The Rt. Hon. Sir Bernard Braine, DL, MP. Chairman All-Party Parliamentary Pro1,ife Group.
I WAS much saddend by the aggressive nature of the letter from the Rev. James Morrow, Jan 11, from which it is evident that he feels he knows more about Parliament than the four MPs he attacked: Mr James Hamilton (who has served in the House of Commons for 21 years); Mr James White (who has served for fifteen years); and Mrs Ann Winterton (who has been in Parliament for two years and prior to this worked with her husband, Mr Nicholas Winterton, an MP of fourteen years experience ).
I was the fourth signatory and am the senior Conservative in the House of Commons with some 35 years experience.
We wrote our letter as the four officers of the All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group suggesting various ways in which your readers might help in the fight to protect the embryonic human being from being used as a guinea pig, and explained that the use of pre-printed letters as a means of constituents lobbying MPs is counter-productive. We made no reference whatsoever to the Rev James Morrow or to his group, the Human Life Council.
Many readers must have heard the "Any Questions" programme during which my colleague, Mrs Jill Knight MP, described the use of pre-printed letters as counter-productive.
Moreover, Peterborough in The Daily Telegraph of 25th January used terms such as "aggrieved", "offended" and ". . patience being sorely tried" to describe the feelings of MPs bombarded with printed and computerised letters.
For the Rev James Morrow to suggest in the face of known
experience that pre-printed letters should be used in the fight to outlaw the use of the human embryo as a guinea pig is alarming to put it mildly, particularly in view of the fact that for fifteen years and more MPs have recognised that the great strength of the pro-life movement has been the manner in which it has motivated people from all walks of life to take up the matter with their MPS.
Mr Tom Clark MP, and Mr John Ward MP — in their reference to the volume of correspondence — were referring, I am certain, to personal letters and not to printed circulars.
In fact, as anybody involved in the fight against abortion will confirm, the pro-abortionists have always tried to undermine the strength of the pro-life movement by claims that the bulk of correspondence consists of pre-printed letters which despite the Rev James Morrow's efforts — still remains untrue.
The fact that he compares the letter, written by me, and my colleagues, with his circular indicates his lack of understanding as to how we work in Parliament. I followed the usual procedure by submitting an initial draft to my colleagues who suggested amendments and a further draft was sent to them for agreement before the final form was typed ready for signing.
The pro-life cause for which we are all working can do without the strictures of the Rev James Morrow. People are not fools and as "inerudite" as he thinks. On a matter which should touch every human heart a few lines from an elector to his or her MP is worth a ton of preprinted letters all saying the same thing.
Sir Bernard Braine House of Commons