Monday, 14 November 2011

Response from the office of Mark Garnier regarding wreath laying

Further to my response to the Conservative Home post by Tim Montgomerie, "Please tell us that Conservatives don't do this", in which I took the first picture that appeared in a Google Images search.

I have since received a phone call and this follow up email from Mark Garnier's office. as promised I am printing the response in full.

Dear Stephen, Further to our conversation earlier I would like to confirm that the photo currently on your Liberal Journal was taken in November 2009 when Mark Garnier was a Parliamentary Candidate for Wyre Forest Conservatives. He laid his wreath as a representative of the local the Conservative Association, hence why it bears the Conservative logo. The image can still be found on Mark’s website here and here. This year Mark visited St Anne’s Church in Bewdley where he laid a wreath paying tribute to those in Wyre Forest who have died, and been wounded, whilst serving in the armed forces. The wreath held the portcullis symbol to represent Mark’s role as the Member of Parliament. He sympathises with the view that MPs should not be party political about Remembrance Sunday.” It would be great if you wanted to replace your previous blog with this. Thank you for your understanding, Best wishes, Teresa Teresa FitzherbertParliamentary Researcher Office of Mark Garnier MPMember of Parliament for Wyre ForestHouse of Commons

I wish to apologise to Mark Garnier for mistakenly implying that the picture was taken this year. Having found it through the first of the above links where there is no date stamp on the page I made an honest mistake. Although I have not replaced the previous blog post I have updated it to point to this blog post, as it acts as a reminder to both Tim Montgomerie of the Conservatives and Jessica Asato of Labour to check how clean their own houses are before saber rattling over such a sensitive issue on such a sensitive day. 

However, I will leave one comment that I hope clarifies the issue from a Tory commentator on the original post.

I was fairly disturbed by this story, so imagine my horror when I walked passed our local War Memorial this morning en route to my office to see our own wreath emblazoned with the Conservative logo.
I immediately phoned my local Chairman who had organised and laid the wreath to ask why we had done this. Apparently, when he called the Royal British Legion in Maidstone who manufacture and dispatch the wreaths, he was asked, "do you want the usual wreath ordered by political parties?" to which he replied "yes". When the wreath arrived, the logo had been pre printed by the RBL.
I have subsequently circulated a note to the three Associations I advise as agent suggesting that in future plain wreaths should be ordered to avoid any accusation of us politicising Remembrance Day. However, this issue might not be as clear cut as it first appears.

Looking at the Royal British legion website a wreath with just such a personalised logo is actually one of either the top two donations via wreath purchase to the cause. So maybe we should also accept that like regiments, Scout or Boy Brigade groups or whatever organisation that Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat local organisations also lost members in one or other or both of the World Wars. 

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