Who’d have thought John Bercow would want to add to his reputation as a stupid and sanctimonious dwarf? The pint-sized Speaker has fulfilled at least two of these three criteria by parking his bright red £30,000 Land Rover Freelander, complete with self-titled personalised numberplate, outside his parliamentary apartment for all to see. Bercow’s latest vanity project will have set him back anything between a few hundred quid and several thousand. His wife’s other car is a Volvo…
Tory MPs have all been sent the following awkward questions to ask during Douglas Carswell’s Private Members Bill, chosen by the readers of this website, calling for EU withdrawal that is set to be debated on Friday:
- The Bill, which seeks to repeal the European Communities Act 1972, was presented to Parliament through the ballot procedure on 20 June 2012. It would have the effect of withdrawing the UK from the EU. The Government does not support the Bill.
- Does the Minister agree that the passage of such a Bill would lead to a constitutional and political crisis within both the UK and the EU?
- Does the Minister agree that now is not the time to take such a drastic move, given the economic turmoil that Europe is experiencing?
- Repealing the EC Act would be a dramatic move. Does the Minister agree that the people of the UK should be consulted on such a move?
- Does the Minister agree that, as the British people now have a vote on any future treaty change, they should also be counselled on a move as severe as withdrawing from the EU altogether?
- Does the Minister agree that the audit of competencies should be completed before any major decisions on the UK’s future relationship with the EU?
- Does the Minister agree that it is far better to consult the British people through the audit of competencies, rather than making a rash decision to unilaterally withdraw now?
As Guido said this morning, it’s time for the Tory backbenches to get organised and have some fun with this one…
The Register of Members’ Interests reveals that Dominic Grieve’s PPS Jessica Lee owns a flat in London from which rental income is received. In spite of this Lee bills the taxpayer £1,430-a-month to rent another house in London. A rent-swapper caught red-handed. But this one does not end there…
Lee shares the expenses-funded flat with fellow Tory MP Stuart Andrew, who in turn owns another property (albeit in Leeds) from which he receives rental income. Both Lee and Andrew claim a hefty £1,430-a-month each – his people have confirmed to Guido that the total rent for the London property stands at £2,860-a-month. With MPs limited to claiming £1,666-a-month for London accommodation, that’s a clever way of getting round the rules for a nice pad…
Guido has contacted Lee’s office at least five times over the last few days, but despite repeated assurances of a response, she is refusing to comment. George Osborne says households should not receive more than £26,000-a-year in benefits. The Lee-Andrew household is raking in over £34,000-a-year of our cash in benefits…
Tom Watson failed to mention that the big ‘bombshell’ he let off in PMQs was actually mentioned by the Sunday Times this weekend. The paper reported that Edwina Currie’s autobiography carried claims that Sir Peter Morrison, a Tory MP and aide to Margaret Thatcher, had sex with underage boys during the 1980s. Morrison’s lovers were sixteen, with the age of consent for homosexuals at the time standing at twenty-one.
Funny that Watson didn’t say “as printed in the Murdoch press this weekend and exposed by a former Tory MP”.
One to watch though, rumours are swirling around about all sorts of politicians…
UPDATE: Nick Davies first made the shocking allegations about Morrison in 1998
Fleet Street routinely nurtures a crop of untold stories about powerful abusers who have evaded justice. One such is Peter Morrison, formerly the MP for Chester and the deputy chairman of the Conservative Party. Ten years ago, Chris House, the veteran crime reporter for the Sunday Mirror, twice received tip-offs from police officers who said that Morrison had been caught cottaging in public toilets with underaged boys and had been released with a caution. A less powerful man, the officers complained, would have been charged with gross indecency or an offence against children.
At the time, Chris House confronted Morrison, who used libel laws to block publication of the story. Now, Morrison is dead and cannot sue. Police last week confirmed that he had been picked up twice and never brought to trial. They added that there appeared to be no trace of either incident in any of the official records.
The full Nick Davies article is genuinely shocking: The sheer scale of child sexual abuse in Britain
UPDATE: Tom Watson says his allegations are not about Peter Morrison:
I am not naming the person for obvious reasons but for clarity it is not former MP, Peter Morrison. This afternoon my office has been bombarded with calls regarding Morrison, I think because he was named by Edwina Currie at the weekend as having inappropriate sexual relations with teenage boys.
Comments in the comments please…
Yesterday the Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said “I will do what is right, not what gives me a warm feeling or gives protest groups a warm feeling.” Yet Alice Thomson’s column in the Times today shows a spectacular level of ignorance from a Minister and a government Special Advisor, who are shameless about their populist motives:
“As one minister explained: ‘We have three priorities: the economy, education and welfare. Badgers don’t fit into any of those scenarios so they are a distraction.’ One special adviser compared it to the U-turn on selling off forests. ‘Why would we want to antagonise all the fluffy animal-lovers when we don’t have to?'”
Guido has his suspicions to which side of the coalition the Minister sits on, but that aside, the argument is nonsense. The economy? Defra’s own website states that there are 5,300 dairy producers in the UK produce 13.3 billion litres of milk per year at an average of 27p per litre. Bovine TB, spread by badgers could wipe out this £3.5bn market.
Which would do wonders for welfare numbers…
Taking time out from listening to his £467 stereo paid for on expenses, Labour’s Corby campaign manager Ian Austin has been following orders word for word from his Brownite boot-boy flatmate Tom Watson. Back in August Guido revealed how Watson had ordered his Corby campaign team to brief that they expected to lose Louise Mensch’s old seat, despite being dead-cert favourites. Despite Lord Ashcroft’s comprehensive polling calling the result for Labour already, the Austin spin-machine is in overdrive:
“No one should be under any illusions: we lost this seat in 2010, and winning it back will be a really tough challenge…The truth is that we lost this bell-weather constituency in 2010. Winning it back will be a really tough fight for us and we are not taking anything for granted.”
Not only that, but Austin implies that Corby constituents outside the town itself will be harder to win round. Because they’re rich:
“Corby is the main town but half the voters live in places like Rockingham, Oundle, Irthlingborough and Raunds: picture-postcard market towns and rural villages dotted across East Northamptonshire. Average incomes in these areas are higher than Mid-Sussex and on a par with places like East Hampshire, Woking and West Berkshire.”
Not very One Nation of you, Ian…
CNN are said to be “twitchy” this morning following yesterday’s Piers Morgan hacking claims. There is a growing feeling both here and across the pond that it’s getting real for Piers, and judging by his out of character Twitter silence yesterday Sven’s nemesis is feeling the heat. Good to see Kier Simmons making waves stateside, as well…
Over the summer Douglas Carswell open sourced a Private Members’ Bill with Guido and the people/readers chose a EU withdrawal option. Well this Friday it will be debated in the House:
With a concerted effort on the Tory backbenches, this could be a bit of fun…[…]