Sunday, 1 November 2009

Did Diane read the Lisbon treaty before voting?

Comments on the Spectator website suggest that Diane Abbott's failure to say whether or not she read the Lisbon Treaty before voting on it means that she didn't.

Rhoda Klapp said: "If your MP is no more than lobby fodder and an untrained social worker, and furthermore there are plenty of volunteers to be candidates, then why do they deserve more than somebody who does a proper job? When I last posted here a similar rant, I was answered by no less a person than Diane Abbott. I asked whether she had read the Lisbon treaty before voting for it. No reply."

In the original comment stream Diane Abbott replied to a couple of Rhoda Klapp's questions.

In one reply she said that she defended her constituents from the "overwheening" state: "I do not see any dichotomy between very close to what is happening here on the ground in Hackney and holding my government to account. It is precisely because I know my constituents reality and how vulnerable they are to the overwheening state, that I have argued and voted against ID cards and ninety days detention without my trial." (Meanwhile Meg Hillier the other Labour MP in Hackney is/was in charge of implementing ID cards.)

Rhoda Klapp's point seems to be that MPs can't defend their constituents from an overwheening state if they don't understand what the state is doing. And in an attempt to make this point clear she said: "So I've decided on one question to highlight a democratic problem. It may be answered yes or no. Did you read the EU constitution and its successor Lisbon treaty, yourself, before you voted on the treaty?"

There has been no reply.

In the more recent exchange on the Spectator website one commentator defended Diane Abbott saying: "The idea that legislators actually read the text of bills is utterly ludicrous. Bills are drafted with a specific intent and that is to provide clarity to lawyers and those who must implement them."

But Rhoda Klapp said: "If Ms. Abbot saw my question, and did not answer because the answer may have been embarrassing, that's one thing. At least she was embarrassed. Not to read bills as a matter of course, when it is your job to vote on them, makes your MP even less than the lobby fodder I thought they were."

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