St Albans MP Anne Main condemned for dog poo campaign

St Albans MP Anne Main and her dog, Sam

St Albans MP Anne Main and her dog, Sam - Credit: Archant

St Albans MP Anne Main has defended her high-profile dog poo campaign after constituents condemned her for misplaced priorities.

Mrs Main hit international news headlines for encouraging dog walkers not to use a bag to pick up mess, instead favouring the Stick and Flick method, which asks people to move poo into undergrowth by the side of a path with a stick or cover it with leaves, rather than hanging filled bags on trees for others to pick up.

Mrs Main said this would be suitable in places where no livestock grazed and no children played.

She was so incensed by the problem that she raised it for debate in the Commons, prompting a backlash from constituents who argued Mrs Main’s priorities were all wrong.

This week, Parliament has also been considering Brexit and the decriminalisation of abortion.

St Albans resident Helen Campbell said: “It was no surprise that Anne Main has been spending a lot of time talking a bag of sh*te”.

She said: “The UK is in a far bigger doo-doo than that created by the nation’s beloved canine friends.”

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Before the debate on Tuesday, Anne appeared on BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine Show to discuss dog poo and play a game trying to flick fake excrement onto a target.

After being asked to try her aim with some chilli con carne, Mrs Main said she would not flick poo of that consistency, but cover it with leaves.

Commenting on the appearance on Facebook group St Albans Past and Present Memories, Herts county councillor Sandy Walkington said it was “surreal”, adding: “Good to know that at a time of Article 50, potential Scoxit and heaven knows what else, that she is in the swing of things, though she could do with practising her swing too.”

In the same group George Ashworth asked how much she was paid to “talk about dog sh*t in Parliament”.

He added: “They come home from their little club with a warm glow that in talking about dog sh*t they have advanced the human condition. Brilliant.”

A member of All Things St Albans Facebook group, David Smith, said there are “slightly more important matters she could attend to in her district”.

Another comment, from Kelly ‘Thomas’ Irwin, said it “beggars belief”: “I think the thing that I am most incredulous about is that she seems to put this as a clear personal priority when many of her constituents were more concerned about the Brexit Bill going through on Monday and the fact that she is quite clearly not representing the views of her constituents.”

Vladimir Jirasek said: “There are certainly more important issues to take care of.”

Caroline Clark said: “At least she is earning her wages, forget the waiting list for affordable homes in the city she is supposed to represent, forget the state of the roads in the city she is supposed to represent, her legacy will be she was concerned with dog excrement.”

Writing on the Herts Ad’s page Helen Redding said: “They were flicking fake dog poo at a target. Good to see her making such good use of her time.”

Mrs Main said the debate was “plainly not a trivial matter” because it is a national environmental health issue, and the Government is currently preparing a new strategy on litter.

She claimed the environment was one of the top concerns of people in St Albans writing letters to her.

She added: “It’s not only local parks in Hertfordshire, the problem of dog poo bagging and disposal is something that is blighting parts of our countryside all over the UK.

“Littering [with poo bags] in this way is not only antisocial, but it’s a health hazard to small children and livestock in farms, particularly cattle and sheep.”

Mrs Main closed the Westminster debate with a poem from the Forestry Commission, which starts: “If your dog should do a plop, take a while and make a stop, just find a stick and flick it wide, into the undergrowth at the side.”