and the possibility of further death and destruction, I was utterly flabbergasted to receive this inhumane reply from my constituency MP.

If you have time, please email John Howell MP, civilly expressing your discontent with his conduct.

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