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Protesters take to the street to voice frustration at MP

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Protesters took to Mere Street in Diss to voice their disapproval over South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon.

Members of a protest group surveyed shoppers in Diss on November 27, asking how they feel towards MP in the month after he came under fire for accidentally sharing the email addresses of dozens of his constituents.

The survey, which was tallied on a whiteboard, asked passers-by how they felt about Mr Bacon’s constituency work; his response to the Owen Paterson scandal; and if MPs should be allowed to have second jobs. Mr Bacon was one 250 MPs who voted not to suspend Paterson – after he was found guilty of paid lobbying by a standards watchdog.

Elana Katz, Peter and Tim Glenton protesting. Picture by Mark Bullimore.
Elana Katz, Peter and Tim Glenton protesting. Picture by Mark Bullimore.

All but one said they were dissatisfied with Mr Bacon’s work in the community, whilst all said he had mis-handled the Paterson scandal and that MPs should not be allowed second jobs.

Tim Glenton, who had organised the protest, said that there was an overwhelming sense of dissatisfaction towards their MP of 20 years.

“It was a reasonable exercise,” said the 44-year-old banker.

The father-of-three, who now lives across the border in Castle Street, Eye, continued: “We were there for 90 minutes, because it was freezing and raining, but it went OK– considering the weather.

“We had some interesting debates with people in the street, and there was a clear feeling that Richard Bacon was fairly invisible in the community.

“I think there was a clear message which was Richard Bacon does not serve his constituents in the way we people want him to –he needs to be more visible and do more in the local area.”

Last month, Mr Bacon sent out a single response to 86 residents who had complained to him, acknowledging that he had received their emails and asking those who had not included their residential address to send it.

Unbeknownst to him, the email addresses of all 86 senders were shared in his response – constituting a breach of data protection laws.

Shortly afterwards, he sent a follow-up asking all recipients to delete the previous email – but was unable to stop them from contacting one another and arranging to put together an open letter, criticising the MP for not responding to his constituents, with 45 of the 86 residents putting their names to it.

The Diss Express approached Mr Bacon for comment last week.

Last month, following his email blunder, the MP sent an apology to everyone whose details he shared.

He said: “We deal with thousands of emails every month and this is the first time this error has occurred.

“I apologise for it and continue to help my constituents with the matters they have raised.

“Unfortunately, the use of social media has increased the frequency with which emails arrive for my attention, which contain inaccurate and sometimes very distorted versions of what is taking place in Parliament.

“This phenomenon, combined with the recent high volume of emails on these topics, has meant that it has taken longer than usual to send an individual reply to each constituent.”

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