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Mole Valley MP Accuses Guildford’s Lib Dems of Political Opportunism

Published on: 9 Jun, 2020
Updated on: 10 Jun, 2020

Sir Paul Beresford

Mole Valley MP Sir Paul Beresford has hit back at Guildford Liberal Democrats who sent an open letter to all four Conservative MPs representing parts of Guildford borough in the wake of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ demonstrations.

In the letter, written by the Lib Dem’s spokesman on Parliamentary matters, Zoe Franklin,  the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary were attacked for failing to criticise President Trump’s handling of the situation following the killing of George Floyd by a policeman.

She wrote: “To remain silent is to remain complicit.”

See also: ‘To Remain Silent is to Remain Complicit’ Say Lib Dems On ‘Black Lives Matter’ Campaign which includes full versions of the Lib Dem letter and the response from Guildford’s MP Angela Ricardson.

But Sir Paul commended the Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab “for his careful and measured tone”.

He continued, “Just as the public, and my Conservative parliamentary colleagues, are united in disgust at the murder of Mr Floyd, I believe we are also united in our utter rejection of the minority of violent thugs who have used this as a chance to loot, assault and desecrate.

“…over thirty police officers have now been injured by these criminals (many being officers who are BAME themselves), public works of art have been vandalised and to my utter revulsion, an attempt was made to desecrate the Cenotaph in Westminster.”

The MP for Mole Valley said he found several aspects of the Lib Dem letter objectionable including criticism of the export of security equipment and the “insinuation that there is something fundamentally unsound about ‘Police tactics and practices’ in this country’.

He went on: “I feel compelled to also comment on the tone of your letter in general terms. I am afraid the impression it has left is that you as ‘enlightened’ Liberals feel the need to lecture my Conservative colleagues and me as though these sensitive matters are by definition alien to us. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

Sir Paul concluded: “…I cannot help but be deeply saddened that you have chosen to utilise these topics for cheap publicity and political opportunism. It is regrettable.”

Zoe Franklin

In response to Sir Paul’s letter Zoe Franklin said: “Whilst I was pleased to read Sir Paul’s condemnation of the murder of George Floyd, I felt the tone of the rest of his letter was unfortunate.

“First, I raised specific points regarding the need for a review of rubber bullet and tear gas exports and second, I asked for him and his colleagues to support the creation of a government-wide plan to tackle BAME inequalities, neither of which he addressed in his reply.

“These are issues that local residents have raised on social media and directly with me on email. I also have no doubt that he and his colleagues have received similar emails.

“It is crucial that racism and the pervasive inequality that the BAME community face on a day-to-day basis is addressed. A key way of doing so is by our society, locally and nationally, developing a greater understanding of the issue by listening to those who experience it on a fairly basis.

“It is also essential that the government start the urgent development and implementation of a government-wide plan to tackle BAME inequalities, followed by a review of this plan by the Equality and Human Rights Commission to determine whether its funding is adequate.”

Sir Paul Beresford’s letter in full…

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Responses to Mole Valley MP Accuses Guildford’s Lib Dems of Political Opportunism

  1. Maurice Bethall Reply

    June 9, 2020 at 9:58 pm

    I must congratulate Sir Paul on his wonderful reply to the publicity-seeking Zoe Franklin. Quite honestly her letter was no more than I would expect a Liberal Democrat to write. Having served in a local council for eight years I am well aware of how they bend the truth.

  2. Jules Cranwell Reply

    June 10, 2020 at 9:23 am

    I have to agree with Sir Paul. The LDs are using this dreadful event as an opportunity to grab headlines.

  3. Simon Schultz Reply

    June 10, 2020 at 2:31 pm

    “Nothing to see here“, says white male MP.

    • Ben Paton Reply

      June 11, 2020 at 12:03 pm

      How is this comment different from the actions of a corrupt law enforcement officer who plants the evidence and then condemns the crime?

      Isn’t putting fake words into other people’s mouths, and then condemning them for what they have not said, just dishonest?

  4. Simon Schultz Reply

    June 11, 2020 at 4:59 pm

    I think that Ben Paton has not understood my comment. To spell it out, I am saying that perhaps Sir Paul Beresford, MP, is not well-placed to comment on how successfully the party of which he is a member has actually done something about racism and inequality.

    • Ben Paton Reply

      June 12, 2020 at 11:26 am

      Perhaps. Perhaps not.

      But surely better to judge on the basis of what he says and does rather than to rely on perception of his sex, skin colour and party affiliation.

      Unless, that is, the objective is to find him guilty by association, to blame one MP or one party or one country for the problems of the world. Isn’t that exactly what Hitler did when he put responsibility for all of society’s ills onto one minority.

      • Simon Schultz Reply

        June 12, 2020 at 1:07 pm

        That is one of the most rapid demonstrations of Godwin’s Law that I have seen. I hope that it had nothing to do with my German surname.

        Editor’s note: Godwin’s Law (also known as Godwin’s Rule of Nazi Analogies) is a saying made by Mike Godwin in 1990. The law states: “As a discussion on the Internet grows longer, the likelihood of a comparison of a person’s being compared to Hitler or another Nazi reference, increases.” Source Wikipedia.

  5. John Perkins Reply

    June 12, 2020 at 9:14 am

    Zoe Franklin appears not to have read Sir Paul’s response. She accuses him of not addressing specific points she raised regarding rubber bullet and tear gas exports, and a plan to tackle BAME inequalities. Both subjects are covered at length in his letter. Not liking a reply is not the same as not receiving one.

    Ben Paton understands perfectly. Mr Schultz’s comment is merely snide.

  6. David Roberts Reply

    June 12, 2020 at 4:14 pm

    I am grateful to Mr Schultz and the editor for drawing my attention to Godwin’s Law, which I have always known as the phenomenon of “Reductio ad Hitlerum”.

    To be consistent with his anti-Liberal principles, will Sir Paul now be joining Liverpool students in denouncing poor Mr Gladstone?

  7. Ben Paton Reply

    June 13, 2020 at 11:58 am

    Perhaps Mr Roberts will join the BLM protesters and denounce “poor Robert Peel” (a wicked Conservative Prime Minister) the creator of the modern police force?

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