20th January 2014

Sir Kevin Barron PC
Chairman of the Standards and Privileges Committee
House of Commons  UK
Dear Sir Kevin,

I sent this letter below by e-mail to the Committee for Standards in Public Life.  One of its clerical staff told me that Ms Hudson, Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, should deal with it.  Mr Prawer in that office says that Ms Hudson cannot deal with this and suggested I approach your committee.  As a retired doctor, surgeon and senior citizen, I do not take easily to the game of 'pass the parcel'.  I regard this as a most important matter and will be sticking with it.

 



“I have been greatly disturbed by the words of Mr Alistair Burt MP, and most recently Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. 

The relevant link  http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/dec/30/alistair-burt-anger-syria-westminster

And the quote -  Burt insisted the British government "knew exactly what would happen if there was not a strike against Assad over chemical weapons. He goes on. And the only thing that would deflect this man and this regime is if they fear they are going to end up in a storm drain with a bayonet up their backside. If they don't fear that, they will go on killing as many people as they need to stay in power."

Mr Burt alludes of course to the barbaric treatment and murder of Colonel Ghaddafi.  Leaving aside the moral issues, Mr Burt would know, or should know, from his time at the FCO that international law demands that a prisoner of war is treated with customary humanity.  He should also know that a head of state or government figure of a defeated nation is treated with respect.  In addition, his zeal in wanting to 'strike against Assad' requires negation of the Nuremberg Protocols as well as the Charter of the United Nations.

His grotesque breach does not come neatly under the seven principles with which I am familiar.  But he has certainly revealed the most base standards in his public position as a Member of Parliament.  He ushers our nation down the steps of Dante's inferno.  As a doctor and surgeon, whose life was all about preserving life and respecting all humanity, I strongly believe that Mr Burt has forfeited his right to represent North East Bedfordshire as an MP.

Finally, the moral issues are within your ambit are they not?  I rely on  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alistair_Burt In Personal Life ....... He is an active Christian. His words, as quoted, having nothing whatsoever to do with Christ.

For truth, reason and justice

David Halpin MB BS FRCS”



I had considered that the CPSL was an appropriate body to approach given this quote from its web site-

Welcome to the Committee on Standards in Public Life website – promoting high standards of behaviour in the public sphere through the Seven Principles of Public Life enunciated by the Nolan Committee.

I knew its listed seven principles and believed that Mr Burt had breached those highlighted -

Selflessness Integrity Objectivity Accountability Openness Honesty Leadership and added my own analysis of his gross failings.

I received this from Mr Anderson of the CSPL 7-01-14:

Thank you for your email dated 01 January 2014.
The Committee on Standards in Public Life is purely an advisory body; as such, it does not have any powers to investigate or intervene in individual cases. Since you are concerned by the conduct of a particular MP, we would recommend that you direct your query to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards. The Parliamentary Commissioner considers complaints about MPs and uses the Members Code of Conduct to help her decide whether or not a complaint falls within her remit. The Commissioner’s contact details are as follows;

Telephone: 020 7219 0320
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Regards,
James Anderson
Secretariat Coordinator, Committee on Standards in Public Life
GC05, 1 Horse Guards Road
London, SW1A 2HQ
0207 271 2948



I received this from Mr Jon Prawer -

Dear Dr Halpin
Thank you for your emailed letter to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards dated 14 January 2014 with your complaint about Rt Hon Alistair Burt MP. I have been asked to reply.

I am very sorry that you are being sent from pillar to post with your concern, but I am afraid this complaint is not one that the Commissioner will be able to accept for inquiry.

I hope it will be helpful if I explain the role and remit of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards. Her role is to consider complaints where the complainant has provided sufficient evidence to justify an inquiry into whether a named MP has broken the House of Commons Code of Conduct and its associated rules. This leaflet explains that there are some matters that the Commissioner cannot look into. You will see from this leaflet that this includes the expression of an MP’s views or opinions. Your complaint would fall firmly into this ‘views or opinions’ category.

I am sorry that we cannot therefore help with this complaint.

Yours sincerely
Jon Prawer



I read the leaflet.  It is unhelpful and ambiguous in particular.  Further evidence has come to light indicating his hypocrisy and dishonesty.  I cite two.  It would be evident to many citizens that he should not be holding a public office.  Instead, the words above one MIGHT hear said in a public bar when the speaker was in his cups.

I have used RED to highlight the most significant words.

ONE
Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill  Orders of the Day 2:30 pm  12 May 2008
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200708/cmhansrd/cm080512/debtext/80512-0016.htm#08051231000381

When I cast my votes on embryo research, abortion or the concept of fatherhood, on what do my constituents expect me to base my view? Is it their opinions and views? Certainly. Is it evidence from different sources about the impact of legislation? Yes, of course. At some stage, I must, as we all must, choose between competing views. But what else do I base my views on? I have a Christian world view, which impacts on those issues. It is not much of a secret, either in this place or my constituency. I do not believe in an impersonal universe—one made up of random collections of matter and energy. I believe that there is a God. Among other things, I believe that his plan for his universe holds life to be dear and sacred. No other understanding of my world makes sense to me.

I also hold a view, deeply influenced by Jesus's parable of the prodigal son, that God's laws for us are not designed to punish, to hurt or to prevent good things happening, but to warn us away from things that do us harm, and to safeguard the creation that he loves. Modern society provides plenty of evidence of the truth of that. It is a positive interpretation of God that makes sense to millions.

TWO

EDM 932 - HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL DAY

 
That this House notes that 27 January 2014 is Holocaust Memorial Day in the UK, marking the 69th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, …......................................; acknowledges the importance of the Holocaust Educational Trust's work in schools across the UK and in particular the Lessons from Auschwitz Project, which has so far given over 22,000 students and teachers the opportunity to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau; also pays tribute to the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust for organising this year's Holocaust Memorial Day commemorations; further notes that a Book of Commitment will be placed in the corridor between the Members' Cloakroom and Members' Staircase; and urges all hon. and right hon. Members to sign the Book and observe the day, so that the appalling events of the Holocaust are always understood by future generations.
 
http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2013-14/932

I comment - He refers to the holocaust in which Jews, Romanies, Poles, communists, the mentally deficient etc suffered most terribly and died in WW2 but denies with his barbaric words that induced suffering in other beings, man or animal, is wrong.  That is - evil is evil where ever.  He should also acknowledge other holocausts as a parliamentarian but perhaps he does. The public will never have any part in preventing the terrible suffering of further holocausts if it is not reminded also of the North American Indian, Australian Aboriginal and Armenian holocausts, the Holodomor of the Ukraine and especially Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  The late Howard Zinn said this forcefully.  The mass killing of humans by humans at many points on our globe might not be learned about by schools and school parties in the UK without that wider knowledge.  22,000 students have not been taken to see hosts of unmarked graves in and about Fallujah.



CONCLUSION

For ease I repeat the quote that has caused outrage in me:

And the quote -  Burt insisted the British government "knew exactly what would happen if there was not a strike against Assad over chemical weapons. He goes on. And the only thing that would deflect this man and this regime is if they fear they are going to end up in a storm drain with a bayonet up their backside. If they don't fear that, they will go on killing as many people as they need to stay in power."

I conclude
 

  1. That Mr Burt has brought his office and Parliament into disrepute by the use of these crude, cruel and lawless words.
  2. He claims he is a Christian who holds Christian beliefs.  At the same time these words betray Satanic urges.  He shows himself to be a hypocrite and thus dishonest.
  3. His words arose because he was very angry that attacks by UK missiles and of other nations on 'targets' in Syria did not take place when the House voted against that action by a small majority lead by Mr John Barron.  This also lowers him, and by implication, the other members of the House who shared his anger.  The fact is that very many civilians would have lost lives or limbs as happened in similar circumstances in Libya.  He appears to be ignorant of  a.  the Nuremberg Protocols which labels 'aggressive' war a supreme war crime b.  the Charter of the United Nations and  c.  The Fourth Geneva Convention.  His duty as an MP and as an erstwhile FCO minister is to know and respect all important international law. We see he is ignorant of them or that he casts them aside.  The sanctity of life, a Christian belief among other faiths and none, is trampled in his zeal to see the government of Syria destroyed.
  4. Mr Burt would know, or should know, from his time at the FCO that international law demands that a prisoner of war is treated with customary humanity.  He should also know that a head of state or government figure of a defeated nation is treated with respect.  I have to assume he does not respect these laws or customary rules.  Hess was arrested was he not and his life preserved for a long time?  He was not dragged behind a vehicle, beaten by several, killed in the most painful and disgusting manner and the video/film recording of this broadcast widely to further degrade our 'civilization'.  By condoning the manner of Ghaddafi's death by allusion he does usher us down into the inferno.  Mr Burt plumbs the depths.
  5. Born in 1940, and at secondary school in the 50s, I can surely say that there was more order and civility then, and certainly less violence.  Mr Burt's words are symbolic of this age where populations become inured to terrible violence.  But of all people, MPs should set the best example and not the worst.


I believe, and on very good grounds, that Mr Alistair Burt MP has shown himself unfit to be a Member of Parliament.

Yours sincerely

David Halpin MB BS FRCS  

cc Mr Mel Stride  MP for Central Devon