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[casi] MPs under "threat" from peace movement

[ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ]

Our local labour MP, Paul Farrelly (Labour, Newcastle Under Lyme - abstained on the key vote in 
Parliament March 18th) was scheduled to come and speak at our University, Keele, this Friday. He 
proposed to speak on both the war and "top-up fees".  Yesterday he pulled out, citing "security" 
concerns.  His letter is reproduced below.

Have any other members of this list come across MPs suddenly pulling out of engaging with their 
constituents?  Would CASI members like to offer interpretations and speculations about what is 
really going on here?

John Sloboda. Keele University, Staffordshire.

Dear John

Nice to speak to you again and I am sorry to have to cancel
Friday's meeting on security advice.

As we discussed, in common with other MPs, my office has
received threats over the war with Iraq. It is always difficult to assess
whether anonymous callers, faxers or e-mailers are credible or not, but at
this unpredictable time Special Branch and the police check everything out.

Last week I also received a call from the local police alerting me to the
fact that the meeting at Keele had been advertised on a direct action site
on the internet (from that, indeed, I first learned that the venue was the
Westminster Theatre!).

I have no reason to believe that the group behind that advertisment
advocates anything but lawful protest. Given the current circumstances and
uncertainty, however, the advice I have received here is not to attend and I
have informed the police accordingly.

I will post you, as promised, the two articles I have written for The
Sentinel, which explains my position on the war in Iraq. I will also keep
you in touch with the campaign against differential top-up fees and the
Higher Education White Paper.

Best wishes and sorry again to have to cancel

Yours sincerely
Paul Farrelly                             MP for Newcastle-under-Lyme

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