Despite being one of Jeremy Hunt’s most vocal defenders on the airwaves and the twittersphere, Louise Mensch failed to make the Commons vote this afternoon. Other Tory MPs were dragged from hospital beds, funerals and even their own honeymoon to troop through the Lobby, but it seems an exception was made for the member for Corby, who was paired. Why? Because the Queen was visiting her marginal constituency…
Out of my hospital bed and on way to HoC for vote so our coalition partners can polish their consciences. Many of us won't forget this
— Conor Burns MP (@Conor_BurnsMP) June 13, 2012
Apparently you may soon be able to get the domain .lol – wonder if the Lib Dems will be changing their website to that.
— Andrew Percy (@andrewpercy) June 13, 2012
Lib Dem MPs should think about precedent they're setting today. What happens if Con MPs abstain next time Labour target a Lib Dem Minister?
— Gavin Barwell MP (@GavinBarwellMP) June 13, 2012
LibDems have sadly played into Lab hands by abstaining today Lab using debate to create a coalition split despite their own double standards
— Nick de Bois MP (@nickdebois) June 13, 2012
If Lib Dems are demonstrating mature coalition politics I look forward to the larger part of coalition demonstrating maturity in future
— Alun Cairns (@AlunCairns) June 13, 2012
Lots of unhappy backbench bunnies this evening…
Alex Salmond has claimed that the Observer hacked his bank account in 1999, telling the Leveson Inquiry:
“I believe that my bank account was accessed by the Observer newspaper some time ago, in 1999 and my reason for believing that is I was informed by a former Observer journalist, who gave me a [inaudible] of what was in my bank account that could only be known to somebody who had seen it. For example, I had bought some toys for my then at that time young nieces in a toy shop in [inaudible] high street which was called Fun and Games, and the person who informed me told me that this caused great anticipation and hope in the Observer investigation unit because they believed that perhaps Fun and Games was more than a conventional toy shop. And enormous disappointment when it turned out to be just a toy shop. I have to say that on [that specific] high street, it seemed to me unlikely that it would be anything else, but anyway, the point I’m making is the person concerned had detail which could only have been known by somebody who had full access to my bank account at that stage.”
GMG have put out a short statement that does not deny the incident but asks, again, for more evidence.
“Mr Salmond first raised the matter of an alleged unauthorised access of his bank account with the Observer’s editor last year. The allegation was that a journalist working for the Observer had accessed his bank details in 1999. As we explained to him last year, on the basis of the information he had given us, we have been unable to find any evidence to substantiate his allegation. As our response to him at the time made clear, we take this allegation very seriously and if he is able to provide us with any more information we will investigate further.”
UPDATE: Co-conspirators in the comments said the BBC would ignore it, they’re right. So far, so ignored, points out the Sun’s political editor, Tom Neutron-Bomb:
— Chris Ship (@chrisshipitv) June 13, 2012
Guido understands that Dan Hodges is returning to the New Statesman. The move comes weeks after his old foe Mehdi Hasan was “promoted” to the Huffington Post. Guido is told he’ll be an occasional columnist. Ed will love that…
UPDATE: Guido has just spoken to Hodges, who confirms he will continue to write for the Telegraph while contributing fortnightly to the New Statesman magazine.
James “Scottie” Scott, the deputy editor of the Sunday Mirror, has been named as the new editor of the People. Scottie will replace Lloyd Embley, who moved to the vacant weekday editor spot at the Mirror two weeks ago. The appointment is all the more interesting seeing as Scott was intimately involved with obtaining the Ulrika Jonsson story back in 2002. And we all know what happened there…
The Speaker sparked a furore in the House after refusing to ask Chris Bryant to withdraw his accusation that Jeremy Hunt is a liar. Bryant claims it was fair game as Hunt was mentioned in the motion though others do not agree:
Speaker rules that @ChrisBryantMP can accuse Hunt of being a "liar" – usually unparliamentary ie leads MP to be expelled
— Nick Robinson (@bbcnickrobinson) June 13, 2012
Astonishing that Speaker Bercow has not pulled up Chris Bryant for saying Jeremy Hunt "has lied to Parliament". Tories will be furious.
— Toby Helm (@tobyhelm) June 13, 2012
The Tories weren’t in a mood to let Bercow off the hook, with Jacob Rees-Mogg hitting the nail on the head:
How many more decisions like this from Bercow will the Tories tolerate…
Watch out for the loyal comrades…
Alastair Darling will launch the ‘no’ campaign against Scottish freedom in Edinburgh in two weeks time. Forth One broke the news that Darling will kick off the “Better Together” bid to maintain the repression of the Scottish nation with a speech in his own constituency on June 25.
Well they did say they wanted to stop the campaign from going down the glitzy route…
These are the letters that the Prime Minister had up his sleeve:
Dear Sir Alex Allan
You will be aware that I will this week be giving evidence to the Leveson Inquiry. As you know, I have decided not to refer Jeremy Hunt to you as I am satisfied that the relevant information about this issue has been established and I am content that he did not break the ministerial code.
Separately, I will be outlining to Leveson some of the initiatives this Government has taken to strengthen accountability and transparency as well as some areas where I am proposing future changes to the current guidance. These include the conduct of special advisers and the handling of quasi-judicial decisions and I would welcome your comments.
David Cameron MP
Thank you for your letter of 13 June. I note your decision in relation to Jeremy Hunt’s adherence to the Ministerial Code which is of course a matter for you. The fact that there is an on-going judicial Inquiry probing and taking evidence under oath means that I do not believe that I could usefully add to the facts in this case though I remain available should circumstances change or new evidence emerge.
On the broader issues I would welcome the opportunity to comment in more detail before the new guidance is finalised.
Sir Alex Allan
Not quite as clear cut as Dave made out, but it stumped Ed enough for a win at PMQs…
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Alan Milburn says Labour’s scaremongering campaign for an unreformed NHS will not win election…
“It would be a fatal mistake, in my view, for Labour to go into this election looking as though it is the party that would better resource the National Health Service but not necessarily put its foot to the floor when it comes to reforming. Look, reforms are not easy, but the Labour Party is not a conservative party. It should be about moving things forward not preserving them in aspic. You have got a pale imitation actually of the 1992 general election campaign, and maybe it will have the same outcome. I don’t know.”