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Wednesday, Oct 21, 2020

MP sends email with ‘insert if there’s been a bereavement’ to constituent

A Tory MP has apologised after sending a constituent an email with condolences preceded by the note: ‘insert if there has been a bereavement’.
Anthony Magnall said he made a ‘stupid’ mistake while replying to a flurry of emails about Dominic Cummings’ controversial lockdown move to Durham.

The third paragraph of one response, shared on social media, read: ‘[Insert if there has been a bereavement: May I add my condolences to the recent loss of your family member.

‘The current situation has made the ability to mourn the passing of loved ones all the more difficult. I send my best wishes to you and your family.]’

It appears Ms Mangnall drafted a template email to address residents’ complaints about Boris Johnson’s aide, with cookie-cutter alterations to address any personal tragedies highlighted in the emails.

Mr Mangnall said he was ‘incredibly sorry’ for the mistake but insisted it accounted for one of hundreds of emails received on the issue.

The Totnes MP tweeted: ‘In an effort to respond to those emails, I wrote in my own words my thoughts on the situation.

‘That response contained some ‘insert lines’ that allowed me to respond to specific issues and concerns raised. I stupidly sent out one of those emails without having removed the additional lines.

‘This has caused a great deal of offence and I am incredibly sorry.’

Mr Mangnall has not called for Mr Cummings to step down, though he said he ‘shares many of the concerns’ of his constituents and would not have taken the ‘same course of action’ himself.

In a Facebook statement he added: ‘The anger and dissatisfaction at Mr Cumming’s behaviour is no surprise at all.’

‘Spending time defending an adviser is not a good use of time, especially given the many fears and concerns about people’s future and their livelihoods.’
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