MP Owen Paterson bombarded by 80,000 bee e-mails

North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson said today he felt as if he had been under cyber attack after receiving more than 80,000 e-mails over the weekend.

Owen Paterson

Thousands of messages were sent to his constituency e-mail inbox urging him to support a European ban on a pesticide linked to the decline of bee populations.

Mr Paterson, who is also the environment secretary, fears that the bombardment on the issue might stop him seeing urgent mail from constituents.

He said: “Everyone has a right to express their view and write to me but this is a cyber attack on the constituency office.

“The danger is that someone may have a real problem, they might need an urgent operation or someone abroad might need help or there could be a crisis in business and if they have sent an e-mail it might not be able to get through.

“I have already had people not able to get through.

“There are real people in North Shropshire writing to me by e-mail.

“It is wrong that they should not get access to the e-mail system.”

The bee-related e-mails were a result of a vote on European Commission proposals to restrict the use of neonicotinoids, the pesticides that have been blamed for declines in bee numbers across the world.

The proposals failed to get a majority in the EU vote, from which the UK abstained.

MPs have been told that tests showed bees may be significantly affected by the pesticides but field data on honey bees indicated their level of exposure in real life does not lead to harmful effects.

As a result the Department for Food and Rural Affairs, which Mr Paterson heads, has commissioned field trials on bumble bees with results expected back in the next few weeks.

Mr Paterson said he wanted to wait until the field studies were completed before he made his decision.

“I am not going to be rushed,” he said.

“I am really determined to do the right thing for bees.

“People have their right to express their views but 80,000 e-mails is a cyber attack.”

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Comments for: "MP Owen Paterson bombarded by 80,000 bee e-mails"

Jayne Oliver

Mr Paterson - it's called democracy.


I emailed him, I feel this is an important issue. I think I and everyone else that emailed have the right to do so.

Patrick Cosgrove

Alternatively, it may be a legitimate, democratic expression of opinion by people who genuinely believe that there are sufficient grounds for concern to at least suspend the use of these toxins until such time as the research is complete. Many of the people who emailed will be bee-keepers, and they're not a group of people generally associated with hysteria or extreme methods of campaigning. I think this article says more about Mr Paterson than it does about the people who emailed.


So why then did all the emails go to his constituency office and not to his Ministry? No, this was just intimidation and you know it. It was a planned mass campaign of intimidation by an NGO and little to do with your grand description. Beekeepers? maybe some of them but not many. It is so easy to send an email.

Bee Lover Extraordinaire!

It is not intimidation. Paterson is meant to be heading up the department that looks after the environment. He has a proven record of not caring for the environment or natural world.

He is in the pocket of the corporations, everything from pesticide companies, genetically modified food giants and pest controllers and big business farmers,.

He is a massive menace to society, and the longer he is in this position of power, the worse our countryside will become.

He has shown his hatred of bees, badgers and foxes. What next? Maybe he fancies getting rid of some birds of prey, bats, red squirrels or water voles. Perhaps he may even have a fetish for clubbing baby seals? I wouldn't put nothing past him.

He should have resigned long ago.

Yes, it is easy to send an email, welcome to the 21st Century! Perhaps 80,000 carrier pigeons would have been too much? He would have wanted to have them all shot.

Heeza Tosser

What twaddle! No way is that intimidation. But it IS power.


Dont be daft!


Surely it's not too hard to use the search facility to find the word "bee" and put them all into another folder. It's democracy from 80 odd thousand people who were told the address sure, but why not email the guy directly over a passoniate issue. Yet it is completely manageable if you have a brain. Oh wait we're talking about Owen Paterson

One of the 80000!

I am a north Shropshire resident who emailed Owen Paterson regarding this issue. This was in no way a cyber attack, i appreciate receiving 80000 emails may be a bit of a shock but this was people who were concerned about the issue being given the means to contact the Environment Secretary about it.

Interesting that the environment secretary doesn't think that the inability to produce crops (due to a lack of pollination caused by the decline of bees) is a "real problem".


I too e-mailed about what I consider an important issue. To dismiss thousands of people's valid concerns in this way is arrogant and pompous; that so many care is admirable. Individual concerns are just that; collective concern for the environment is far more significant.

Shrewsbury Mum

A 'cyber attack'???!!! People have a right to contact ministers about things that they care about and to be listened to- especially if large numbers of people comment on the same issue. Owen Paterson's comments say all that needs to be said about this government's contempt for the views of the electorate.

John Ackers

I doubt if the Foreign Office or the Ministry of Defence regard this as a cyber attack, simply a healthy and democratic use of email.

Callum a Shropshire lad

I emailed him as an attempt to get attention to an important matter. I emailed him in his capacity as environment secretary. I would think with all of the email technology available, such as rules in email software, and the fact that he could have a separate email address for both roles, he would be able to manage his job's contacts better. Goes to show you how backward he really must be. Stop making excuses and deal with the matter. Surely with such an overwhelming response like this he would realise this is not a cyber attack, but a massive raising of awareness to many people, who are concerned about the welfare of the bees!

Sort your life out!


Come on Shropshire Star - lets follow these up - please use your contacts to ask Owain if he's going to put his position on this following peoples reaction.

We will be in a sorry state if nothing is done - the corporates will just move continent and leave our countryside sterile and us paying (YET AGAIN) higher prices to them to ship basic foods from elsewhere.

I thought he wasn't part of the nasty party - and not one of the moral-less ones running the money in this country now.


A cyber attack!!!!!!!!!

I took part because I happen to think bees are important

Any one remember what Captain Mainwaring used to say:-

I think your going into the realms of fantasy Mr Paterson


Sheesh, has this guy never heard of filters ... 5 clicks and you can move them all to a different folder - what are we paying this guy for?


.His scowling hatred of anyone for animal rights and his love affair with anyone who wants to kill them is blatantly obvious and is a waste of his office .At least he will be out along with the rest of the countryside alliances thugs in a few years time .Talk about vote loser. He must be Millibands secret weapon .

Cristina Parker

I was walking in a field last Summer. Hundreds of bees were dying round me as I walked. The farmer had sprayed the next field, which had previously been ploughed and was full of wild flowers. He was grassing it over and presumably wished to kill the 'weeds'.

Shame on modern farming. There is enough evidence that these sprays are toxic. B&Q, Homebase and Wickes have withdrawn them voluntarily. Why does big business have the right to destroy our environment?


Yet again this pompous man disregards and disrespects public opinion and concerns. And as for him saying that he will not get emails from 'real' people? Who the hell does he think sent the 80,000 emails? Drones? Spambots? These are VERY real people with very real concerns about the ability of our countryside to sustain itself and future generations. They are not people concerned with corporate money pots getting larger and it would seem that Paterson's only concern is exactly this. This ConDem government is no friend of the people - they are friends of big business and profit.

He's also doing the same with the badger slaughter - complete disregard for the measures that experts, scientists and the public want putting in place to deal with the situation. Profit profit profit that is the total bottom line. As a species we should be extremely afraid of what profit has to offer us the 'REAL' people. It offers us nothing but what is left at the bottom of the barrel once the fat cats have had their bloated 99% share.

Lin Smith

Sir , this is a democratic right to ask that you hear all our concerns for the bee and for the welfare of our crops, and all animals and humans sustained by those crops. A scientific test should not gainsay the old adage "when in doubt leave it out"! Please respect the public's opinion. Too often recently , the public opinion has been ignored by this government .


no bees promotes reason to push patented GM ! just like a badger cull will lead to planning restriction free urban sprawl , "whoopsy" ! david cameron put paterson in that position ! regulation would see we get what we pay for and there is no corruption taken place because every action needs to be accounted for with science and a signature ! but look what's happening ! calls to remove corruption highlighting regulation by those whom are not already taken responsibility of their public actions while serving under an oath ! now how can it be proved embezzlement is not taking place without regulation ?! just like with the horse meat scandal "it cannot just go on trust " , the trust went with the last scandal !

personally i think paterson should quit before he destroys this country and his career !


Have you heard of email filters, opps you must have done else how do you know you received 80000 bee related emails.


What does he mean by `real people` ??? Does sending e mails about bee constitute not being real?


Well 80000 emails about protecting the bees is better than 80000 people emailing because they cant get fresh food after the bees are gone - This is a real problem and we are real people Mr Paterson step down from your post as environment secretary if you only want to deal with your own constituents.


Sorry, my mistake; here was I thinking we lived in a democracy. I'll get my hat.

david holmes

If you can not stand the heat Mr P, then remove yourself from the Kitchen.

Alan Petrie

This man is a complete waste of space. I thought that the Environment secretary was supposed to look after the environment and not set about destroying it.


This man has shown himself to be an enemy of the environment and all things that crawl and walk. He should not be in the position he is, he is a disgrace. I believe there is a conflict of interests, he is a member of The Countryside Alliance, supporting hunting with dogs -

Ministers should take care, however, to ensure that they do not become associated with non-governmental organisations or community groups where:

the group's objectives may conflict with government policy;

the organisation is a lobby group;

the organisation receives or applies for government funding.

Cabinet Manual 2008.

This Govt have also refused to tighten laws and continue funding the Wildlife Crime Prevention Unit.


I am a North Shropshire resident and I too emailed Mr. Paterson on this subject.

Perhaps he has forgotten that his duty is to serve his constituents?

Would he rather we turned up at his door to express our views?

Do the job you were elected to do, Mr. Paterson, for the people who put you in that position. If you are unable to do that then please stand down and let someone else take up the reigns.

Jeanette Salisbury-Roberts

The absolute arrogance of this man is astounding!

He actively supports GM crops and indeed said that there were "real environmental benefits" to the technology and dismissed concerns about its impact on human health as "complete nonsense"!

He's against banning the insecticide 'neonicotinoid' which has been declared unsafe by the EU because of the deadly effect it is having on the bee population. France banned it in 2008 and their bee populations are growing again.

He's pushing on the with proposed badger cull despite enormous opposition and against rock solid scientific and economic evidence that it won't stop the spread of bovine TB.

He's very much in favour of the repeal of the Hunting Act and once even described anti-hunt protesters as "Nazis"

Get him out before he does even more damage!

Mr Moon

Digital by default Owen, digital by default....

Carol Coupe

Since when did I stop being a real person and why doesn't my opinion count. And if Mr Paterson thinks the environment is so unimportant maybe he should step down and let someone who gives a damn take on the role!

Macx Adams

“The danger is that someone may have a real problem, they might need an urgent operation or someone abroad might need help or there could be a crisis in business and if they have sent an e-mail it might not be able to get through."

THIS IS A REAL PROBLEM, NO BEE'S = NO FOOD = NO LIFE, what an Idiot this man is !


What a load of cobblers, what you fail to realise Mr Paterson is the problems facing the Bee's is of greater importance than one of your constituents trying to email you about their mundane lives.

Time you retired I think, let somebody who actually cares about the future of the planet do your job.

George Kearton

Poor Mr Paterson ! I bet he would have reacted differently if the emails had been in favour of his proposed slaughter of badgers - then the emails would have been a vital part of democracy !

But there's actually little danger of that happening; the two government petitions in favour of a badger cull have, between them, attracted a laughable and derisory total of less than 50 signatures. Compare that with the anti-cull petition (still available for signature incidentally) which now has over 178, 000 signatures and is still rising.

Poor Mr Paterson ! No wonder there are already local rumours about re-selection - but then again, that's democracy for you ................


Engage brain Mr Paterson if you want to differentiate between constituency and emails associated with your portfolio as a minister have two email addresses! You perhaps wouldn't make yourself look such a plonker by making such an insensitive statement.


Paterson is a complete disgrace. That people like this with their views actually still exist in British society in 2012 is shocking, none more so than someone in the job of Environment minister. Ignores scientific opinon, public opinion on this, the badger cull and his general love of bloodsports.

The elitist big landowners (countryside alliance) have been getting away with this stuff for years, how on earth do these people think they can away with this now with the internet and social networking?

The Tories make me physically sick every time I seem them now. Horrible horrible people. Least this total disregard for wildlife will help destroy these people forever.

Another one of the 80000

Mr. Patersons failure see the importance of such vital environmental issues such as this worries me enormously. This, along with his uncompromising stance on GMO crops and his blatant ignoring of the very scientists that the government commissioned to investigate the effects of a cull on badgers lead me to think that he may well have vested interests at heart. It is his job to represent the views of the people of this country, not those of the corporations , but so far I see no evidence of him listening to the ordinary man (or even the scientists). Perhaps if we keep up the 'cyber attack' he may eventually realise that his policies are deeply flawed and incomprehensibly foolish. Lets hope for 800,000 next time!

Heeza Tosser

Oh sorry Owen. Perhaps all the folk who perceive "the real problem" here should have refrained because you wouldn't like it?

How stupid are you Owen?

The whole future of our ecosystem is at stake and you have the effrontery to complain? You should thank these good people for their intelligent concern.

And to the guy who says this is intimidation, if you can't take it - don't deal it.


I also emailed Mr Paterson, and did a degree of encouraging others within the constituency to do the same. This is called the democratic process and is exactly why he has a contact form available on his website. I personally wanted him to be absolutely aware that he would not be representing my opinion if he didn't vote for the moratorium to be put in place.

His suggestion that this was some sort of 'cyber' attack just shows his complete ignorance of the strength of opinion on this issue and his complete disregard for the democratic system he works for. Absolutely disgraceful.


The last time i checked, I was a real person. What an utter insult. His response fails to even acknowledge that this IS A REAL ISSUE and 80,000 responses somewhat warrants some respect! Do these people not know what pesticides have done to wildlife, wiping them out to extinction. Is he not capable of reading or hearing what experts say on what the purpose of a bee is? I wonder what a 2 week field trial will produce when we have all the evidence over the last 30 years or more.

He has done himself no favours in acquiring any votes in his future political career and I'm not sure how his conscience will cope if he makes the wrong decision. This is about the future of people and the planet.

Einstein said “If the bee disappeared off the face of the earth, man would only have four years left to live.” I think this man was pretty bright. Best listen to him if not to 80,000 people

Nolan Thacker

Well Mr. Paterson, it seems you are unable to function within a democracy, nor do you seem to understand how a democracy is supposed to work. If you'd rather the people whom you serve and whom pay your wages, stop contacting you as you have more important things to do, maybe you should think about a career change.

I do have bees, and I am concerned about pesticides, and not just neonicotinoids, and I am one of the many who contacted you. I must say I find your accusation of cyber attack offensive, your comment that someone needing an operation needing to contact you must be a joke surely, I would definitely contact a surgeon rather than an MP. If I had a problem in a foreign country I'd go to an Embassy or direct to the Foreign Office, if there was a crisis in business I'd expect the Business Secretary to deal with it. You Mr. Paterson are the Environment Secretary so please, start serving the environment and the people who pay your wages rather than the interests of the big businesses who manufacture these pesticides


You work for us, We pay your wages, When we email you with a subject this important we expect results, You ignore us saying you may miss more important emails, Do you see how ludicrous you sound here, Wait till we email you about fracking 80,000 emails is nothing, Do what we pay you for and stop complaining please.

Simon Midgley

Awh. Poor Mr Paterson. Seems he can't cope with his job. And "cyber-attack"?? He really needs to go back to school if that's what he thinks. The emails were from a group of people who asked him to represent them and ban the use of harmful pesticides. Of course he ignored them. As he has with the huge concern over other environmental issues. He is incompetent. He cannot (or will not) do the job we are paying him to do. Scandalous really. He needs to go very rapidly. Of no use.


“There are real people in North Shropshire writing to me by e-mail." Ah, so the people sending those 80,000 emails are imaginary?

Cristina Parker

By abstaining in the vote, he managed to get a delay in the ban being implemented. This man is dangerous and should be moved out of the Environment and preferably off the planet without delay.


There have been hundreds of studies on these pesticides with the same conclusions, now you think one more is going to prove the other 200 were wrong? You must know something we don’t.

Alan Petrie

This hunting moron should be hounded out of office.


'Mr Paterson, who is also the environment secretary, fears that the bombardment on the issue might stop him seeing urgent mail from constituents.'

The 80000 emails are urgent Mr Paterson.If you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen.By the way it's called democracy.Something Paterson obviously doesn't believe in.

Cristina Parker

This is what is happening in the US and what should be happening here!