Our local MP Mark Simmonds has baffled members of a parish council with a request for a secret meeting – for which they should foot the bill and do all the donkeywork.But the really confusing part is that the parish involved – East Kirkby, home of the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre – is not even in the constituency Mr Simmonds represents.
The matter came to light in an e-mail from a member of the council who was at the meeting last week when the request was made, and who writes:
“Our Clerk has received a letter from Mark Simmonds’ ‘people’ saying that he wishes to meet with our parish councillors, in a ‘closed’ meeting to discuss issues in and around our parish.
“It requests that we do all of the legwork for him and talk to the villagers about issues that are important to them and that we arrange, including pay for, a meeting place and presumably refreshments for him and his entourage.
“Now here is where my confusion comes in.
“Our parish is not even in his constituency; our MP is Sir Peter Tapsell not Mark Simmonds.
“I know that there is not much to choose between the two of them, but surely this is not a good use of money and time when he cannot even find time to meet with the people of Boston itself!
“I suppose that the people of Boston area should be grateful that he has managed to loosely locate Boston, even if it is in someone else’s constituency.
“It is also intriguing that he is looking to – even if discreetly – rear his head at a time when a certain Tory Councillor Ayling has defected to UKIP.
“Needless to say, we have declined his invitation.
“If we meet with anyone it should be with Peter Tapsell and a meeting should be an open one, not closed; the public should have the opportunity to pose their own questions to these people.
“Come on Mark Simmonds, grow some balls and go and actually talk and listen to the people you are supposed to represent (and I don’t mean just secretly visiting the Boston councils ‘yes’ men.)
“The people of Boston and its surrounding villages are crying out for help.
It is said that at least one other parish – Old Leake – received a similar.
At least this particular parish is in Boston.
“In regards to what issues Mark Simmonds wanted to discuss, it was very vague, just that he wanted us to go and speak to the residents of our parish and find out what concerns or issues they have so that we could pass them on to him.
“What purpose this exercise is for was also not stated.
“We declined the meeting as it seems a waste of our time and his when he is not actually our MP and for the fact that we would have to hire a meeting place and provide refreshments which we feel is not a good use of our very meagre precept.
“I am sure that his time could be much better spent dealing with the ever growing issues that he has within his own constituency or actually studying which parishes come under his wing.”
It will be interesting if someone could tell us the reason for the request – and why if such a meeting needs to be held at all that it should be done in secret.
But given the confidential way in which the request was apparently couched, we saw no point in asking Mr Simmonds – as his slowness to respond is becoming legendary.
Perhaps if our parish councils were located in Africa, the overseas territories (not Falklands, SBAs or Gibraltar) or the Caribbean (not including Dominican Republic, Haiti or Cuba) which is what he spends most of his time dealing with these days, we might have a better chance of knowing what’s going on
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