Why Canterbury & Whitstable needs a new Labour M.P.

(one that lives in the constituency)

By

A Kent Labour Party Member


Important Note

This piece has been written by a long-standing Kent Labour Party member who has actively campaigned for the Labour Party in numerous local and national elections over many years. The writer has chosen anonymity in order to escape suspension or expulsion from the party. Whitstable Views respects that choice.


Last week I was informed by reliable and trusted sources that on Thursday, January 27th 2022, Labour members in Canterbury & Whitstable received the shock news that their MP, Rosie Duffield, no longer lives in the constituency. At the All-Members Constituency Labour Party (“CLP”) meeting that evening, the CLP Officers admitted to members that they understood Ms Duffield had in fact moved to North Wales. Ms Duffield’s partner, the TV director James Routh, is apparently pursuing his media career in Wrexham and it would seem Ms Duffield had joined him there. She appears to have been living there since late summer or early autumn last year.

Constituency concerns

This follows Labour members and residents having become increasingly concerned in recent months that the Canterbury MP seldom appeared to visit her constituency. She certainly shows poor attendance at local Party meetings, street stalls and campaign events. In addition, constituents have reported numerous instances of her failure to respond to their letters and e-mails and she has a history of blocking from her social media platforms the constituents who dare to hold her to account.

Failure to notify local members

CLP officers and members alike are bewildered as to how Ms Duffield could properly perform her duties as a local MP while choosing to live more than 200 miles away. The principle behind parliamentary democracy in the UK is that MPs represent a local area and all those who live in that area. Nearly all MPs have a residence in the constituency which they represent with only a very small number living in a neighbouring one.

It seems Ms Duffield did not inform the local Party where she had moved to and it is understood the Westminster Whips office only discovered this by chance with CLP Officers becoming aware of the move due to a tip-off via the Whips office.

Serious concerns

Many Party members as well as local residents have harboured serious concerns about Rosie Duffield’s commitment to the area since the Labour electoral victory in June 2017 by which Ms Duffield became MP. In addition to her failure to respond in writing to her constituents her attendance at meetings with constituents, local groups and local Labour Councillors has been very poor. Some members joke about her often used excuse “the trains from London have been cancelled”!

Lack of commitment

It is fair to say that Ms Duffield has also demonstrated a distinct lack of commitment to the Westminster part of her role. She is rarely seen on the floor of the house. The House of Commons website records that she has only tabled two Early Day motions in more than 4.5 years and that her attendance at the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs Select Committee is only 51%. This is despite the significant local environmental issue of pollution of the sea in her constituency and that significant parts of her constituency are rural ones and part of the agricultural economy.

Obviously both Westminster and Canterbury & Whitstable are a long way from North Wales, even if the trains are running!

Ms Duffield does not drive.

Second highest MPs expenses in Kent

At £232,539.44, Ms Duffield’s expenses are the second highest of any Kent MP.

See: https://shepwayvox.org/2022/01/20/kent-mps-make-highest-ever-expenses-claims-during-covid-2020-21/comment-page-1/

Those shockingly high expenses surely cannot be argued to be the result of frequent travel between her constituency and Westminster as she is so seldom in Canterbury & Whitstable?

Members do not even seem to know if she has an office in the constituency or who she employs.

Certainly, it appears Ms Duffield has failed to respond to enquiries from the local press about her expenses:-

On April 23, Canterbury’s Ms Duffield made a single claim of £4,220.84, with the expense described as for “computer, laptop, PC, tablet & accessories”. Ms Duffield’s team also did not respond when asked if this was for home working and how many employees the equipment was for.

See: https://www.kentonline.co.uk/maidstone/news/printers-desks-and-shredder-oil-kent-mps-lockdown-expens-246071/

What do all these expenses relate to? Are taxpayers now having to finance Ms Duffield’s move to North Wales and any subsequent travel and hotel expenses?

Who am I?

As a long-standing Kent Labour Party member who has actively campaigned for the Party in numerous local and national elections over many years, I choose to make these points while remaining anonymous in order to avoid the fate of other Party members who have spoken out. Indeed, it was widely discussed and disseminated among Party members that Ms Duffield had made a very clumsy intervention into the recent Gorrell ward by-election in Whitstable after opposition to the candidacy of a long-standing and popular local Whitstable member. The candidate was suspended from the party while two other Labour members who had also put themselves forward withdrew in response to his removal – not least because he was believed to be the most likely and appropriate candidate as he lived in the ward.

The result of that internal fiasco was that very few Labour Party members from Whitstable campaigned for the new Labour candidate in the Gorrell ward by-election and many actually abstained from voting. Some even voted for The Green Party, as a result of which the Green candidate, Clare Turnbull, was duly elected as the first ever Green Party city councillor

It is widely believed that Ms Duffield had been instrumental in her own Party losing one of its only 10 councillors on the city council.

The next General Election

In spite of all this, and in what appears to be an incredible act of hubris Rosie Duffield has indicated that she again wants to be the Labour parliamentary candidate for Canterbury & Whitstable at the next election. Presumably, considering her apparent move to North Wales, Ms Duffield has forgotten that she posted the following comment about a previous parliamentary candidate’s tenuous link to the constituency:-

The residents of Canterbury, Whitstable & the Villages and the local Party members deserve so much better. They need an MP who will fight for their rights on important local issues such as social and affordable housing, the environment, better public transport and proper workplace rights and wages. Ms Duffield has seldom shown an interest in such issues.

Importantly, they also need an MP who lives in the area and who therefore remains connected to local people and issues.

This is crucial considering the fact that Canterbury & Whitstable is the only constituency in Kent with a Labour MP.

A chance to decide

Labour members in Canterbury & Whitstable will shortly have the chance to decide if Ms Duffield will be their candidate at the next General Election. A trigger ballot will take place by which members and other affiliated bodies such as local trade unions can have their say. Members will have the opportunity to replace Ms Duffield with someone who will work hard in this important role and who is prepared to give proper care and attention to local constituents and the area. Can Rosie Duffield do this if she is living more than 200 miles away?

I, and many others, do not believe she can. We need another parliamentary candidate; one who Party members and supporters can support with confidence.

One thing is sure – we must not let such an important opportunity slip away.

A Kent Labour Party Member


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18 Comments

  1. FGS leave her alone

    For crying out loud. Leave this poor woman alone. She has worked tirelessly for her community – WHICH SHE LIVES IN – and all she gets is grief from the nasty, vindictive bullies in her CLP. This whole thing is libellous and I strongly suspect the only reason this has been shared anonymously is because they know that it’s not true. Shame on everyone involved.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. lobsterfan

    Personally I am ashamed of this constant assault on our MP. It is basically harassment and bullying. If the writer has valid concerns and they really are Labour Party members there are formal processes within the Party that they should adopt. But of course, the writer prefers a more scurrilous path of innuendo and slur.

    And the supposed faults are trivial. Is it worth trying to change a sitting MP because they bought a computer. The charges against spending time away from Canterbury are also childish. My family has known her since their children were in school together so anyone trying to claim that the MP has no local roots is a non starter. And slow to respond ? All my dealings with her and her staff have been handled efficiently, quickly and courteously. Perhaps she does not respond fast to personal attacks and innuendo – well that seems perfectly understandable. This is juvenile stuff and the authors bile appears to have conquered their sense of right and wrong

    And hiding behind anonymity is both spineless and unethical. What sort of morality or personal code of ethics does the writer have.? This form of behavior is exactly why the Labour Party lost the last two elections. Bad ethical choices such as the unspeakable defense of anti-semitism. Fighting internally rather than setting out a viable path to actually governing. This sort of shamelessness has caused the collapse in people’s faith in the Party – perhaps that is a better explanation for the Green vote than the one offered. I don’t want to give my vote to anti-semites, causers of internal conflict or entryists.

    So, the coward who wrote this should have the guts to name themselves and take on the chin any consequence. This nonsense does not speak well for Whitstable and should not go out in its name.

    Like

    1. Riff Clithard

      >”And hiding behind anonymity is both spineless and unethical. What sort of morality or personal code of ethics does the writer have.?”

      Says the person hiding behind a pseudonym with a randomly generated avatar….

      Like

    1. lobsterfan

      I have posted my name in a preceding post. Would you now like to address the facts of the question – anonymous sliming of our MP rather than working through party procedures if there is a genuine complaint? Unfounded trivial arguments. Solidarity with precisely what ? Bullying and scandal mongering. Hidden name abuses ? Are these the processes by which you and your like minded folks think are acceptable means of democratic discussion? If the writer cares to share their name and face up to a grown up process lets have that debate

      Like

  3. Joe

    Some absolute spam here protecting the Terf Commander. Duffield’s an embarrassment to an increasingly embarrassing party. Getting rid would be quite the win.

    Like

  4. danairsailing

    “People are free to think what they like, but Whitstable Views will not be a platform for anyone who is trying to hurt or demean anyone else.” Looks like Whitstable Views has departed from its core values. Shame.

    Like

    1. christopherjamesstone

      Not sure that asking where your MP is living is hurting or demeaning anyone. It is asking a question of someone who is supposed to be accountable to us. Interesting too that in all the histrionics after the appearance of this article, there’s been no clear and definitive reply, only a lawyer’s obfuscation.

      Like

  5. jackanderton

    Interesting how all the orchestrated criticism of the post just focuses on it being nasty and the author being anonymous (and in doing so illustrating perfectly why an ordinary person would chose to remain anonymous) , rather than the actual content which supports their stance objectively explaining the poor performance of their MP, without even going into their vile personal views which are conspicuously omitted.

    Pretty much shows that the comments are from Duffield’s lackeys and the tinfoil hat section of the always-online terf community. Just heading to the salt cellar.

    Like

  6. senora dolores

    It’s sad that commentators on the piece written by the Kent Labour Party member have sprung to Rosie Duffield’s defence believing she is somehow being harassed or abused – when in fact, the member is simply exercising rightful scrutiny of Canterbury’s representative. I can see how this happens when Duffield chooses to block constituents from her social media accounts when they dare to raise constituency issues with her on which they feel they have had little help – or are shocked at her comments or conduct. The result of an MP blocking those who comment or tweet with concerns means that followers of those accounts are left in blissful ignorance of the disappointment so many constituents feel about an MP who actually admitted she had failed to reply to 18,000 emails in her inbox and seems to spend far more time bleating to the right wing press about “abuse” than involved with her constituents – who feel equally “abused” by having her as their MP. While Duffield continues to ignore her constituents’ concerns, and instead remains in the echo chamber of her own making, she will also continue to throw online histrionics at the shock of someone like this party member speaking up. An important note explained that the person wrote their piece anonymously because they may well have suffered party expulsion as did 85 year old Anne Belworthy after having been a loyal member of the Labour Party for 65 years. It might be productive all round if those who had taken such offence to the Labour Party member’s “anonymity” spend just a bit of time discovering more about what’s going on within the party – and regarding our MP’s failings. Perhaps they might like to read Anne’s piece here – to which she proudly put her name – as have I with all my own articles on Rosie Duffield. And in case you’re wondering… no, I did not write this anonymous piece and I am not a Labour Party member and have never been a paid up member of any political party – though I am, sadly, a constituent of Rosie Duffield’s, and, like many others I am ashamed of my part in campaigning for her. Like so many others in Whitstable, Canterbury and elsewhere I so wish she would defect – but as she’s proving to be as much of a liability for Starmer as she was for Corbyn – what other party leader would be stupid enough to accept an MP so disloyal to their own party?

    Like

  7. senora dolores

    PS – and here is the link to Anne Belworthy’s piece which I referred to in my last comment – the 85 year old Labour Party member expelled after 65 years of loyal party membership. Following that, it might become more clear to those on here who do not understand why the Kent Labour Party member felt the need to remain anonymous – not “cowardly” but pragmatic. whitstableviews.com/2021/12/24/my-christmas-present-from-labour/

    Like

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