Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Dave v Bryant – Round Two at Noon

When asked a question by Labour niggler Chris Bryant yesterday, Dave sulkily replied:

“The word I’m waiting for from him, because he introduced a point of order claiming that I had misled the House, is ‘sorry’. He has said sorry to everybody else… I think he has said sorry to the House in general but the person he accused of doing something wrong he’s not yet said sorry to. Until I get that apology, I think I’ll leave off the answers.”

With Bryant on the order paper for PMQs today, this could get feisty…

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Bercow and Bryant’s Hunting Leads to Fireworks

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:

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…

Video via @liarpoliticians.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Bryant Apologises to the House

After Guido brought you the news that Bryant had apologised to Lord Justice Leveson for his leaky ways, yesterday he apologised to the House:

“On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. On 25 April, I told the House that the Leveson inquiry had published certain information regarding meetings that had been held between Rupert Murdoch and the Prime Minister. I believed at the time that that was the case, but it has subsequently turned out not to be true. I have, of course, apologised to Lord Justice Leveson, but I thought I should take this opportunity to apologise to the House as well. I hope the apology will be accepted. I had no intention of misleading the House; that was purely inadvertent.”

Naughty boy.

Eagle eyes blogger Alex Andreou has picked up at least one extra meeting revealed in Coulson’s evidence yesterday, but it seems the Cabinet Office amended their “full” list last December to include the New York meeting. It’s all rather vague though…

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Bryant Apologises to Leveson for Breach of Confidence
Bryant’s Controversial “Point of Order” Mislead Parliament

M’learned co-conspirator has drawn Guido’s attention to this ruling by Lord Justice Leveson issued on Thursday and overlooked in the Borisfest:

It has happened that a core participant who is a politician has used material from the disclosed evidence (which was, in fact, later corrected) publicly to challenge the Prime Minister; an apology has been received by the Inquiry for what was, in that case, a total disregard of the terms of the confidentiality agreement but even if the question had been withheld until the statement was published, there was almost no time for the information (wrong, as it turned out to be) to be checked and the question dealt with.

Chris Bryant used a Point of Order to accuse the PM of lying to the house about meetings with Murdoch. As Leveson says in his ruling this was based on erroneous evidence that was uncorrected, unpublished, confidential and yet to be checked and published by the Inquiry. Chris Bryant only had access to the evidence submission by virtue of his status as a Core Participant in the Inquiry. Guido said at the time Bryant would regret it, Baroness Warsi insisted he apologise to Leveson – advice he has clearly accepted – and that the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner should reprimand him – which remains to be seen.

As government figures prepare to appear before the Inquiry it seems obvious that Bryant should lose his Core Participant status, he is clearly ready to use it for political advantage. He has demonstrated that he simply can’t be trusted to keep his word.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Leaky Bryant Attacks Hack Leak

Predictably the contents of the Culture Select Committee report into phonehacking has leaked, despite it being printed overnight at heaven knows what cost, in order to avoid this exact situation. Ahead of this morning’s press conference we already know that James Murdoch will be criticised but not accused of misleading parliament, unlike News International bad boys Colin Myler, Tom Chrone and Les Hinton. However it’s the sideshow that caught Guido’s eye…

This is the same Chris Bryant who last week revealed information that he only had access to due to his special status as a Core Participant of the Leveson Inquiry, meaning he gets to see evidence in advance. Given that he later went after the ITV journalists personally for doing their job he does not appear to be joking…

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Bryant Caught With Pants Down

When Guido leaked information before it appeared at Leveson, it had not been obtained via special access to the Inquiry, instead it had been acquired through good old-fashioned journalism. When Lord Justice Leveson tried to make him sign a confidentially agreement he refused. Chris Bryant on the other hand did sign one when he accepted Core Participant status…

When he ran hot and heavy to Parliament yesterday, Bryant had seen documents about Cameron’s meetings with Murdoch, which he had only received in advance of today due to his special status with the Inquiry. The Telegraph splashed it today…

After the good judge criticised Bryant this morning, albeit without naming him, the Tories are calling for him to apologise and surrender the status. Warsi has gone to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner. When the DCMS Select Committee report comes out on Tuesday, the extent to which Tom Watson used his special access to that committee for commercial gain will become clear…

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Lebedev Links Lost Bryant Shad Cab Role
Labour Unease at Billionaire Buddies

When Chris Bryant took his column at the Indy back in September, we wrote:

“Coincidentally Chris is a friend of Lebedev’s son Evgeny and was at a recent dinner party with the oligarch’s offspring. Evgeny “speaks regularly” to Chris Blackhurst, no doubt about the weather…”

When we pointed out yesterday that Bryant was not declaring an interest when speaking on Russian matters, despite the £14,000 he has got so far in this deal, we seem to have struck a nerve. Hardly a surprise when Labour insiders have already expressed concern. One described it to Guido as “an extraordinarily close relationship to a newspaper proprietor, if you look at anything he says about anyone else.” The loss making Indy is entirely subsidised financially by the Russian oligarch.

One theory in Labour circles is that the reason Bryant missed out on a Shadow Cabinet position was because of the Lebedev-Moscow connection. Those that work with him point out he is articulate and capable, and anyone who has had the pleasure of being attacked by Bryant would not question his campaigning skills. He was widely tipped for the top team in the October 2011 Shadow Cabinet reshuffle, yet mysteriously – a month after signing up for the Indy’s Moscow gold – he remains out in the cold.

Tom Watson’s influence has grown under Ed Miliband’s weak leadership, for instance Watson keeps a tight grip on vital areas such as candidate selection. It is no secret that there is no love lost between him and Bryant and it’s said “they never really got on”, despite their work on the phone hacking scandal. Bryant refused to answer our questions when we put it directly to him earlier that Watson has expressed concern about the Lebedev connection directly to him. Curiouser and curiouser…

UPDATE:  Bryant has got in touch to deny any pressure from Watson. Guido has sent follow up questions…

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Bryant’s Undeclared Billionaire’s Bung

Section 72 of the Common’s Declaration of Members’ Interests states that “any relevant financial interest or benefit of whatever nature, whether direct or indirect, should be declared in debate, or other proceeding.” Section 74 says that it “is the responsibility of the Member, having regard to the rules of the House, to judge whether a financial interest is sufficiently relevant to a particular debate, proceeding, meeting or other activity to require a declaration.”

As head of the All Party Group on Russia you should would expect Chris Bryant to raise Russian issues more than most, and he has been one of the most vocal Putin critics. He even testified against Hancock’s suspected spy lover.

However since October Bryant has declared nearly £14,000 in payments from the Independent newspaper owned by Russian oligarch and fellow Putin critic, Alexander Lebedev. Since the billionaire signed Chris up, he has mentioned Russia on dozens of occasions in the House without a single declaration required in the rules above. Given his ongoing quest for strict probity in public office, it’s odd that he hasn’t mentioned this…

Bryant argued to Guido that the Indy is technically owned by a British citizen (Lebedev Jr,) but this is extremely disingenuous given that bachelor Evgeny only recently got British citizenship. A technicality that doesn’t alter the fact that Bryant is paid thousands by a Russian with political pretensions and ambitions…

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Tax Transparency Bill Gets Second Reading

Ben Gummer’s tax transparency 10 Minute Rule Bill was just passed in the House and will come back for a second reading in March. Chris Bryant stood  up to oppose it on the grounds that “there are better things we could be doing”, and raised various technicalities, but to no avail. It makes you wonder what he doesn’t want the voters to know? The UK is a step closer having an itemised breakdown of how our money is spent. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Chloe-sure

See: Fiona MacTaggart Apologises to Chloe Smith for BitchinessClaws out for Chloe – And It’s Not Just Her Own Side


Seen Elsewhere

Polling Averages Trend | PoliticalBetting.com
Speaker Faces Questions Over Pass for Donor | Sun
Tory MPs’ Visit to Israel Condemned | Guardian
Labour Was Too Slow for the Squeezed Middle | FT
Papers Pan Cam’s Immigration Pledge | ConHome
Deane of St Edmundsbury? | Times
Pay Volunteers and They Become Cheap Labour | Jill Kirby
UKIP Fundraiser Was Jailed for Running Brothels | Times
Bercow Faces Probe Over Pass Mystery | Mirror
Harman Breaks Rules on Paying Staff | Express
Labour Whinge About Sandi Toksvig Joke | Mail


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John McTernan told Channel 4 News

“You can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs, you don’t win in politics without breaking legs.”



Rob Wilson says:

Without Predujice

Darling

What time will dinner be ready this evening?

Yours

Rob Wilson MP

In the interests of me I am placing a copy of this email in the public domain.


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