It wouldn’t happen on Question Time…
Tory rebel Conor Burns is ready to resign as Owen Paterson’s PPS after informing his chief whip that he will vote against the government on Lords reform. Burns has left the final decision up to Dave, it appears he could be out of a job tomorrow evening: “It would seem that my position is incompatible with membership of the Government. I deeply regret the government have put us in a position where a long-held and mainstream view means I cannot continue to serve as a PPS“. Guido is sure it won’t be the least we hear from Conor.
Sky’s Sophie Ridge confirms:
Guido has just asked Conor if he had; proffered his resignation if asked or simply thrown himself at the mercy of the Prime Minister? To which he replied: “Sort of both!” Burns is now leading the heckling of Nick Clegg and co. in the Commons. They said it would be bloody…
UPDATE: Here is Burns’ letter in full:
Further to our conversation in your office I wanted to formally write to put my position as PPS to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland at yours and the Prime Minister’s disposal. I have long held views on reform of the House of Lords and cannot support the Bill tomorrow or the programme motion. It would appear that my position is incompatible with membership of the Government. I am a keen supporter of the Government and deeply regret that the Government have put us in the position where a long held and mainstream view within the Conservative Party means that I cannot continue to serve as Owen’s PPS. If by voting against the Bill tomorrow means I have to resign I will of course continue to support the Government and the Prime Minister from the backbenches.
Conor Burns might be fearing for his job when he votes against the government over Lords reform tomorrow, but Guido is starting to suspect that Tory whips’ hearts aren’t really in it. For 70 Conservative backbenchers to voice such open dissent – including loyalists that still actually harbour career ambitions – there is clearly little anxiety over the consequences of rebelling. And as for those LibDem boundary review threats…
Peter Lilley has gone on the record saying that no whip has got in touch with him, while Jacob Rees-Mogg told the BBC: “I speak to the whips regularly but I haven’t come under any pressure“. Tories have been briefing the Lobby that their party capos have been nowhere to be seen:
Tory rebel tells me he doesn't know anyone who's been given "a serious bollxxxing" for planning to vote against Lords reform—
norman smith (@BBCNormanS) July 09, 2012
Dave ordered a three-line whip on Lords reform, but neither his backbenchers nor his whips seem to care. The power now lies with Ed…
If you had picked up your Daily Star Sunday yesterday you would already know what Mad Frankie Maude really thinks about Lords reform, which Tory MP likes the Taliban and why George Osborne’s former adviser was brandishing a whip this weekend. And that’s before we get to what Ed Miliband told Guido at the Speccie summer party…
Yesterday’s column is now online here…
Last month Leveson ordered Guido to submit a third witness statement to his Inquiry, this time asking for Guido’s thoughts on Lord Black’s proposals for a future press regulatory system. Lord Black is currently telling Mr Jay about those suggestions for keeping the press under control.
You can read Guido’s written evidence here…
Guido bumped into Liz Truss last week and complained that her pamphleting “Free Enterprise” Group of Tory MPs wasn’t very right-wing. She looked at Guido arched-eyed and knocked back her drink before stumbling off.
As if to prove the point this morning her “Free Enterprise” Group released a pamphlet arguing for an increase in taxes for the working over-65s:
Older workers who continue to work should pay National Insurance contributions on their earned income. Extra NIC income could be banked or used to give NIC holidays (employee and employer) to young low paid workers.
No doubt they will argue this is revenue neutral and just shifting the tax burden onto the older generation which has had it pretty good. This begs the question; what kind of free enterprise group wants tax hikes and revenue neutrality? The status quo is disastrous, we’re over-taxed to finance Gordon’s Big Government welfare state. The New Labour era saw state spending as a percentage of GDP go up from 35% under Margaret Thatcher to 45% under Gordon Brown. If even a Tory free enterprise group is unwilling to push back on Gordon Brown’s settlement the country is stuffed…
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Earlsfield resident Olivia Seccombe writing to the Wandsworth Guardian:
“I would like to question the judgement of Tooting’s Member of Parliament, Sadiq Khan, now Babar Ahmad has been found guilty of running websites that allegedly sought to raise money, recruit fighters and seek equipment for terrorists in Afghanistan and Chechnya… Now this man has been found guilty – after a full and fair trial in the States – I would like Mr Khan to answer firstly, what his concerns with the legal process were and secondly, why he spent so much time campaigning for this man when he should have been representing Tooting in Parliament?”