Open Letter to Owen Paterson MP for North Shropshire


Open letter to Owen Paterson MP for North Shropshire, requesting a response to the Prime Minister’s press conference this evening.

Dear Mr Paterson,

This evening I have watched the Downing Street press conference. As you can imagine I am angered and frankly frightened about the damage the Prime Minister has inflicted on the country in such a short time.

He has effectively endorsed breaking the law, avoided legitimate questions about his own knowledge of Mr Cummings’ trips, and lied outright, not least by asserting that Mr Cummings was in need of childcare when it is known that this was not the case.

It is deeply insulting to those of us who have endured the lockdown for the greater good. Loved ones have died and been buried alone. Fathers have been unable to attend the births of their babies. Elderly relatives have been isolated from their adult children and their grandchildren.

More worryingly, it shows that Mr Johnson does not value the rule of law. He has lied to the nation in a live public broadcast, without conscience. Trust in the government will be undermined after this shameful display, and meaningful enforcement of public health measures could be very difficult. It is my belief that continued support from our MP is untenable.

I would be grateful if you could address the most concerning elements:

Number 10 Downing Street issued a statement which accused Durham Police of lying about speaking to Mr Cummings’ family. However Durham Police have confirmed that they indeed spoke to Mr Cummings’ family.  At a time when public trust in the Government guidance is critical to save lives, are you comfortable with the Prime Minister’s office issuing statements that are apparently false?

In Saturday’s evening press conference, the Transport Secretary suggested that the guidance had always been open to personal interpretation. However, experience shows the vast majority of the British public, and evidently Durham Police, felt that the guidance, ‘if you or someone you live with has symptoms of coronavirus, do not leave your home for any reason’ was unequivocal. Are you comfortable with the guidance being retrospectively twisted to save the career of an unelected bureaucrat, unaccountable to the British people?

In light of the immense community efforts taking place across the country, it is simply not credible that Mr Cummings’ family could not find the support that they needed in London. In the unlikely event that they are friendless, have no family in the area, and were unable to find paid support, there are community groups who would have helped them with their food shopping during the period.

In backing Mr Cummings, Mr Johnson has undermined public trust to an extraordinary degree, and now threatens the public health initiative.  The country desperately needs this to be effective, so that life can return to normal as soon as possible.

Democracy ends with ‘one rule for the people and another for the elite’ and the public will rightly not accept it. I am extremely concerned that social distancing, already fraying, will now become unenforceable, risking a very damaging second wave of the virus. There is a risk that thousands of people will lose their lives, and many thousands more will lose their jobs and businesses. This issue could not be more serious.

Mr Johnson has shown breath-taking arrogance and contempt for the public sacrifice made over recent weeks. You have made no public comment regarding the matter. Your constituents deserve to know whether you will be continuing to support him in light of the weekend’s dramatic developments.

I look forward to the publication of your response.

Yours sincerely,

Helen Morgan

Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesperson for North Shropshire
07508 550361
CC: North Shropshire Liberal Democrats, Shropshire Star, Oswestry and Border Counties Advertiser, Whitchurch Herald, BBC Shropshire, ITV Central News, Oswestry Chronicle

12 thoughts on “Open Letter to Owen Paterson MP for North Shropshire”

  1. A brilliant letter Helen. Measured and calm in tone. Be interesting to see what response you get – if any.

  2. A comprehensive and measured letter which exposes the hypocrisy of the PM and the arrogance of the unelected “leader” of the UK. The deafening silence of so many Tory MPs suggests they are too fearful and embarrassed to comment. Let us hope Mr Paterson does not count himself amongst them and strongly condemns both the PM and Mr Cummings.

  3. Owen Patterson will sit on the fence as usual he is one of the elite set and has probably forgotten how N H S cared so well for him after his riding accident

    1. Owen has himself suffered from symptoms of coronavirus and self-isolated. One would hope that he would, therefore, have a greater appreciation of the ramifications of the last few days.

    2. Brenda Nicholson

      An excellent response to an issue which cannot be swept under the carpet by the current PM

  4. Quite agree with Helen Morgan’s letter. We are now seeing what many of us have known for a long time ie. that he has no regard for the sacrifices made by the people. He must think we are all mugs to accept the unbelievable defence put forward by his chief aide. There is a real danger that this whole affair could cost many more lives in the future. We already have just about the worst per capita death rate in the whole world, worse even than the USA. They have 3 times our death total but 5 times our population. What a shambles!

  5. Excellent, now can you ‘have a go’ at. him over his decision to stitch the farmers up please?

  6. I agree with you I would love to know if he answers I’ve sent emails over different matters and never had any replies from him .

    1. I have also written to him on many occasions and always received the ‘partyline’ reply. For the last few letters I have not even had a reply.

  7. Since living in Shropshire for 3 plus years I have had occasion to email Mr Paterson on various occasions and on various matters! So far no reply Not exactly an MP of the people!!

  8. I am unbelievably furious about Boris Johnsons refusal to act upon Dominic Cummings blatant breach of lockdown rules. We are all suffering and have vulnerable people that we cannot go to. My elderly father was very recently widowed (my step mother was in a nursing home in Cheltenham and died of pneumonia?). He is now living alone 60 miles away from me and tortuously kept away from him because I have obeyed the lockdown rules. I work full time as a theatre nurse and on 15th April our wonderful theatre colleague Andy Treble died of COVID 19 in our hospital leaving behind a 15 year old daughter. We are all suffering and have painful and terrible stories to tell but we still keep to the rules to protect not just ourselves but the rest of the population. I will never forget Cummings total lack of remorse and your defence of his selfish heartless behaviour. Believe me we will not forget this betrayal and we will not move on from it. You must understand that people are rightly very very angry.

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