Letter: Sad silence

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The Independent Online
Sad silence

Sir: Anthony Bevins in his article, "Slickers and slackers" (4 July), referred to my silence in Parliament during the year 1993. The same is sadly true of 1994. However, he concedes that I am a sick man.

I do not wish to rehearse my symptoms in public: suffice to say that I have been absent with the approval of the whips, and have voted when the Government has been in extremis.

Mr Bevins continued: "It can be expected that the Honourable Gentleman is delivering a full and dedicated service to his constituents." This is true. With the help of an admirable and experienced secretary, I have coped with all my constituency correspondence since the last election. The fax machine and the telephone permit me to deal personally with the more serious cases. When, contrary to medical opinion, I did not improve after a spinal operation and several visits to hospitals, my association adopted Gerald Howarth as Tory candidate. He has been nursing the constituency admirably in my absence.

I will not dwell upon my afflictions, save to say that I am in receipt of a disability allowance. Were I not, you would have seen and heard a great deal more from me. I have been MP for Aldershot since 1970. I can assure you I would not have wished to have spent my last Parliament "in dock".

JULIAN CRITCHLEY

MP for Aldershot (Con)

House of Commons

London SW1

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