Here’s the letter in full and below our letter to the MP’s office
I want to apologise for all the grief I have caused to all those people who are in need of the support of medicinal cannabis to help deal with the pain and other effects of long-term conditions. And I also need to say how sorry I am to their relatives and friends who had genuinely hoped that the Private Member’s Bill put forward by Paul Flynn MP on Friday would bring about the legalisation of cannabis for these medical conditions.
I now believe that my very long intervention on the Overseas Electors Bill was a serious error of judgement on my part, and I will not be repeating that sort of performance. I was incensed when the Conservatives prevented the Private Members Bill on giving the vote to 16 and 17-year-olds from going ahead last year, and I was not being honest to my own principles by engaging in the same sort of behaviour myself on Friday.
However, I think the proceedings on Friday have led to a great deal of misunderstanding.
Firstly, I genuinely hoped to prevent the Overseas Electors Bill from passing. I do not approve of allowing people to continue to vote for the Government of this country while living in another country for over 15 years. The Bill did nothing to help those people who are genuinely abroad for a short period of time, many of whom have never managed to negotiate the registration system for overseas voters. And of course, any British citizen who returns to this country automatically regains the right to vote as soon as they return, so this Bill would not help them. On the other hand, it would give the vote to many people who have no intention of ever returning to this country, including those who have a vested interest in preventing the government of this country from imposing a fair tax regime on Britain’s overseas territories. I was entirely focused on the Overseas Electors Bill. In my experience of Private Members Bills the debate never reaches the third Bill on the agenda. It was only when I became convinced that by speaking for longer I could prevent the Overseas Electors Bill that I made the rash decision to talk for longer than necessary.
Secondly, I knew – and conversations I have had since Friday have confirmed this – that Paul Flynn’s Bill stood no chance of proceeding into law. Indeed, even though we had not had the chance to debate it, the only reason it did not go forward to a second reading was because when it was proposed the Conservatives shouted “Object!” Even if I had not spoken at all, we would have had just 50 minutes of debate on a Bill which we knew the Conservatives objected to. Even if we had had more members in the House than the Conservatives, we would not have been allowed to vote on it after just 50 minutes.
In hindsight, however, even though the Legalisation of Medicinal Cannabis Bill had no chance of succeeding, I now recognise that I helped prevent the arguments for the Bill being made in the House of Commons, and I also helped perpetuate a method of debate which I actually despise. I hope you will believe me when I say that I intend in the future to fully support the legalisation of cannabis for medicinal purposes, and also to call for reform of the rules of debate in the House of Commons so that there is no longer any incentive for Members to speak for longer than they need to.
Sandy Martin, MP for Ipswich
33 Silent Street
House of Commons
0207 219 1208
From: Sean Hocking [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: 05 March 2018 13:28
To: MARTIN, Sandy <email@example.com>
Cc: CORBYN, Jeremy <firstname.lastname@example.org>; email@example.com
Subject: With Regard To Your Filibustering Last Week So Flynn’s PM Bill Couldn’t Be Read
Attn: Sandy Martin MP
House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA
Dear Mr Martin,
To say that i am appalled by your childish and reprehensible behaviour with regard to your mini filibuster last week over Flynn’s private members “medical cannabis” bill would be a gross understatement.
Currently in an extremely reactionary and right wing USA even the majority of that country on both left & right of the body politic have the common sense to understand that there are benefits to be explored in a regulated medical cannabis market.
Many may disagree on a “recreational” market although when the world’s sixth largest economy, California, embraces building a regulated market that will over time reduce the black market to a miniscule percentage of what it once was, lower crime, raise the tax base and a whole host of other positives that outweigh a few perceived negatives I begin to wonder where your thinking, if we can apply that word, originates from.
If you wish to sit on the same platform as the likes of Sessions & Trump, then good luck to you and the Labour party.
Although not a card carrying member, aged 53, I have voted without hesitation for Labour in every election since turning 18. Enough that we’ve had to suffer the chaos of Labour of the 1980’s and then the hubris of the latter years of Blair . For a moment during the post Brexit election i made the mistake of believing you lot had some guts but yet again i think the phrase is, “being led up the garden path”.
Your toddler like behaviour last week was for me the tipping point.
If you wish to deny the young, the elderly, cancer patients, MS sufferers, those suffering epilepsy even the chance to explore other options for treatment I’m done with you and your party.
I shall only vote for Labour in the future if your party pushes through sensible and workable medical and recreational cannabis legislation to benefit the people of the United Kingdom.
Sean Hocking Founder & Publisher
Cannabis Law Report