Despite his Maltese hangover, Nigel Farage was back on the Malbec at the Newark count:
Taking it down a notch or two from his jet-set partying earlier in the week.
In 1944, at the height of the Second World War, Winston Churchill famously defended the right of Britain’s war heroes to enjoy a pint:
“Make sure that the beer – four pints a week – goes to the troops under fire before any of the parties in the rear get a drop.“
This afternoon at the Defence Select Committee, Labour MP Madeleine Moon demanded that the alcohol subsidy providing cheaper booze for war heroes serving overseas be scrapped. Moon, who herself takes advantage of parliament’s food and drink subsidy allowing MPs to sink cheap pints on the taxpayer, says that the subsidy at military bars in army bases abroad should be removed. According to Press Association, she said she was given the “fight of my life” when she saw the prices at a base in the Falklands:
“One thing that could be done about alcohol problems in the armed forces is tackling the high level of subsidy in bars in military units – perhaps so they were the same price you would pay in town.”
Defence Minister Anna Soubry suggested she was open to the idea, saying she wanted to curb a culture of “drinking to the point of oblivion” in the armed forces. Our politicians want themselves to have a taxpayer funded subsidy for their booze, but want to deny the same perk for the soldiers they have sent to war.
“There is a phrase for some people, they call them vultures, and I really do hope that somebody quotes me on that, especially the BBC. The BBC have been really nice to me but the rest of you are vultures.”
He must be very grateful that Newsnight failed to ask him about his use of drugs and rent-boys since he declared himself a changed man…
A Channel 4 News investigation finds that one in three people working in the sleazy booze-fuelled world of Westminster have experienced some form of sexual harassment at the hands of pervy MPs. One in five had witnessed some other poor young staffer being sexually harassed and over half said they had first or second-hand experience of hands-on politicians. Today’s Mail and Independent splash on the story.
The Tories have responded by ordering their MPs to sign a new code of conduct and implementing a grievance procedure for staff:
The code of conduct acts as a basic statement of what should be best practice in the workplace for Conservative Members and their staff. It explains the rights and responsibilities which are expected of both the employer and the employee.
The grievance procedure is available for staff to use if a grievance arises with their MP as employer. It protects both parties involved, brings with it consistency and fairness, and in doing so upholds the reputation of the Party and of Parliament. It is based upon a three stage process of mediation, grievance hearing and appeal. The process conforms to relevant employment law, ACAS guidance and HR best practice and is added as a schedule to the contract of employment.
They should get everyone at Number 10 to sign it too…
Evans was led from the dock in tears as local supporters and friends in the gallery erupted into cheers.
Not guilty on eight counts.
UPDATE: The Guardian are withering in their destruction of the CPS case against Evans:
“The prosecution case against Nigel Evans, the former Commons deputy speaker, began to fall apart as soon as his accusers entered the witness box. One by one, the young men trooped into Preston crown court and said they did not consider themselves victims of any criminal offence, nor had they wanted to complain to police.”
Bullingdon Boy David Dimbleby is already on the Bollinger, while the mere plebs in the Spin Room will apparently be left dry for tonight’s BBC Europe debate. Beeb cuts are biting deep for all but a few privileged old timers.
In light of this tragic news, Guido is planning on pre-gaming in the bar of the Langham Hotel opposite Broadcasting House from about 5.30:
It’s a convenient location, if a little pricey. See you there.
This week’s Spectator Life covers the increasingly insidious tendency to forego alcohol in the middle of the day in SW1:
“As the partitions came down and the chinos came in, American bank practices have spread from the City, down Fleet Street and have even reached Westminster. As politics and journalism have become more of a profession than an art form, the rules of the game have got tighter. With hacks and flacks tied to the internet, just like in the City, it’s harder to escape.”
Westminster’s thirstiest hacks took to the Red Lion to discuss the death of the boozy lunch for today’s Daily Politics…
Eric Joyce has pleaded guilty to abusive behaviour and been fined £1,500 over last May’s incident at Edinburgh airport. He also has to pay the airport worker he abused a hundred quid over an incident sources close to Joyce described to Guido as:
“Left phone on plane, went to bloke at BA counter saying ‘any chance of getting my phone back before the plane turns around & goes back to London?’ Bloke said words to the effect of ‘No, I’m busy’. Eric said ‘But my phone’, bloke said ‘Stop going on or I’m calling the cops’. Eric said ‘please do’, cops arrived, Eric said ‘B******s to this, I’m off’, one cop said Ok, one cop said not so fast. No drink, no hitting, which is nice.”
He says he is undecided about whether he wants to stay on as an MP after 2015:
“My instinct is to stay but I don’t know how I will feel in a few days. I am very embarrassed that this has happened. My constituents have seen this before, so they might think other apologies are not meant, but they are.”
Guido looks forward to hearing all about it on Eric’s blog…
Doctors’ trade union the BMA has been getting very upset about “cuts” to the NHS recently, moaning to the government that funding changes could force GP practices to close. One thing in particular they don’t want to cut is their […]