Sir Peter stands firm over a ‘war of words’ - Veteran MP ends communication over “offensive” letter claim

Outraged: Martin Lerpiniere with one of the letters that has led to his 'ban' from Sir Peter Tapsell
Outraged: Martin Lerpiniere with one of the letters that has led to his 'ban' from Sir Peter Tapsell

Horncastle’s veteran Tory MP Sir Peter Tapsell has defended his decision to stop writing to a constituent in a dispute over the content of some letters.

Martin Lerpiniere, who lives near Coningsby, contacted the News to complain Sir Peter had refused to reply to any future letters or emails because of their “consistently offensive tone.”

Mr Lerpiniere, 59, a security officer at a Lincoln University, denies the accusation and said Sir Peter’s decision shows MPs are arrogant.

The row comes just weeks before Sir Peter, the Father of the House of Commons, retires at May’s General Election.

Mr Lerpiniere, a long-time Tory supporter, said he and his family are so upset they will vote for another party.

He showed the News a number of letters and emails, including a letter from Sir Peter’s Parliamentary Secretary Georgina Perry.

Dated February 16, it states: “In view of the consistently offensive tone of your communications to him (Sir Peter), he will not be replying to them in future.”

Mr Lerpiniere, who served in the army for 26 years, said he was “shocked and hurt.”

He said: “I have written to Sir Peter for many years on a number of topics and I refute any suggestion my letters are offensive.

“I have always valued his opinion but I have lost all respect. It highlights how arrogant MPs are. We elect them. They should at least have the decency to communicate with us.”

The most recent letters centre around Mr Lerpiniere asking why MPs receive expenses for travelling to work - unlike many people.

Sir Peter replies that there is “all the difference in the world between officials or governmental duties and academic or commercial employment.”

He also points out that in 55 years as an MP, no-one has ever suggested he has made a false claim for parliamentary expenses.

Sir Peter writes: “If any individual or newspaper were to make such an allegation, I would sue them in the courts and win heavy damages.”

Mr Lerpiniere stressed he has never suggested Sir Peter breached regulations.

Sir Peter confirmed to the News he would not be writing to Mr Lerpiniere again and added: “This is only the third time in more than 50 years as an MP that I have taken this action.”