Wimbledon MP Stephen Hammond declined to comment this month on three open letters from a Merton councillor within a fortnight.
Trinity Ward councillor Paul Kohler published Stephen Hammond’s response to his letters on 6th November.
In a letter to Kohler dated 3rd November, Stephen Hammond wrote: “Replying to open letters gives the impression of privileged access, therefore I shall not be doing so.”
Kohler tweeted: “Whilst courteous, it’s neither illuminating nor convincing.”
Stephen Hammond declined to comment on allegations of ‘unprofessionalism’ made against his office manager Sally Hammond by constituent Caragh Logan.
This is despite Kohler asking for ‘a proper apology’ in an open letter on 25th October.
Logan accused Sally Hammond of an ‘unacceptable’ response to her enquiry regarding the Conservative MP’s vote against October’s free school meals motion.
Stephen Hammond told Kohler: “It would be inappropriate for me to discuss correspondence from one constituent with another constituent.”
Sally Hammond defended her response to Logan, saying: “Our workload has doubled since March so we have worked all day every day with a considerable amount of abuse.”
She told Logan: “I apologise if you took my email the wrong way.”
Stephen Hammond also declined to comment on open letters regarding free school meals funding and safe sanctuary routes for refugees.
Stephen Hammond told Kohler: “If you write as an individual constituent, I shall endeavour to ensure you get a full and timely response.”
He also told Kohler: “I always respond to correspondence to constituents.
“However, I must priortise those requests for urgent assistance.
“I am receiving a larger volume of such requests during the pandemic.”
Stephen Hammond directed Kohler to statements provided by his website and community emails to ‘usually provide the answers you seek’.
Stephen Hammond voted against a Labour motion to extend free school meals over school holidays until Easter 2021.
Kohler’s open letter on the 27th October said the decision is “wrong and must be reversed.”
A statement on Stephen Hammond’s website on 9th November reitterated the MP’s belief that support is better provided by local authorities, but praised central government’s winter support package.
Stephen Hammond’s office did not reply to a request for comment.
Featured image licensed under the Open Government Licence version 1.0