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Refused representation.

Re: Refused representation.

Postby 3.14 » Thu Jan 21, 2016 12:52 pm

Hairyloon wrote:...The point is that an MP has put their hand up as someone to come and bother: unless that bother is aggressive or intimidating, then they have no proper cause to complain that it is harassment.
The LAW states what is or is not Harassment. It doesn't change because of someone's job.
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Re: Refused representation.

Postby Hairyloon » Thu Jan 21, 2016 12:58 pm

atticus wrote:I am clear that I assume that we have no information to know whether the MP is wrong or whether she or he is dealing with an obsessive nutter.

Then it is clear that you are (as usual) here to give advice and not to discuss law: if the conduct is criminal then that is the matter settled and the discussion ended.

And you present a dichotomy: either the MP is wrong, or the constituent is an obsessive nutter.
You might be right to so do, but we should consider if there is any ground in between.
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Re: Refused representation.

Postby Hairyloon » Thu Jan 21, 2016 1:16 pm

3.14 wrote:The LAW states what is or is not Harassment. It doesn't change because of someone's job.

No, the law simply states that harassment is unlawful: it fails to define it, except to note that it includes alarming the person or causing the person distress.

ETA in Scotland It shall be a defence to any action of harassment to show that the course of conduct complained of was, in the particular circumstances, reasonable.
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Re: Refused representation.

Postby dls » Thu Jan 21, 2016 2:33 pm

I suspect that an MP must expect to face and put up with unfair criticism, and, as HL says, they owe a duty to their constituents, but it is not a duty to do anything in particular. That duty does not include representation in the sense of doing what their electorate wants. They decide according to their own conscience.

For a discussion see

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/p ... 157909.htm
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Re: Refused representation.

Postby atticus » Thu Jan 21, 2016 2:40 pm

One Member said that it was the job of constituents (and constituency organisations) to hold Members of Parliament to account. A former Member echoed this and said that it was to his or her constituents that a Member of Parliament should answer, "not to some second-guesser who has never exposed himself to an election in his life." She also said that her consistent response to protesting constituents had been "You have a remedy in the ballot box". Another Member said that individual constituent's views and interests might well be directly contradictory to other constituents, they might be wrong or vexatious, they might be obsessive, but they might also be right. He said it was not the position of "an unelected bureaucrat" to have any role in adjudicating on them. In his view the longstanding democratic principle that the House should not intervene between the Member and his or her constituents should remain.

(emphasis supplied)


An MP's duty cannot be to advance every constituent's cause. Indeed, it must be for her/him to decide how to deal with constituency matters.
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Re: Refused representation.

Postby 3.14 » Thu Jan 21, 2016 3:22 pm

It is actually defined.

Interpretation of 7.—
(1) This section applies for the interpretation of sections 1 to 5. this group of sections.
(2) References to harassing a person include alarming the person or causing the person distress.
(3) A "course of conduct" must involve conduct on at least two occasions.
(4) "Conduct" includes speech.

The CPS also define it. http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/s_to_u/stal ... ment/#a02a

Harassment
In this legal guidance, the term harassment is used to cover the 'causing alarm or distress' offences under section 2 of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 as amended (PHA), and 'putting people in fear of violence' offences under section 4 of the PHA. The term can also include harassment by two or more defendants against an individual or harassment against more than one victim.

Although harassment is not specifically defined in section 7(2) of the PHA, it can include repeated attempts to impose unwanted communications and contact upon a victim in a manner that could be expected to cause distress or fear in any reasonable person.

The definition of harassment was considered in Plavelil v Director of Public Prosecutions [2014] EWHC 736 (Admin), in which it was held that the repeated making of false and malicious assertions against a doctor in connection with an investigation by the GMC could amount to a course of harassment. The Court of Appeal rejected the argument that malicious allegations could not be oppressive if they could easily be rebutted.

A prosecution under section 2 or 4 requires proof of harassment. In addition, there must be evidence to prove the conduct was targeted at an individual, was calculated to alarm or cause him/her distress, and was oppressive and unreasonable.

Closely connected groups may also be subjected to 'collective' harassment. The primary intention of this type of harassment is not generally directed at an individual but rather at members of a group. This could include: members of the same family; residents of a particular neighbourhood; groups of a specific identity including ethnicity or sexuality, for example, the racial harassment of the users of a specific ethnic community centre; harassment of a group of disabled people; harassment of gay clubs; or of those engaged in a specific trade or profession.

Harassment of an individual can also occur when a person is harassing others connected with the individual, knowing that this behaviour will affect their victim as well as the other people that the person appears to be targeting their actions towards. This is known as 'stalking by proxy'. Family members, friends and employees of the victim may be subjected to this.
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Re: Refused representation.

Postby Hairyloon » Thu Jan 21, 2016 4:15 pm

dls wrote:I suspect that an MP must expect to face and put up with unfair criticism...

And indeed, entirely fair criticism. I suspect that can be harder to face.
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Re: Refused representation.

Postby Hairyloon » Thu Jan 21, 2016 4:19 pm

How can they make those decisions if they refuse to be informed about them?
There is no complaint that she has not advanced any case, only that she has refused to answer questions about her conduct.
I think she is entitled to refuse and he is entitled to complain that she has refused, but I think she is not entitled to refuse to let him ask or complain.
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Re: Refused representation.

Postby atticus » Thu Jan 21, 2016 4:34 pm

Can I ask in what way refusing to answer questions about her or his own conduct amounts to refusing to represent this constituent?

It can be inferred from the reference to refusal to answer questions about her/his conduct that the constituent has an agenda that is not supportive of the MP. It may be that the questions and manner in which they are being asked justifies the reply that has been given. It may be that the questions have some justification and the MP is squirming. It may be that the MP is overreacting. Perhaps the MP should have followed the "your remedy is in the ballot box" line.

Unless you wish to share further information, further informed comment is difficult.
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Re: Refused representation.

Postby dls » Thu Jan 21, 2016 7:34 pm

I think she is not entitled to refuse to let him ask or complain.

She is entitled to refuse to meet him.
She is entitled to refuse to listen. He may, for example seek to insist on talking for hours.

His answer is in the ballot box. Attempts to create a system for recalling MPs failed.
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