Last week your paper reported on the election of our local MP, Eleanor Laing, to the post of the Chairman of Ways and Means in the House of Commons, making her the principal Deputy Speaker and the first woman to hold this post.

Firstly I offer my personal congratulations to our MP on achieving this prestigious post.

Our MP was quoted as saying that she was looking forward to ‘helping to bring the House of Commons into the 21st Century and restoring faith in our democracy’. I wish her well on that massive endeavour as in my opinion and I feel sure that of many other local residents our confidence in Parliament has never really recovered from the expenses scandal of ten years ago.

What your article failed to point out was that the election of our local MP to this post means that she will not be able to speak during Commons debates or vote in any divisions on our behalf during the rest of this Parliament, which is likely to last at least four years and probably five.

In my opinion this is not fair on the electorate of Epping Forest, who elected an MP last December to vote and speak on our behalf on 'the issues of the day' in the House of Commons.

In my opinion this is not acceptable and her intention to seek to continue in her role as Deputy Speaker was not made clear during the recent election campaign.

I realise that not all residents will be unhappy about this situation but it is in my opinion important that our newly re-elected MP realises that many of her constituents are deeply unhappy that for the length of another parliament our representative in the UK Parliament will be unable to either vote or take part in debates.

Independent Loughton Councillor Stephen Murray