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Members conventions (2017)

Request

In relation to a claim that there is a "strict Parliamentary convention that MPs can only deal with matters raised by their own constituents or businesses in their constituency".

  1. Please provide me with any recorded information held that describes this convention (if it exists).
  2. Please provide me with any recorded information held that explains the (supposed) distinction between a Parliamentary convention that is strict and one that is not strict.
  3. Please provide me with any recorded information held that supports the view that there is a Parliamentary convention that MPs should not deal with matters raised by organisations other than businesses (state schools, charities, campaign groups etc) which would appear to follow from the claim above.

Response

In relation to a claim that there is a "strict parliamentary convention that MPs can only deal with matters raised by their own constituents or businesses in their constituency":

  1. Please provide me with any recorded information held that describes this convention (if it exists).
    Some information is held by the House of Commons. There are a number of records that relate to this convention; for example rulings by the Speaker detailed in Hansard.  Additional detail from sources outside the House of Commons is also available.  This information is conveniently compiled and explained in a House of Commons Library Briefing Paper titled “Members and constituency etiquette” which may be accessed from the parliamentary website.
    As this part of your request is reasonably accessible to you otherwise than under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), your request is refused. In refusing your request the House is applying the exemption set out in section 21 (1) and (2) (a) of the FOIA.  This is an absolute exemption and the public interest test does not apply.
  2. Please provide me with any recorded information held that explains the (supposed) distinction between a Parliamentary convention that is strict and one that is not strict.
    This information is not held by the House of Commons.  We hold no records which explain this distinction.
  3. Please provide me with any recorded information held that supports the view that there is a Parliamentary convention that MPs should not deal with matters raised by organisations other than businesses (state schools, charities, campaign groups etc.) which would appear to follow from the claim above.
    This information is not held by the House of Commons.  It may help you to know that political parties may also provide support and guidance for Members in the course of their work, so you may wish to redirect your request to them.  Contact details for the relevant parties can be found on the parliamentary website.  Please note that political parties are not public authorities in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and are therefore not obliged to answer requests for information.