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“Meg’s past” (article for the Christian Socialist Magazine May 2003)

Monday, May 19, 2003

Last week an accurate horoscope for me would have read “People and places from your past are a regular feature this week.” Saturday I attended the crowning of the May Queen at my old church in my constituency where 29 years ago I was Queen Viola  - surprisingly little of the ceremony had changed!


On Tuesday one of my social work lecturers, now a Professor, presented some of her research to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Domestic Violence. I spoke about becoming an MP to alumni from my old university, York, at a dinner on Wednesday evening while Thursday brought e-mails from an old friend and a former colleague. To finish the week, on Friday while discussing policing matters with the local District Commander he told me one of his colleagues had been at university with me. I remembered him as something of a joker and never imagined he would become a senior police officer - I’m sure he never imagined I would be an MP.


Becoming an MP does mean that all sorts of people you have lost touch with find you out and your past can catch up with you! It is usually positive but during the days leading up to the Iraq vote I received e-mail from a former colleague that made me angry. After much soul searching I had come to a decision on the forthcoming vote and had placed a statement on my website. The e-mail told me that I was wrong and why. As this person was not a constituent and had not contacted me since we had last worked together I was amazed that he felt completely justified in condemning me out of hand.


Its clear my vote and those of other MPs would not have stopped the Americans, although they could have had a much more significant effect on Tony Blair as he has since made clear. Nevertheless every MP took seriously the decision they were making. This was the first time the House of Commons had voted on military action prior to it being taken. Only two months later it is hard to re-capture the intensity felt in those weeks.


Important decisions require intense consideration, discussion and for people of faith - prayer. I valued the messages of support I received from constituents, friends and church leaders even where they disagreed with me. All those who are faced with decisions of this magnitude need support as well as honest and critical debate.



Meg Munn MP

19th May 2003


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