A Correspondence with Mark Reckless MP (UKIP)

I suppose it was inevitable that the defectors to UKIP would bring their fatuous thinking on the ethics of being an MP to the party. But it is disappointing and Farrage needs to stamp on it now.

I received the missive below from Mark Reckless, MP via e-mail.

It is almost Christmas: a time for caring, reflection, and forgiveness. I appreciate therefore that now is probably not the best time to be talking to you about party politics, but before we take some time off with our families and loved ones this year, I have a very quick update for you.

You may have noticed that sadly, the spirit of goodwill has not permeated the Conservative Party, which says it is now suing me and my election agent for around £3,000, which they apparently spent on general election campaign leaflets before I resigned my seat in parliament to seek the people’s verdict in a by-election. 

And while the voters opted for UKIP, the Tories still don’t want to accept that. 

This legal action, therefore, is a slap in the face for the people of Rochester and Strood who elected me as their MP. It’s a slap in the face for democracy. They lost, and they’re sour about it. And now they’re using nasty party tactics to try to drag me to court and hurt us in the pocket.

So today, I’m asking for your help to deal with the legal action.

On November 20th, you helped me establish a 7.3% majority over the Tories. Would you be willing to express your support for us and the voters of Rochester and Strood, by giving just £7.30 to help me deal with this sour grapes legal challenge? 

If there is anything left over after dealing with this, then we will put it into our fighting fund for us to hold Rochester and Strood at the General Election. 

Thank you for your continued support, and Merry Christmas.

Mark Reckless

Member of Parliament for Rochester and Strood (UKIP)

P.S. The fact that the Tories are bickering over £3,000 when we all know they may have a £78m election war chest put together by their secretive clubs, and dodgy donors shows that this is just another cynical attack on democracy, on UKIP, and on the British people. It’s time for us to stand up and fight back, don’t you think?

I have replied as follows:

Dear Mr Reckless,

I was surprised to receive your e-mail of 18th December as I am neither a member of UKIP nor on the electoral roll of your constituency.

You are absolutely correct when you say that Christmas is not the time for party politics and it is a shame that you chose not to follow this maxim. However you have and I feel compelled to respond.

If the Conservative Party printed leaflets featuring your name before your defection to UKIP then you have damaged them. It is not “sour grapes”, they are out of pocket by £3,000 entirely as a result of your actions. They had no way of knowing that you intended to defect and were probably acting in good faith on your behalf. Your conversion to UKIP was a decision taken by you, acting alone. The responsibility for the consequences of your conversion can lie only with you. My strong feeling is that you should pay the printing costs from your own pocket, now.

I do not agree that the action against you constitutes a slap in the face for democracy or your electorate. Indeed, this is precisely the sort of febrile, playground reasoning that I believe is responsible for many of the problems in Westminster. The simple fact is that you have caused them to waste funds and should reimburse them.

Nor do I consider it useful or relevant for you to attack Conservative party funding unless you have clear evidence that the law has been broken. The funding of political parties is, without doubt, a problem; but it is a problem best addressed by sensible debate rather than pejorative mudslinging.

As it happens, I am broadly sympathetic to UKIP as firstly I do not think that membership of the EU benefits this country and secondly I think that Westminster would work far better if it contained fewer career politicians. Your letter is typical of the bilge that passes for debate in some political circles and undermines my second reason for voting UKIP. Were I in your constituency I would not now vote for you.

As it is the season of good will please accept some free advice:

  1. Accept responsibility for all the consequences of your actions.
  2. Pay the darn bill and save yourself a fortune on lawyers.
  3. Avoid hysterical accusations of assaults on democracy or dubious fund raising.
  4. Put UKIP’s case in measured, reasoned terms.
  5. Learn how to punctuate (a conjunction replaces a comma).

Yours sincerely

Patrick Benham-Crosswell