SCHEME SULLIED BY LIB-DEMS

Southern Daily Echo – 1 January 2010

Senior Liberal Democrat parliamentarians want nothing to do with Terry Scriven’s attacks on the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme, which has enabled so many of their own MPs to benefit from first-hand experience of life with the military.

That is why Mr Scriven has to rely on people like Bob Hale (Letters, December 29), who omits to mention that he himself is an unsuccessful former Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate, living in the same part of New Forest West as Mr Scriven, the Lib-Dem candidate for New Forest East.

Readers can judge for themselves the merits of this nasty campaign. I shall deal with the question asked by Mr Hale – namely, in what way my having won a prize from the Royal College of Defence Studies did any good for our troops?

I was, in fact, awarded three prizes for my military writings by leading Defence think-tanks from 2005–2007 and I know that at least one of the essays I wrote was incorporated in the syllabus at the Joint Services Command and Staff College, Shrivenham – so, presumably, those who teach future force commanders feel that my views have some value.

I am very sad that Sir Neil Thorne’s excellent Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme has been sullied by my Liberal Democrat opponent as part of his increasingly desperate efforts.

Dr JULIAN LEWIS MP
New Forest East

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ONLY VOTERS CAN CONFER TITLES

Southern Daily Echo – 9 February 2010

Terry Scriven likes to get his picture in the papers dressed up in his former Army uniform, even though he left the Military Police many years ago. He also signs his letters using the title 'Colonel' rather than 'Colonel (retired)', which would be the correct description.

I would not mind any of this, as a former eserviceman myself, if he did not continue to obsess about the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme (letter, January 9), even after Lib Dem MP Sandra Gidley has written (Westminster View, January 7) so strongly in its praise, and has explained why MPs are sensibly put into uniform when participating in the scheme.

As Mr Scriven is such a stickler for propriety in matters of dress and description, may we also count on him, in future, correctly to describe himself as the Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for New Forest East – which is what he is – rather than continuing to use the made-up label of 'Prospective MP'? Only voters can confer titles of that sort.

ALEX SHEPHERD
Totton