You may have wondered what happened to the planned meetings with Ben Howlett, MP for the Bath, Democratic Accountability forum. These were intended to improve accountability and communication between the MP and constituents, especially the several voluntary and community groups and associations in BaNES. Well, I have to inform you that despite assurances given before and after the General Election, our MP has withdrawn from this undertaking.
Mr Howlett has decided that our forums are not a good use of his time and says he prefers to roll the DAB arrangement into the existing BaNES city Forum – which meets about twice a year. As the main organiser of DAB, and after a prolonged correspondence with Ben Howlett and his colleagues – for details click here – I have concluded that this BaNES set-up will not meet the original DAB objectives. Inclusion in the BaNES ‘city forums’ will not be politically independent and, if they take place, they will be restricted in scope. The organiser has stopped replying to suggestions and enquiries from DAB as to how these could be run. All in all there seems to be a reluctance on the part of our MP to abide by the spirit of the agreement which he, together with the other Parliamentary candidates, made before last year’s General Election.
However, DAB’s main aims – to provide a two-way channel of communication between elected representatives and to improve accountability to their electors – will not be abandoned. Discussions with other interested groups for new initiatives on such lines are taking place. Hopefully, DAB resources will contribute to this project. We will try to keep you informed of these and related developments; but please make contact if you have specific questions or points to raise.
Remember you can keep track of all our MP’s Parliamentary voting on the web site: They Work for You < https://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/25334/ben_howlett/bath> From this record you may be able to judge the extent to which our MP votes in line with his conscience and the views of his constituents, or the dictates of his political party. Recordings of promises made during the election campaign are still available on the DAB pages.
Thank you for your support and, hopefully, a more democratic future.