City MP Mark Lancaster has been accused of politically influencing 11-year-old children after sending hundreds of personalised letters to middle school leavers.
But the MP has insisted it was just a friendly message, and something he does every year to every Year 6 leaver in his constituency.
Some Monkston parents were shocked when their children came home from school on the last day of school clutching a letter on House of Commons headed notepaper.
“It was addressed to my son personally and on thick cream notepaper,” said one mum.
“The letter, signed by Mark Lancaster, was not disturbing in itself. It simply wished him luck in secondary school.But it was the fact that Mr Lancaster had got hold of his full name that I found perturbing.
“My son is too young to understand about politics – he didn’t even know who Mark Lancaster was. I saw it as a form of political grooming and perhaps an attempt at vote-gathering for the future.”
Other parents feel the gesture is a waste of cash.
Mr Lancaster said the letters were strictly non-political and an annual traditional for him and also MK South MP Iain Stewart.
He said: “Ever since I became an MP in 2005 I have been sending year 6 school leavers a personal letter to wish them luck.
“I write to every headteacher for permission first and I’m always delighted by the feedback I receive from teachers, parents and pupils.”
Mr Lancaster said he gave headteachers the choice as to whether they wanted to give him a list of the leavers’ names.
If they preferred not to, he addressed his letters to ‘Dear school leaver’ instead, he said.