CANDIDATES' ADDRESSES: 'AS I WALK DOWN THE STREET'
Blog post – 3 March 2009
Last night I voted in favour of enabling the home address of a candidate during the general election to be kept confidential. It’s not the fact that at one point during the abortion debate both my home and those of my staff were 'flagged' by the Police following the usual barrage of threats from the pro-abortion zealots.
Or the fact that one Sunday morning I woke up to abuse painted all over my front room windows. It's not even because of the nice man who knocked at my door at 5am en route to the passport office in Peterborough (he wanted to be first in the queue) to ask me to sign his passport form because the Dr hadn’t started work yet; and it’s not even because of the parcel post shoe-box full of broken glass with ripped photographs of me inside, it’s none of those things.
I was influenced to support this amendment during a cross-party meeting held by Julian Lewis MP, which was attended by MPs from all parties who all had their own stories to tell. One Labour MP was in tears. An inner city MP who has worked extensively with abused women through a refuge has gone to great lengths already to ensure that the threats she has received over the years could not be carried out. Other MPs followed suit with their own particular stories and I realised mine were change in comparison to what some had had to endure.
Not so long ago I attended a surgery in a village hall. My last appointment, a man, sat in front of me and said:
"I am so glad to see you are on your own and don’t have any security".
I do now. For all of those who voted for the amendment last night it wasn’t about us, it was about our families and those who didn’t choose this job and to whom we owe a duty of care.
The really disgraceful thing about last night's vote was the behaviour of the Liberal Democrats. They strongly opposed the amendment with their usual childish antics. Those of us who have stood against a Lib Dem in an election will understand why. In 2001 they printed literature of the village in which I lived and then posted it around the council estates in Hazel Grove where I was standing with the heading:
'She lives here'.
Last night's vote deprived the Liberal Democrats of one of their dirty tricks and they were not happy at all.
[NOTE: For what happened later in the House of Lords, click here.]