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Sussex MP 'sacks' constituent in speech to House of Commons
An MP “sacked” a constituent and criticised the Chief Constable of Sussex Police in an extraordinary speech in Parliament.
In a twenty-minute prepared speech in the House of Commons, the East Worthing and Shoreham MP delivered an outspoken summary of his long-running feud with constituent Kieran Francis and the police investigation into his alleged racist abuse.
Conservative Mr Loughton was questioned by Sussex Police for 90 minutes after sending an email to Mr Francis, who is of Romany gypsy descent, in which he described him as “unkempt”.
In Parliament on Wednesday night (March 13), the former Children's Minister said he would be making a formal complaint about Sussex Police's handling of the case and singled out Chief Constable Martin Richards for criticism.
Watch the recording of Mr Loughton's speech here: www.theargus.co.uk/news/special/loughtondebate
Mr Francis told The Argus that Mr Loughton's account was an abuse of his position and a waste of parliamentary time to settle a personal dispute.
He described Mr Loughton's account as “full of lies” and said the MP has misused his parliamentary privilege to make accusations he as a constituent would not be able to make.
Mr Loughton said the case could have been “terminated” after he had helped police with their initial inquiries.
Instead a six-month investigation was held before the Crown Prosecution Service decided last month the charges would be dropped.
Mr Loughton said: “Without going into detail about that confidential meeting, I was treated by Chief Constable Martin Richards not only as if I was the subject of ongoing criminal investigations, but almost as if I had actually been charged and found guilty.
“It was as if 'plebgate' runs well beyond the confines of Whitehall.”
Putting the phone down
Later on in the speech, the MP said he would not be responding to any communications from Mr Francis in the future and his staff had been instructed to put the phone down on him.
He added: “I am sacking Mr Francis as my constituent, and I hope that he gets the message without my having to resort to legal means.”
Mr Francis, of Stoney Lane in Shoreham, said: “If he thinks he can sack me then he clearly doesn't believe he is a public servant, it shows the arrogance of him.
“What representation in Parliament do I get now I've been sacked, can I go up and represent myself?”
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