I have been reading various memoirs of MPs who served in the first half of the 20th Century. Part of this is in preparation for the centenary history of the 1922 Committee, which I shall begin proper next year. It has also proved useful for extending some of my analysis of the constituency role of MPs. Many issues faced by MPs early in the 20th Century would be familiar to Members of the current House. However, there have also been notable changes in the roles fulfilled by Members, something on which I have previously written and on which I plan a blog post in the near future. However, the purpose of this post is to share a story from one particular MP, Sir Charles Ponsonby, elected as MP for Sevenoaks in 1935.
Ponsonby succeeded an MP who was not particularly popular. Ponsonby did, though, find him helpful, not least because he passed on his files:
‘The only good letter I found was a reply to the bore-madman who is the bane of an MP’s life: “Dear Mr – Thank you for your letter. I think I see what is in your mind; and if we we met, you would know what is in mine. Yours sincerely.”‘
Arguably an improvement on ‘Thank you for your communication, the contents of which have been noted’.