Luke Pollard

Labour & Co-operative MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport

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Luke's open letter to Johnny Mercer MP on why Plymouth needs its MPs to work together

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Yesterday, Luke Pollard MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport wrote a letter in the Herald to the MP for Plymouth Moor View, Johnny Mercer about why he wants Plymouth MPs to work together on the big challenges facing the city. 

You can read the full text of Luke's letter below:

In yesterday’s Herald Conservative MP Johnny Mercer used the letters page to launch yet another personal attack on me. I’m not a big fan of insults and slurs and so I am writing to address this head on. I want Plymouth’s MPs to work together for the best interests of our city. Johnny Mercer’s refusal to work together on the key issues affecting our city damages our case, makes the city weaker, more divided and lets the people of Plymouth down.

I’m fed up of the petty insults I get from him. And I know Plymouth is too. I won’t engage in tit for tat retorts, although many have encouraged me to do just that. When I was elected I said I wanted to do politics differently and I still do. For me that means campaigning relentlessly for Plymouth and putting our city ahead of party.

Plymouth wants its MPs to work together and so do I. Let’s end this pointless posturing and send a clear message to all the city’s MPs – regardless of party - that Plymouth wants them to work together in the best interests of our city. In any workplace there are people you don’t get along with, but I’m not looking for a new best friend, just someone to work alongside on Plymouth’s big issues.

People often ask me why Plymouth doesn’t seem to get its fair share of money, time and attention from Westminster compared with other parts of the country. One of the reasons for that is that in other parts of the country MPs work together for the benefit of their area. That needs to happen here and it needs to happen quickly otherwise we will continue to fall behind the rest of the UK.

We have a lot to be loud and proud about as a city, but we also need to be clear and relentless about where we need additional help from Government. Go it alone and look at me politics won’t wash. There’s too much work to do. We need our MPs to work together as a team.

As the MP for Devonport I launched a campaign to base the new Type 26 and Type 31 frigates in Devonport last year. This call is backed by the City Council and local businesses. It’s a city-wide campaign that I’m proud to lead and contribute to. As in all my campaigns I invite the city’s two other MPs to join me. They declined to join in then, which is their choice. So I am genuinely pleased five months on Johnny Mercer is now on the same page about the Type 26 frigates. This is to be welcomed. I want all our MPs, regardless of party, to be vocal about Devonport’s case.

It is not just on defence, but health, education and transport where we need to be unwilling to accept the poor deal we have been given by Government for far too long. As someone who was born and lives in Plymouth I know the crumbs off the table from Westminster is not enough and we deserve a better deal. So, to Johnny Mercer I say this: let’s end this nonsense and work together. If the next election isn’t until 2022, we can’t have four more years of this.

My offer to work with Plymouth’s other MPs is genuine and I hope they take me up on this offer. I haven’t met a single person in Plymouth who thinks we are best served by one of the city’s MPs throwing insults at another. We will achieve more when work together. But the opposite is true too: we will get less when we are weaker and divided. So, please, let’s speak with one voice, united and determined that Plymouth comes first.

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