Robert Wilson: To ask the Prime Minister (1) when he informed the hon.Member for Reading West of his visit to Reading on 1 March 2010; (2) when he informed Reading borough council of his visit to Reading on 1March 2010; (3) when he informed Thames Valley police of his visit toReading on 1 March 2010.
and it is not even Gordon's fault. He was lied to and told his visit was to Reading West. Civil servants don't check these things because it never occurs to them that they would be lied to by an honourable member. All of Gordon's visit was to Reading East as far as I can tell - Nasty Naz put "Reading" on his site, and said nothing about any visit to Reading West; Salter ditto; and the only pictures seen were taken in Reading East; Salter even mentioned the locations, all of them in Reading East. Salter was specifically invited to the event, which the PM could do if he wanted and was legitimate, but the constituency MP was not even informed. Which is not legitimate. After all these years I still get a red mist about this. I can recall that the Modernisation Committee met in Reading in 2004, and when I saw the papers for it a few days before the event I rang the committee clerks and asked if they normally informed the constituency member if the committee was meeting in their constituency, and they said that they did, as a matter of course. I told them that I hadn't received my letter, as the meeting was (inevitably) at the Civic Offices, in Reading East. There was a slight silence, and I received my letter the following day. The meeting took place in Reading at Salter's instigation. When Michael Portillo visited Reading some years ago his office wrote to me as is the normal courtesy, because it was Reading East he was visiting, but when Salter found out (via the Evening Post's regular briefing to him on their forthcoming stories) he arranged a welcoming committee without consulting me, and I heard him shout in Michael Portillo's face, outside the Broad Street Mall (in Reading East) "You're in my constituency!" I apologised later to Michael of course for the juvenile thuggish behaviour he had to experience.
This behaviour is a disgrace. It will stop when Salter is gone, because it is pathological. No other MP does this. No matter what the relations between constituency neighbours are like, and believe you me they are not always good, in whatever party.
But lying to the Prime Minister and placing his own government in an embarrassing position, who could possibly gain by that?
update: here is Gordon's answer. Piss poor.
Gordon Brown (Prime Minister; Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath, Labour)
For security reasons, my engagements are announced as and when appropriate.