Your letters to the Herts Ad...
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Several days ago I received an email regarding the proposed new leisure centre in Rothamsted Park in Harpenden.
In the email it was stated that the summary of briefing sessions website has received a tremendous 868 visits. Can any local councillors explain this claim?
Given that the estimated population of Harpenden and surrounding villages is some 40,000, does this mean that 39,132 or 98 per cent have no interest? Which number is fantastic?
I also note, with horror, that it is proposed to build a car park in Rothamsted Park.
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I find local councillors’ silence on these proposals to be truly, truly shameful, particularly as theylive here in our town and should feel a sense of responsibility toward protecting that which we have, a beautiful unspoilt park. Shame on them all. VICTOR LOWRY Amenbury Lane, Harpenden
I would like to know whether Peter Lilley intends to vote in line with his constituents’ majority vote to remain in the EU or in line with his own personal interests to leave the EU when it comes to the vote on Article 50 which the Supreme Court has now said must take place in Parliament?
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This is clearly of general interest to your readers. NAME & ADDRESS SUPPLIED
I know you are always on the ball and probably have already approached our MP, Anne Main, on the subject but I think Anne’s constituents would like to know how she will vote on the very important forthcoming Brexit debate in Parliament.
I know Anne will say her vote was personal and the leavers won, but she is our representative in Parliament, our voice in this debate.
When constituents feel their MP is out of step with their views on very important issues they are not happy, the by-election in Richmond is a case in point, that’s why Zach Goldsmith lost his seat. ANJIE DAVISON By email
Mr Cosker (Herts Ad January 26) argues that Harpenden MP , Peter Lilley, should override his well-reasoned personal thoughts on leaving the EU in a way that would “more accurately” reflect the views of the Remainers in his constituency.
He should seriously be aware that what he wishes for may result in quite the opposite coming to fruition.
It is quite true that the Thameslink corridor based on a heavily London-influenced and self-interested elitist opinion did heavily vote to Remain. Yet this was not reflected by any means throughout the country.
The vast majority of constituencies voted quite clearly to leave, despite the fact that the majority of their MPs had previously expressed there opinion to remain.
If they were indeed simply to follow the instructions dearly wished for by those who voted leave there would be no problems of dissent in the Commons at all, a massive vote to leave, a triggering of Article 50 and no delay in getting on with the exit negotiations.
However that is not how it works in our democracy. There has to be a balance between the will of the people, as expressed in a clear cut (if nationally small) majority and the opinions of independent democratically elected MPs.
Taken to an extreme hardly any decisions would ever be made in Parliament if local MPs were duty bound to follow solely the opinions of their local electorates. That will can be expressed at General Election times.
Our MP is right in saying an MP is not just a simple “delegate” or rather as I would say a “mouthpiece” for what so often can be a stereotyped very noisy minority. I would always prefer to see huge questions like the current one settled by sensible debate.
Right from the beginning our government in particular sank to extraordinary levels in the Project Fear campaign.
That does not mean others on the opposite side did not also exaggerate, but for a Government, the Treasury and the Bank of England to do so destroyed credibility. None of what they preached has come through.
It has been said before that the people so often get it right. MPs should listen as always to the people, but in particular to what they feel the whole country wants, not what a London elite wants.
Long may we have truly independent thinking MPs like Peter Lilley and Anne Main , who truly work so hard for their constituents, sometimes against all the odds. MICHAEL WEAVER Clarence Road, Harpenden
Why some of your correspondents find it rather surprising that Peter Lilley should be on the ‘Leave side’ in the Brexit debate is a mystery to me.
The EU has been proven to be corrupt (all the Commissioners had to resign in 1999 over corruption, and Mrs Lagarde was caught out giving EU work to her dentist, if I remember correctly) and it is notoriously inefficient and wasteful.
I for one do not want to be associated with this doubtful organisation, which is basically a failed-politicians’ ‘gravy train’.
Why are so many of those sitting on the Green Benches so keen on the EU, we should wonder, and don’t mind handing over the sovereignty of our nation to a pack of unelected Commissioners who have been proven to be corrupt?
I think that the answer is that so many are now ‘career politicians’ who have never held down a ‘proper job’ outside politics.
What can they do when the electorate kick them out of Westminster? Go for a nice sinecure in one of the many and growing number of EU agencies, that’s what, where the rewards are even greater than at Westminster!
I have found Peter Lilley to be an excellent MP who always answers my letters and passes on my complaints to the appropriate Minister – now I am retired I have time, for instance, to speak out against the way that service personnel are often treated, such as the current persecution of those retired soldiers who had to do the Government’s bidding in Northern Ireland.
BARRY HAVES Southfield Way. St Albans
On Saturday January 21, I tripped over some uneven pavement at the top end of Camp Road, adjacent to Ashley Road.
Not aware at the time that I had broken my elbow in the fall I was unsuccessfully trying to lift myself up. A young gentleman on a push bike came to my assistance and got me onto my feet.
I must have looked a real mess as I had also cut my face in several places and he was most concerned to assist me home.
I thanked him for his help and insisted that as I lived just around the corner I would be able to get home unassisted.
I would like to sincerely thank, through your letter pages, this kind young gentleman, the only description I can offer is that he had a black bag with white writing on it, slung over his back.
PETER SWINSON Cambridge Road, St Albans
Prior to Parliament voting in July 2016 to renew the Trident nuclear weapons system I wrote to Peter Lilley MP asking him to meet members of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) in Hitchen and Harpenden constituency to discuss this renewal.
Mr Lilley declined to meet us on the grounds that he had previously stated his view on nuclear weapons to us on several occasions. He ignores the fact that circumstances change.
Fellow Conservative MP, Crispin Blunt estimates the replacement will cost £205 billion over the 30-year life of the system. He thinks the nation’s security would be better served if the money were spent on conventional defence.
We wanted to meet Mr Lilley to express our view that nuclear weapons are unsafe and that our nation could ill-afford Trident renewal. Events have proved us right.
We now know that prior to the Commons vote, a test firing of a missile from a Trident submarine in June 2016 failed. The missile had to be diverted to self-destruct. Prime Ministers Cameron and May concealed this from Parliament and the public.
On January 23 the Defence Secretary, Sir Michael Fallon, confirmed that the test had taken place but described it as a “success”.
He accused MPs of putting national security at risk by asking for operational details of the missile launch. He said that it was not government policy to discuss such matters. However, the MOD had reported successful firings in 2009 and 2012 - Sir Michael appears to be living in the ‘post truth’ era.
Could it be that the government only conceals failed test firings from Parliament and the public and if so, how many have there been? Without this knowledge we can have no idea how safe the Trident system is. We already know of many nuclear accidents, both civil and military. How many more have gone unreported? Would Mr Lilley be prepared to ask a parliamentary question on this matter?
MPs’ questions confirmed what CND has always said, that our so-called ‘independent’ nuclear deterrent is not independent at all. The Trident missiles are leased from the USA. In theory, a British Prime Minister could order the firing of Trident missiles without getting prior approval from the White House allowing the UK to maintain the façade of being a global military power. In practice, though, it is difficult to conceive of any situation in which a Prime Minister would fire a Trident missile without prior US approval.
The UK government claims to favour multilateral nuclear disarmament. In March this year the UN will begin negotiations on a global nuclear weapons ban. 123 nations voted in favour of these negotiations; Britain voted against and will not participate in the discussions. Will Mr Lilley ask the Government why?
And will Mr Lilley now withdraw his support for Trident replacement and demand that the £31 billion to be spent on the submarines be used to alleviate the financial crises in the NHS, in social care, in education, housing and in almost every aspect of local government expenditure?
Our invitation to Mr Lilley to discuss these issues is still open.
DAVID LEIGH Chairperson, St Albans CND