MP Barwell and the mystery of the vanishing Portcullis logo

They say we should judge a man (or woman) by their deeds, not their words.

This is never more the case than for politicians.

Barwell campaign badgeCroydon Central’s MP Gavin Barwell reckons he’s got away with it again. He claims he was vindicated and that no action was taken against him over what he is now saying was a Tory-funded recruitment letter which he sent to hundreds of constituents – of whatever political affiliation, and of none – in a desperate attempt to drum up support in Addiscombe and other wards in his marginal constituency. In the body of that letter, Barwell somehow forgot to mention that he is a member of the Conservative Party.

Barwell did not forget to stick an official-looking Portcullis emblem at the top of the letters though – suggesting strongly to many that the letter asking them to come forward as candidates for the local elections (recruitment problems for Croydon Tories, Gav?) was sent on official Westminster business. Which it most assuredly was not.

Undeterred, when a constituent asked perfectly reasonably questions about the propriety of the letter – was it being paid for by public money through Barwell’s taxpayer-funded constituency office? Was any time spent on the letter by Barwell’s state-funded constituency staff? – Barwell continued to send out similar letters.

Barwell clearly doesn’t enjoy having his conduct as a publicly funded elected representative held up to scrutiny. There remains strong causes for suspicion that Barwell and his parliamentary staff – who include three Tory candidates in the forthcoming local elections – spend a disproportionate amount of their time on party political work, towards the MP’s re-election in 2015, rather than on what they are paid to do, which is work for their constituents.

He has accused the constituent who filed the enquiry of wasting “…people’s time with false accusations one of which was so laughable it wasn’t even investigated”.

Somewhat indignantly, Barwell accuses his constituent, in exercising a legitimate constitutional right to hold his MP to account, of in some way trying to gag the MP and his staff. “Your continual attempts to restrict free speech are really rather frightening,” Barwell declared on Twitter.

It is, of course, utter nonsense. The Parliamentary Standards Commissioner, quite properly, had asked Barwell to confirm the source and funding for the stationery used in his disguised political recruitment letters.

Barwell maintains that, “I was trying to encourage people of all allegiances to put their names forward”. He is clearly taking the voting public for fools if he thinks that that excuse is in any way credible.

Out of well-placed caution, Barwell’s letter had included (in small print) an imprint from the local Conservative Party. Barwell says that he did that, “To show who paid for it”.

So Barwell is now claiming that he got the Conservative Party to pay for what he also says was a non-political letter distributed to his constituents. Seriously.

We will leave Inside Croydon’s loyal reader to judge for themselves whether the complaints against Barwell’s deceiving letter with the unauthorised use of the Portcullis emblem really were rejected out of hand, as he claims.

Take a look at the heading of the “official” letters “Barfwell” sent out to constituents last year, and compare them to those he has been sending out since his run-in with the authorities at the House of Commons.

NOW YOU SEE IT

The letter heading on Barfwell's original "recruitment" letter, with official-looking Portcullis in place. Paid for, according to Barwell, by the Conservative Party

The letter heading on Barfwell’s original “recruitment” letter, with official-looking Portcullis in place. Paid for, according to the Tory MP, by the Conservative Party

NOW YOU DON’T

The more recent letter from Barfwell's office to Addiscombe residents, announcing the Tory candidates in May's local elections. Where's the Portcullis gone?

The more recent letter from Barfwell’s office to Addiscombe residents, announcing the Tory candidates in May’s local elections. Where’s the Portcullis gone?


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About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
This entry was posted in 2014 council elections, 2015 General Election, Addiscombe, Croydon Central, Gavin Barwell MP and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to MP Barwell and the mystery of the vanishing Portcullis logo

  1. derekthrower says:

    Barwell is starting to display his Stalinist side. Could he be one of the Conservative Party’s “Friends of Russia.” Always have a stand at the Tory Party Conference. Don’t know about this year though.

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