Letter to my MP

Dear Mr Pursglove

May I sincerely congratulate you on your appointment as a Parliamentary under Secretary of State to be shared between the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice. I guess you will spend quite a bit of time walking between the very ugly building in Petty France (it’s hideous from the outside isn’t it?) to the quite ugly building in Marsham Street. I remember going into the Marsham Street building once when there was water pouring off the pavement down the steps and into the front entrance. It didn’t seem a very clever design but I guess ministers can walk on water. There used to be an excellent cafe on the junction of Great St Peter St and Marsham Street that did a very good poached egg on toast for breakfast, but I see it is now a Pret.

Anyway, the best of luck in your new role and remember that Mathew’s gospel tells us that ‘No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other, Ye cannot serve God and mammon.’ but I’m sure you’ll have no problem serving Ms Patel and Mr Raab.

May I just mention one thing to you, although I am not asking you to do anything about it, not just because it is wrong for the government to interfere with the judiciary, but also because it is a matter of only passing importance. However, it may be of relevance to your new role – simply as a piece of information.

I am an appellant in an appeal in the Appeal Court against a judgment made in the High Court in spring 2019. This legal process started early in 2018 with a decision made by Natural England, a public body, on a matter to do the conservation of a rare and threatened bird, the Hen Harrier. I believed, and still do believe, that Natural England made an unlawful decision – the details matter to me but don’t matter for the purposes of this tale. The RSPB took a similar view, and independently took a separate legal challenge. Both of our challenges were turned down by a judge and we both decided to appeal the judgment and were given permission to take our arguments to the Court of Appeal – we were given permission in the autumn of 2019 and the case came to the Court of Appeal in March 2020 (but one of the judges was taken ill) and then again was heard in January this year. It is now late September and I am still waiting (as are the RSPB) for a judgment. This is a very long wait, and cannot truly be caused by coronavirus as the case has been heard – all we need is a judgment. Win or lose I would like to know the outcome of this case. Through this process I have raised money for the legal challenges, spent my time liaising with (some wonderful) lawyers, and done a fair amount of writing of witness statements. In the absence of a judgment, the activity which I argue is unlawful carries on unrestrained. I’m a bit annoyed about this. Can you see why? No need to answer – that was an entirely rhetorical question.

But congratulations on your appointment. I wish you well.

[Name and address supplied]

PS You may remember that I was interested to see that you had received sizeable donations from Alexander Termerko – and so I was interested to read in the Byline Times (September paper edition, pages 6-7, it’s a long interestng article) that a company owned by Mr Termerko and a Viktor Fedotov, Aquind Limited, has donated more than £365,000 to the Conservative Party. Can you tell me whether you have received any further donations from Termerko, Fedotov or Aquind, please?

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3 Replies to “Letter to my MP”

  1. Very well said Mark. It is totally disgraceful that Wild Justice and the RSPB have had to wait so long for a decision on Hen Harrier Brood Meddling and are still waiting. I hope it is not a case of this awful Government “ leaning “ on the Judiciary. At least your MP should respond by giving you a good reason for this gross and excessive delay..

  2. Hard to ‘wish well’ someone who receives tens of thousands of pounds in donations from mysterious Russian business (and their political party ditto). Just donate out of the goodness of their hearts do they? Don’t want anything in return? A lot of philosophers and biologists argue there is no such thing as true altruism. Hmm.
    Political funding in this country is a nasty mess and ripe for someone who wants a big campaign to get their teeth into. (Commenters: please don’t just say ‘lots of countries are worse’, as that’s not the point. Politics is so powerful that funding of it needs to be as good and transparent as it can possibly be.)

    1. Unfortunately there is not very much incentive for the government to reform political funding given that they benefit very handsomely from the current arrangements. We can seek to shame them into change but, increasingly, a sense of shame seems to be a very rare commodity indeed in the upper echelons of the government.

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