A few days ago the new Hastings MP and one of her colleagues, David Amess asked a question of the Cabinet Office and this was some of the text from the questions and responses between Sally-Ann Hart and Chloe Smith who is the Cabinet Office Parliamentary Secretary.
Q What steps is the Department taking to support and protect people standing in elections?
A – Everyone should be able to participate in politics without fear. The increasing level of abuse directed at those in public life is a worrying trend, which stops talented people standing for public service and puts voters off politics.
Q – Does she agree that at times during the last election the commentary and actions of others were misleading, inaccurate and vicious, and that there should be no place for that in our politics, regardless of political persuasion? What steps does she think we should take to ensure that, as leaders in our communities across parties, we conduct our engagement together in an open, respectful and honest way?
A – She is absolutely right to set the tone that we should aim to strike in the Chamber and in our work for our constituents. Robust political debate is fundamental, but threats and other forms of abuse are not acceptable. I extend to her the invitation that I have recently circulated to hon. Members, to talk to me about any aspect of the elections that they have recently experienced after this session at 1 o’clock, when I shall be delighted to hear more.
So the big question given the elements at the end of Answer 1 is where and when will the Department take the time and trouble to listen to people who are not in the House of Commons and possibly not members of any political parties who would be interested in taking part in our future Governments? After all if the Government keeps on only listening to people who they select and who manage to get elected, the information will remain be very limited.