Ian Liddell-Grainger

So, as many of you will have read, Ian Liddell-Grainger MP was caught sending messages to himself via WriteToThem. We spotted this and disqualified him from appearing in our league table of MP responsiveness.

Sadly, this has lead to a certain amount of disagreement with his office, most recently via a BBC Radio Bristol interview. I’m just posting some further information to deal with specific claims made.

1. Mr Liddell Grainger and his assistant have both admitted that they did send messages to themselves. Thanks to their frankness, we know they were sending them not just in 2005 (as we knew) but also whilst FaxYourMP was still the site in 2004.

2. They claim that they were conducting an experiment. Quoted on the BBC the said:

“We e-mailed ourselves and on one e-mail our rating went up by 10%, at which point we deduced it was only a very small website.” The e-mails had been an “experiment” to prove this, he added.”

This leads to two central questions:

i If one email sent in 2004 was enough to ‘prove’ this point, why send 5 more in 2005?
ii Why abuse the system to discover how many messages were being sent when all that data was in the league table anyway?

Furthermore, at no point during 2005 (the launch year for WriteToThem.com) was there a realtime league table that changed when you sent a single message.

3. In the BBC Radio Bristol interview Mr Liddell-Grainger’s assitant revealed that our faxes had been going to ‘a fax machine downstairs’ which belonged to someone else. This would seem to be more of an embarrasing problem for WriteToThem if we didn’t know that:
i) the fax number in question is published on the Conservative party website as the fax number of the Bridgwater Conservative party, Mr Liddell-Grainger’s constituency. He shares it with an MEP – perhaps ‘the man downstairs?’
ii) 30 out of 34 of Mr Liddell-Graingers real constituents who replied to the survey confirmed that they got responses in a timely fashion. So we know for sure that nearly all messages were getting through successfully.

So there’s the final irony of this situation. If Mr Liddell-Grainger and his office had not sent themselves messages, they’d have got quite a good responsiveness rating.

EDIT: Just to confirm, I, Tom Steinberg, never told Mr Liddell-Grainger to send messages to himself. If I had, we would surely never have recieved an email from him that said this.


  1. The question remains, why on earth did you pursue the man over 6 emails? If he’s your biggest fraudster, you are doing very well. do you mind if I write this up for Recess Monkey?


  2. We didn’t pursue him – we didn’t even mention him in our press release. We simply had a responsibility to explain why any MP is excluded from the league tables. The my mind the most important story from the league tables is how well so many MPs are doing, and how many disengaged people are getting in touch for the first time. But you know, good news doesn’t sell 🙂

  3. Watching Them, Watching Us

    Why not actually allow explicitly marked “test messages” and “test faxes” from MPs or other representatives offices to be sent to themselves, but just exclude those from the rating statistics ?

  4. It is an interesting idea. I’ll raise it with some MPs and their staff and we’ll see whether there’s something workable there.

  5. I am a constituent of Mr Liddell-Grainger and he consistantly ignores letters, telephone calls and emails. In 2004 I was in extensive one-way correspondance with him, and eventually sought assistance from Anne Widdecombe who wrote to him citing my case. And what happened? He ignored her letter. So she sent him a second letter, and what happened to that? It was similarly ignored.

    Mr Liddell-Grainger has also ignored correspondance from a constituent whose wife is quadraplegic, a constituent with severe ME, a constituent suffering from organophosphate poisoning, and a constituent seeking to discover the whereabouts of an elderly deranged lady who had been removed from her home without advising anybody of where she was being taken.

    Mr Liddell-Grainger has no significant academic qualifications, and as far as I can discover, he has never had a proper job. His father was at one-time the head of Freemasons in Scotland, and owns an estate with a castle and about 3,000 acres near Ayton. As the eldest son, Nr Liddell-Grainger will presumably inherit this estate.

    In my opinion Mr Liddell-Grainger is a disgrace to the British parliamentary system and should be sacked.

  6. Hmmmmm……

    An MP acting like this…… Is it so out of the ordinary?

    Chortle chortle.


  7. Constituent Business

    Our experience of Mr Liddell-Grainger is somewhat different. We contacted him in regard to a legal problem our Somerset based business had with a major public company. His response was rapid and highly effective – he met with us, and with with the opposing company on our behalf, and was instremental in getting that matter amicably settled.

    So different is our experience that I can only conclude that previous comments in this thread are politically motivated. We have no such motivations, but Mr Liddell-Grainger has certainly gained support from both managers and employees in our company.

  8. Ian Liddell Grainger is a horrible little man. I had the misfortune to meet him on a number of occasions.