Dear Rt Hon John Bercow MP,
Climate Meeting: House of Commons: Nov 5th
On Wednesday November 5th I travelled from Brussels to London, where I had been invited to speak at a meeting on climate and energy issues which was scheduled to take place in the House of Commons in Meeting Room Nine. The Room had been booked by Mr. Sammy Wilson MP. Press releases had been issued, as well as 45 formal invitations, though attendance was expected to be close to double that figure.
On arrival, I was advised that the relevant parliamentary office had peremptorily cancelled the booking the previous day, despite the prior arrangements and advance publicity. The organisers managed to find a new venue at the John Harvard Library in Southwark, but naturally it was difficult to ensure that all attendees were advised.
To add injury to insult, visitors arriving at the House of Commons and enquiring for the meeting were variously told that “it had been cancelled”, or that staff knew nothing about it. As a result, the meeting in Southwark was poorly attended.
Attendees included distinguished figures from the climate debate, including Piers Corbyn of Weather Action (the brother of your member Jeremy Corbyn MP), Professor Peter Gill of the Institute of Physics, and blogger Derek Tipp – as well, of course, as myself, the Energy Spokesman for a major political party.
It seems to me that this action by your administration was reprehensible, and reflects very poorly on your House. I have never before had occasion to compare the House of Commons unfavourably with the European parliament, but I cannot believe that such a peremptory cancellation would have taken place in Brussels.
This was a deliberate attempt to frustrate public debate on a major political issue, and it was a calculated snub to the Party which won the European elections in May this year, and which is now represented in your House.
I should be grateful for your explanation of these circumstances, and I believe that a formal public apology would be in order.