Tuesday, 26 January 2016

My exchange of emails with Lucy Allan that I provided with my complaint to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards

Please note that as my complaint was submitted on 6th January 2016 it excluded the shocking reply from Lucy Allan of 14th January 2016.

My email to Lucy Allan of 12 December 2015
'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.
Yours sincerely
Neil Phillips'

Reply from Lucy Allan of 22 December 2015
'Dear Neil
 Thank you for emailing me. 
Regarding your concern, I have released a statement on this which is as the following: 
“There has been confusion and misreporting surrounding recent social media exchanges involving me. Some headlines and stories have claimed that I invented fake death threats and that I admitted to doing so.
This is emphatically not the case and not something, which I have ever done, or would ever do. The facts are that West Mercia Police are currently investigating a death threat made by telephone to my Telford office. The anonymous male voice message, which was reported to police by a member of my staff, stated:
"Hi Lucy Allan I just want to let you know that soon someone is going to f**king kill you, you f**king b*tch. Hope you die."
At the same time, the Metropolitan Police are investigating a cyber harassment campaign, which has made it difficult for my office staff and me to carry out our roles and duties in Parliament and in Telford.
Regrettably, this level of abuse – often anonymous – has become a fact of political life. I do not believe it is something, which most people would consider to be a proper part of a functioning democracy. Nor do I believe that it is a level of vitriol and frequency of threat with which the vast majority of British people would expect their elected representatives to have to cope on a daily basis.
Sadly, vicious cyber bullying seems to have become the stock-in-trade of certain elements of political parties and some campaigners apparently acting on their behalf. I believe it needs to be stopped. If it is not then there is a real risk that it will drive out of politics many well-intentioned people from all parties. This in turn will inevitably, and perhaps irretrievably, damage voters’ choices in our system of elective democracy. Cyber bullying harms our democracy and we should not stand for it.
I want to make it clear that I do not know who made the death threat on my office answer phone. I am unable to make any connection between it and some of those who regularly direct varying levels of abuse at me on Twitter and Facebook.
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, 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.
However, it emphatically does not amount to my having invented fake death threats or of ever having admitted to doing so. To claim that I did is wholly false. In reporting what I can only believe was a genuine death threat plus an unacceptable level of social media harassment to the police, I believe I have acted responsibly and within my duties as an MP and my rights as a citizen.”
Although this has been a distraction I will be focusing my attention on what I was elected to do and that is to serve the people of Telford. If you have any other concerns which are not media related then please do not hesitate to contact me.
 Thank you again for contacting me and Merry Christmas.
 Best wishes
My reply  to Lucy Allan of 22 December 2015

'Dear Lucy,

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'

My reminder to Lucy Allan of 24 December 2015 as she was back working on social media but had still not answered my question of 12 December 2015

'Dear Lucy,

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. 

Yours sincerely

Neil Phillips '

Reply from Lucy Allan of 24 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. 

Yours sincerely

Lucy Allan MP'

My email to Lucy Allan of 4 January 2016

'Dear Ms Allan,

Thank you for your email of 24th December 2015.

I appreciated you replying to me on Christmas Eve, especially as I had received an earlier Out of Office email from your assistant saying that your Office would not be back open until today.

I just wanted to let you know that I am afraid that I was puzzled after receiving your email. Rather than bringing me clarity on the subject of my email to you I am afraid that your reply left me more confused because of the following two points:

1. Your reply of 'Please note the police have a file containing various online malicious communications, which include communications containing the words to which you refer.' seems inconsistent with your previous statements in which you have stated that there is only one anonymous email which contains the words 'Unless you die'. 

To correct this inconsistency will you please confirm whether you meant to tell me that the words 'Unless you die' actually appear in one single email or whether you did mean to use the word 'communications' plural which would be at odds with your previous statements ?

2. I understand that the Metropolitan Police have a file containing various online malicious communications but can you please tell me why have you not published the anonymous email of 27th November 2015 which contains the words 'Unless you die' ? Is it because the Police have advised you not to publish it or it is because you have chosen not to publish it ?
An early reply would be very much appreciated. 

I wish you well for the New Year of 2016.

Yours sincerely

Neil Phillips '