Why was our MP absent from important debate?

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LAST week saw the worst riots in England in living memory and the subsequent criminal behaviour wreaked havoc on London, as well as many other major cities. At the time of writing this, five men have died and at least four of them were killed whilst trying to protect the communities in which they lived.

The Prime Minister deemed the situation so grave, he returned from his summer holiday to chair a meeting of COBRA and then recalled parliament in order to make a statement to the House of Commons. I watched that debate on TV and was heartened to see that David Cameron stayed at the dispatch box for 168 minutes, whilst the Speaker called every single MP who wished to ask a question. I waited and waited to hear from Mark Simmonds MP but there was no question forthcoming. I scoured the packed galleries to see if I could spot him but again – nothing.

The following day I contacted his office in London to enquire whether or not he had actually been present at the debate – to be told he hadn’t and there hadn’t been any riots in Lincolnshire.

Oh how short some memories are! It was only six years ago (in the midst of Mark Simmonds’ tenure) that this sleepy, little market town of Boston burst on to the national news because of riots in the town centre, which, as I recall, kicked off in a heartbeat and took everyone by surprise. So quite apart from the worry that the same could happen here again at some point in the future, shouldn’t we have expected our MP to attend Parliament to represent us as constituents, to show solidarity and appreciation for our brave police officers and to help send the message to violent thugs that their behaviour will not be tolerated in our civilised society?

I’d like to remind your readers that whilst the average wage in Lincolnshire is around £15,000 per year, Mark Simmonds MP earns a salary of £65,738; has two part-time postions which earn him £50,000 and £10,000 per year respectively; and pays his wife up to £25,000 per year for running one of his offices.

That gives a potential household income of £150,738 without even looking at the amounts he has claimed in expenses.

So please Mr Simmonds, please explain your absence from this very important debate and whatever you do, don’t link your failure to attend to ‘value for money’ – as another MP did – we’ll be the judge of that.