Lucy Allan MP has a new explanation of where the words 'Unless you die' came from which I find unbelievable !
Please read through the blog from the start to give you the background to what has led to the astonishing email from Lucy Allan MP of 24th December 2015 which is revealed towards the end of the blog
I would like to make the point early on that I believe that this matter is above party politics. It is about ‘what standard of conduct from our MPs do we think is acceptable?’ I am not a Labour activist trying to force a Telford by-election so that Labour can win a seat back from the Conservatives, as they could do given Lucy Allan's slim majority of 730. I respect the views of all major political parties but until now I have always voted Conservative. In the May 2015 General election I voted Conservative in the Wrekin constituency before moving to Lucy Allan's Telford constituency.
Even though I could not vote for Lucy Allan in the last election I supported her on social media and I admired her for a very energetic election campaign and for becoming the first ever Conservative MP of Telford since it became a separate constituency in 1997.
This blog focuses on the 'Rustygate' affair and does not comment on the other matters that Lucy Allan has recently been in the national news for, namely the alleged bullying of workers, the alleged defamation of some local Councillors and the alleged defamation of one of the Councillor's sons. As well as being widely covered in national newspapers and the Shropshire Star, there is a great deal to read from online news media and if you want to catch up I suggest that you do a google search for the words 'Lucy Allan' and click on the 'News' tab at the top of the page.
The term 'Rustygate' was used by Lucy Allan herself and the background to the story appeared in the Daily Mail on 4th December 2015.
Ever since Lucy Allan gave her explanation that the words 'Unless you die' came from another email many people have called for her to publish the other email. I personally felt the same way and I could not understand why Lucy Allan seemed so reluctant to publish that other email, especially when she had been so quick to release the tape of the telephone threat that was made against her. Lucy Allan's office reported the telephone threat to police on 7th December 2015, several days after she had published the email to which she had added the words 'Unless you die'. If you have not yet heard the telephone death threat you can listen to it here.
A number of observers have expressed other concerns about Lucy Allan's explanation of there being two separate emails. By way of example, I quote below an extract of a commentary by Richard Bartholomew, the full text of which can be seen here.
' .... “Unless you die” makes no sense on its own. Why would anyone extract this phrase from a different email, without any further information about what the author is trying to convey?
..... it just so happens that although taken out of context, “Unless you die” fits the new context in which it was “accidentally” placed:
…in which case there is no hope. Unless you die.
What are the chances of that? '
Lucy Allan published a statement on her facebook page on 11th December 2015 about the 'Rustygate' emails which included the following statement:
'Equally, I have acknowledged that a recent Facebook posting made by me drew upon two separate anonymous communications sent to me online. In conflating elements of these two communications into one message, I created a misleading impression, for which I have apologised. In the climate of intimidation created by the sort of cyber abuse to which MPs of all parties are now commonly subjected, on a daily basis, I believe that this error was understandable.'
The same statement was published on Lucy Allan's website on 12th December 2015.
Interestingly, the following sentence seems to have since been added to the original facebook statement following the words 'for which I have apologised' but it is still not included in the statement on Lucy Allan's website:
'I did not claim that either anonymous message was a threat of any kind'.
I do not know why this sentence has been added to Lucy Allan's facebook statement when it is not included in her website statement.
Both statements make it very clear that Lucy Allan states that there were two separate anonymous online communications and there has been separate confirmation that 'online communications' refers to emails.
Note again the sentence in her current facebook statement that refers to 'either anonymous message'. That must mean that she is referring to two messages, the one being ‘Rusty's’ and the other being the mysterious email many of us have been waiting to see which allegedly includes the words 'Unless you die'.
In addition, in an exchange of facebook posts on Lucy Allan's facebook page on 11th December 2015, facebook user Pogle Jones asked Lucy Allan a question, Lucy Allan replied and then Pogle Jones made a further comment that Lucy Allan did not reply to. A copy of this exchange is shown below.
Pogle Jones Just wondering Lucy - if the telephone threat was made on the 7th December how on earth were you able to refer to it or conflate it with another email on the 30th November?
Lucy Allan As previously stated it was two online communications which I quoted from. Thanks for pointing out that is not clear.
Pogle Jones It would be much more clear if you shared both online communications
On 11th December 2015, I, along with many others, viewed Lucy Allan's facebook page and I posted the following comment:
Neil Phillips Hello Lucy, I am one of your constituents and I supported you at the election in May. I hope therefore you will be good enough to respond to me. I believe that much of the criticism you are receiving can be addressed if you publish the email you received in which you say someone stated 'Unless you die''. If for some reason you cannot publish it you should explain why. You have released the phone call of the verbal threat and so I do not understand why you cannot release the email with the words 'Unless you die'. Until you do so I am afraid that many people will just not understand where these words came from and will believe that you simply made them up. You were, of course wrong to attribute these words to Adam Watling (Rusty) and that is something I have never seen before in my life. You have put Telford in the national media (Telegraph,Independent,Daily Mail,Spectator,BBC to name but a few) for the wrong reasons and I believe that unless you now give us the full picture with the explanation of the second email that you must now step down.
Lucy Allan responded to my post by deleting my comment and blocking me. She also did the same with many other facebook users, the vast majority of whom I felt were expressing serious concerns and challenging Lucy Allan without being abusive.
I was not happy with my comment being deleted by Lucy Allan and with her blocking me.
I decided to send Lucy Allan an email and set out the same comment I had made in my facebook post she had deleted. I figured that as I was one of her constituents she was duty-bound to respond to me. I sent my email on 12th December 2015 and I had an acknowledgement to say that Lucy Allan aimed to reply within 5-10 working days.
On 22nd December 2015 Lucy Allan responded to me but her reply totally avoided my question regarding the publication of the second email and simply restated her statement published on her website on 12th December 2015.
This again troubled me and so I very quickly sent Lucy Allan a further email on 22nd December 2015 which was worded as follows:
Thank you for your reply.
I have seen your statement thanks.
Unfortunately you have not answered my question which is why you have not published the email which contains the words 'Unless you die'.
Please answer this question rather than avoiding it. If you do not answer it then the only conclusion that I and many other people will draw is that this email does not actually exist.
Neil Phillips '
I had hoped that Lucy Allan would reply to this email quickly. On the morning of 24th December 2015 I saw that her facebook and twitter accounts were back in action but I was still blocked from her facebook account. It concerned me that Lucy Allan was spending time on her facebook and twitter accounts while failing to give me a direct answer to an urgent question I had put to her on 12th December 2015.
I therefore sent Lucy Allan the following email using the heading 'Urgent - your failure to reply to my email' :
I note that you have failed to respond to my email of 22nd December 2015 after not giving me a straight answer to my email of 12th December 2015.
I note that you have still failed to publish the email in which you state that the words 'Unless you die' appear.
You are causing many people to be seriously concerned because we cannot understand why you do not publish the email and the only conclusion you are leading us to draw is that the email does not actually exist.
Will you please reply to my email today explaining why you are not publishing the email.
If I do not hear from you by the end of today this matter will have to be taken further because you are clearly failing in your duty to respond to a fair question from one of your constituents on a matter which is extremely serious which you appear to be taking very lightly.
Neil Phillips '
I was not expecting a reply from Lucy Allan after I received an 'Out of Office' reply telling me the office was now closed for Christmas until 4th January 2016. I did however receive the following reply from Lucy Allan later on 24th December 2015:
' Dear Mr Phillips
I refer to your email.
You have had prompt responses to all your previous communications. Please note the police have a file containing various online malicious communications, which include communications containing the words to which you refer.
For the record it was the son of a Labour Councillor, who falsely claimed I had faked a death threat. This was a bizarre and twisted claim. The reality was, I re posted words on my Facebook page that were sent to me by someone using a false name. I did not suggest at any point those words amounted to a death threat. I did not 'make up' the words used. MPs routinely receive this kind of material including me.
I do accept I should not be engaging with these online anonymous trolls and that it was ill judged to try to expose them in the way that I did. For that reason I removed the post within hours.
There office is now closed and there will be no further communication on this matter until January.
I wish you well.
Lucy Allan MP
Member of Parliament for Telford '
The contents of Lucy Allan's email astound me. The explanation of the source of the words 'Unless you die' seems to me to be at odds with Lucy Allan's previous statements. Her previous statements have indicated that those words came from one single email, as I believe I have evidenced above. However her email to me of 24th December states 'Please note the police have a file containing various online communications, which include communications containing the words to which you refer'.I interpret this as meaning that the words 'Unless you die' are included in communications (plural), ie that there is not in fact a single email which has those 3 words. If there is a single email with those words Lucy Allan has not told me that in her email to me and she has certainly still not published that email.
I am also shocked to see the comment regarding the son of the Labour Councillor which I was not expecting or had requested.
" I think politicians have an ethical duty not to mislead or misinform voters".
These were the words of Lucy Allan MP before she won her seat in the May 2015 election. I am sure that we all agree that MPs should not mislead or misinform their constituents because this not only discredits the MP concerned but it undermines the trust that voters have in politicians generally.
I consider Lucy Allan's email to me of 24th December 2015 to be inconsistent with her previous statements that the words 'Unless you die' appeared in one single email and no such email has been published. It is my view that the single email that many of us have been waiting to see does not in fact exist.
In view of the apparent inconsistencies in the explanations provided by Lucy Allan over the true source of the words 'Unless you die' I intend to make a complaint to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards. I am aware that the Commissioner has previously announced that no investigation is warranted but in light of the fresh evidence I hope that the Commissioner will now feel that an investigation is justified.
However, in my view Lucy Allan's conduct is significantly damaging the Conservative Party as a whole and so I believe that the Party should now take its own action.
26th December 2015