Another letter to the Observer’s Readers’ Editor

Dear Mr Pritchard,

Last week I wrote to you to complain about an unsubstantiated claim made by Jo Revill in an article that MPs were plotting to replace Sir Menzies as leader of the Liberal Democrats. I did not receive a reply (original message below).

This week I am writing to you about the same issue. In Jo Revill’s article this week (Bad polls raise heat on Menzies) she asserts that:

Now the prospect of a general election this autumn has disappeared, many grassroots supporters and MPs feel the time to replace him with one of the party’s younger generation is approaching.

This is substantiated with two quotes from Lib Dem peers. One does not appear to be calling for Sir Menzies resignation at all:

‘He’s a good man but very stubborn. I can’t see him falling on his sword. You have to ask why we are doing so very badly in the polls. We are simply not conveying to voters the simple messages about our policies.’

A very valid question but not a criticism. Even calling Sir Menzies “stubborn” is not neccesarily a criticism.

But fundamentally, neither of these quotes are from MPs. I do not question that some party members have openly called for Sir Menzies to go, but the claim that any MPs have been calling for his head is not substantiated.

I don’t call for anonymous sources to be outed; all I’m asking for is that significant claims such as that be qualified and quantified. I don’t understand why that is too much to ask for.

Perhaps you could do me the courtesy of replying this week?

Yours sincerely,

James Graham

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