White Lies

The Standard‘s Paul Waugh has highlighted Hansard’s somewhat tactful discretion in their use of “[Interruption]” in their official records. Dennis Skinner likes nothing more than to throw cocaine allegations, while protected by Parliamentary privilege, at George Osborne. Yesterday was no different –“have you had any of the white stuff lately?” he called out after Osborne responded to his actual question, “how many lines today?” However no record of this most unparliamentary behaviour is kept. Discretion looks more like censorship.

Clegg “Simply Not Good Enough”

Nick Clegg went to great efforts before the election to voice concerns about the extradition of autistic hacker Gary McKinnon. He even went as far to stand side by side in solidarity with Janis Sharp, Gary’s mother, at a protest and also said “It’s simply not good enough for Alan Johnson to shrug his shoulders and claim that nothing can be done”.

Fast-forward a few months and it’s quite a different tune “What I haven’t got the power to do, neither has the home secretary, neither has even the prime minister, is to completely reverse and undo certain legal aspects of this. It’s legally very complex.” Who was it that said the Lib Dems could say whatever they wanted without a hope of getting into government…

Diane Makes It

With the patronising, misspelled backing of David Miliband and Jack Straw it seems Diane Abbott has scrapped on to the ballot. With the prospect of live TV debates and her tendency to tell it how she sees it, the dread of a long dull summer with four men bickering is fading away.

So frightened were Labour of a backlash from their members  if someone female was not on the ballot that Guido hears they turned a blind eye for ten minutes or so while the final paper work was completed. Insert one rule for them joke here.

PMQs Live Chat: Harman’s Second Chance Edition

Selecting the Checks and Balances

The post-election jamboree roles on. Despite the flurry of activity over the close of Labour leadership nominations, today’s Select Committee Chairman elections are not to be ignored. ConHome has the most comprehensive coverage.

Given any LibDem with an ounce of talent, and plenty lacking even that, are now in government, it came as no surprise that the two committees allocated to them were uncontested and two old timers Beith and Bruce are now running the hugely significant International Development and Justice Committees.

On the Labour side some old faces are still refusing to retire with any dignity they might have left. Slimey Keith Vaz is up for re-election as Home Affairs Chairman and absurdly received backing from Tim Montgomerie and Will Straw. Vaz has shamefully abused his position on that committee. There are some fairly underwhelming candidates for the other posts. The most significant committees and tight races are on the blue side.

A combination of a some fiercely independent candidates, a right-wing troublemakers slate and frankly some appalling nominations will make for an intriguing fight today. Carswell at Defence will put the fear of God in to the MOD and can only liven things up.  The defence manfacturers have let down the armed forces (and taxpayers) for decades. Carswell is the man with a mission to put that right.

Nadine has an outside shot at Health and is attempting to convince the Labour MPs that her views on abortion do not outweigh her NHS experience. She has got an impressive range on cross-party support for such a Marmite-figure. She would liven things up considerably.

Guido has made his views perfectly clear on why Tim Yeo’s financial interests render him completely unsuitable for the Energy job and thankfully he has a challenger in the cheapest MP, staff-less Philip Hollobone. Whether MPs will side with the parties and all those investment opportunities or the more humble man remains to be seen.

+ + + McDonnell Withdraws From Labour Leadership Race + + +

Three hours to go. Even if all his backers go for Abbot she will still be short. Developing…

UPDATE : Punters on Political Smarkets betting for and against her getting through to the next round, question is will all McDonnell’s backers switch, Balls is, self-servingly, calling on others to back her.

Currently punters rate Diane as having a 33% chance of not getting enough nominations by 12.30…

UPDATE II : David Miliband and Chris Bryant nominating Abbott.

Mandy’s Leaving Plea

Instead of sending us to Sion Simon’s Swiss Viagra supplier, Labour-Uncut actually had an intriguing little snippet yesterday. It won’t get as much coverage as Liam Byrne’s letter to David Laws,nevertheless for those interested, Mandelson’s letter to his successor apparently simply stated “don’t let them break this department up.”

Wishful thinking perhaps for the huge counter-productive Whitehall empire that Mandy acquired. The Treasury has its cross-hairs firmly pointed at  the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, now in the equally slippery hands of Vince Cable. With the largest chunk of cuts coming their way, Mandy’s last wish looks unlikely to be granted.



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Quote of the Day

Charles Clarke says Cameron is the most successful PM for over a century…

“Under Margaret Thatcher the Conservatives gained 99 seats. They lost 211 under John Major, gained one under William Hague, quickly and wisely got rid of Ian Duncan-Smith, gained 32 under Michael Howard and have so far gained 133 under David Cameron who, to the great surprise of many (including senior Conservatives), has turned out to be the most electorally successful Tory leader since 1900.”

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