John Leech writes to a constituent

john leechAny of us who have been elected to public office will have received letters, emails or even phone calls that shock us into realising that not all our compatriots are liberal and fair-minded.  Rascist, homophobic or simply personally offensive rants, expressed in highly charged language, remind us that we still have much work to do.

When it has happened to me I have initially been quite upset, then dealt with it by distancing myself from the contents and refusing to respond. But maybe there is another way to handle such communications.

John Leech, the MP for Manchester Withington, was sent one of those letters recently, but instead of binning it he exposed it to Pink News, together with his robust reply.  The letter he received said this:

Leech,

The report that you are hosting a discussion on homosexuals highlights how useless you lot are. Do you think that nonsense is a priority in football?

We are sick and tired of this political correctness in our everyday lives, now you people are trying to brainwash children and others into this perversion. You make me sick.

You and your ilk are talking to kids saying men marrying men is normal. What next, paedophilia?

Already the creeps are trying to lower the age of consent – 21-18-16 what’s next 14-12-10. It’s evil what’s going on. Porn being shown in schools in the name of sex education and you want to teach kids about homosexuality. You are sick and evil. I hope people like you get voted out at the election all stay in the gay village where you belong.

John Leech wrote back:

I was tempted to treat your letter with the contempt that it deserved, but I found myself not being prepared to ignore your ignorant, offensive and homophobic letter.

Setting aside the fact that the discussion I hosted in Parliament was about the need to tackle homophobia in football, not a “discussion on homosexuals” as you seem to claim, the vast majority of people would be greatly offended by your assertion that “we are sick and tired of this political correctness in our everyday lives”.

In fact I would go so far as to say that most people are sick and tired of a small minority of people making offensive homophobic comments like those in your letter. You are, of course, entitled to hold your offensive views, but please do not bother to waste my time, and yours, by expressing them to me.

Yours sincerely

John Leech

Well done! – a model for us all to copy.

 

* Mary Reid is a contributing editor on Lib Dem Voice. She was a councillor in Kingston upon Thames and is a member of Federal Conference Committee.

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5 Comments

  • John shows exactly why he was successful in Withington and why he deserves our support and admiration. We need many more like him in our inner cities with the courage to stand up and fight for the values we all aspire to.

    A great liberal and a fine MP.

  • Alex Harvey 23rd Jul '13 - 3:04pm

    John Leech just became my favourite Lib Dem (Sorry, Vince)

  • Matthew Huntbach 24th Jul '13 - 8:29am

    People at the bottom of society in terms of wealth and income often feel that politics has failed them, because the political left is too obsessed with things like gay rights to be bothered with bread-and-butter left issues. This often results in outbursts like the above. We need to recognise this rather than reply in a rude way. I’ve often found myself that outbursts like this are really just an anti-political-elite thing rather than a matter of deep bigotry, and the people making them will listen to reasoned arguments against their points.

    I don’t think it’s unreasonable to put gay marriage as something the Liberal Democrat have put up to try and hide the way it has so shifted to a right-wing position. So it can say “stuff the poor” and adopt a thoroughly Conservative Party approach to social equality, and then pretend it’s still all lefty and liberal because of the way it’s pushed gay marriage. Do you know what that causes people who are in desperate economic circumstances to think?

  • Norman lewis 28th Jul '16 - 1:50pm

    Freedom of speech, expression, must come with a license to offend

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