Labour’s MP for Tottenham tells residents: ‘wait till September for help’

Some MPs rightly get annoyed when the press and public talk about Parliamentary recess being “holiday” for they continue to work hard in their constituencies during recess.

Labour’s MP for Tottenham David Lammy (aka the man who got away over his expenses thanks to his second home claims coming out before the media got interested in the topic), however, is just the sort of MP who gives those others a bad name.

Here is what he emailed residents on 12th July:

Due to the parliamentary recess, my next advice surgery will be on Friday 13th September.

If you want to see your MP during those two months? Tough. By contrast, the borough’s other MP, Lynne Featherstone, is continuing holding surgeries for constituents throughout the recess, including in August. People don’t stop needing help over the summer – and MPs shouldn’t stop helping.

Mind you, all in all David Lammy’s attitude towards constituents is hardly one of being keen to help them. Take a look at some of the many, many caveats he lists on his website.

There is the usual, and reasonable, point about how MPs can only take up cases from their constituents. But then there is much more, including:

David is not able to help with the following:

  • Disputes between private individuals and employers
  • Disputes between individuals and a private company
  • Ongoing legal cases and overturning decisions made by the courts

Though on any employees who think their firm is breaking the law and wants their MP to help out. That’s a no from David Lammy. No luck either if you are unhappy with a firm that has been contracted to run public services and you are in dispute with them. That’s a no again from David Lammy. The list could go on and on.

And woe betide anyone with a housing issue:

If you have any housing enquiries, you MUST first contact one of your local Councillors.

But even if you do get help, it won’t be quick coming:

David and his team aim to deal with all cases within 20 working days but some cases may take longer.

(Again, contrast that with Lynne Featherstone and her office who consistently turn around correspondence in 2 days.)

And if you do make it to getting an appointment to see your local MP? Best not fall ill and have to miss the appointment:

Please note that if you miss an appointment with the MP you will not be offered a further appointment at the advice surgery for a further three months and you will need to write to the MP for him to take up your case.

The page these quotes are from is titled “Advice: How I can help you”. But it should have appended “But I’d really rather not”.

* Mark Pack is Party President and is the editor of Liberal Democrat Newswire.

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  • That is increadible. Perfectly fair for MPs and stuff to take a break during the reccess but not to have any advice surgeries for the better part of two months. Having worked for a Lib Dem MP they spend most of there recess other than taking a pretty standard week or twos holiday using the time to spend more time in the constituency and be in a position to offer extra surgeries and what have you. Not less.

  • Andrew Emmerson 22nd Jul '13 - 1:30pm

    My first reaction contained lots of swear words as to how poor an MP David Lammy is, but knowing the filters I’ll just say.

    What a useless MP

  • Alyzande Renard 22nd Jul '13 - 6:44pm

    Wow, completely the opposite to my own lib dem MP JULIAN HUPPERT who is spending his summer meeting constituents and generally being a top bloke.

  • Anon MP's Caseworker 22nd Jul '13 - 8:01pm

    Working in an MPs office I would say that the issue of people making appointments to see the MP and not keeping them (with no notice) is a constant bugbear. It is particularly unfair on the constituents who then have to wait till the following week or later.

    If the party had any sort of interest or forum for exchanging best practice between MPs offices then this is the sort of thing we could share best practice on but sadly the policy is basically to leave you on your own.

  • Michael Thomas 22nd Jul '13 - 8:24pm

    Lammy’s website reminds me of Chris Leslie’s ‘Can I Help’ section. God forbid you should be a constituent of his. The section should be renamed ‘how I am not going to help’

  • David Lammy has responed to part of this story on Twitter, but in a way that raises yet more questions –

  • Andrew George MP lists the dates of his advice surgeries. There are none between 6th July and 6th September.

  • Do you want an MP who can debate and scrutinize legislation or a glorified social worker? If MPs did less of the latter they might just be more effective at the former.

  • Richard Shaw 23rd Jul '13 - 8:55pm

    @ Corvinus

    So you think that the less contact an MP has with the people whom the legislation affects the better they become at formulating legislation? I think the opposite is true – greater contact means that MPs are more informed and can better criticise existing and influence new legislation. If someone has a problem the cause of which is due to (or could be solved by) some law or regulation that only Westminster has power over then there is little point in them going to their local Councillors, etc.

  • Lammy is a ‘useless’ MP for not having a surgery over the summer and is insulted on these pages. At the end though, the opinions of LD are irrelevant and it is us to the CLP or Tottenham voters to decide at the next election.

    We see also that a LD, Andrew George, is doing the same thing so if this is what defines a good or ‘useless’ MP then I hope the commentators on here call for him to be deselected as the LD can actually do this, and show an example.

    The fact that they won’t, and that Mr George is imho far from useless, I would hope that we will see less of these threads which add little to the debate and just are there to throw some meat to the anti-Lab crew on here

  • Exactly bcrombie, as a ‘story’ it seems to be right up there with Viz’s classic piece of investigative journalism: “Exclusive: Richard and Judy in Two in the Bed Romp!”.

    Incidentally, Andrew George was the first Lib Dem MP I googled. His name came to mind because I had been very impressed with his question on the Keogh report.

  • Ian Sanderson

    Andrew George is equally unresponsive – but in his case LD can do something about it and deselect him – is that what you want to happen?

    As it happens, Andrew George is not ‘useless’ nor unresponsive despite not holding regular surgeries over this period. He is a good MP

    As you said, from a PR point of view is what pretty amateur but reality is often different from PR

  • bcrombie – as Tottenham is a safe Labour seat, it is up to CLP, or rather the unions. Thanks to the so-called “first past the post” system (although there isn’t a post), voters don’t really get a look-in, which is why Lammy can get away with long holidays, and previous expense claims for a 2nd home despite living less than half an hour away from Parliament, etc.

  • Paul K

    Grow up!

  • errrrrm Paul K is right. David Lammy is awful.

  • Lucas Amos

    Perhaps he is…a lot of people are but I any party that has David Laws as one of its senior Parliamentarians is not in a strong position to criticise

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