LETTER: Disillusionment in the House

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From Sir Anthony Grant, MP

Sir: Your report that the retirement of Conservative MPs "paints [an] embarrassing picture of disillusionment for the Government" is wholly misleading ("40 Tory MPs who are voting with their feet", 21 August) . I can only speak for myself, but my disillusionment is not with the Government but with the House of Commons. Indeed, I believe the Government's policies are entirely correct in principle and those of the Opposition non-existent.

My criticism is that power and influence has shifted too much from parliament to the press and media, which are usually aware of government decisions before MPs.

There has also been too much instant reaction to hysteria in the press - soccer hooliganism, dangerous dogs, firearms, and "Nolan" are but a few examples.

Secondly, the obsessive desire to join the government, or to become the government, has blurred the distinction between executive and legislature. So- called full-time professional MPs exacerbate this. So too has the increased intrusion of the judiciary, through judicial review, weakened the power of Parliament.

My hope is that our successors will recognise that if parliamentary democracy means anything, MPs must be answerable only to their electorate - not to the press, media, judiciary, or outside bodies no matter how distinguished.

Yours faithfully,

Anthony Grant

MP for Cambridgeshire SW


House of Commons

London, SW1

22 August