Comrade Bob’s Costly Covert Union Cash

Panjandrum turned peer Bob Kerslake has never voted with the government since he joined the Lords a year ago. Even on votes where the majority of crossbench peers back the Tories, ‘independent’ Kerslake has always voted against. His tedious lefty interventions have seen him dubbed ‘Comrade Bob’ by ermine-clad colleagues.

This afternoon Kerslake has been trying to nobble the attempt to abolish trade union check-off, the outdated system where union subs are automatically taken from civil servants’ pay packets, instead of making them opt in to pay. Comrade Bob not only wants this covert union funding to stay, he wants to expand it to “Any employee whose employer deducts income tax”. A bizarre intervention which would end up costing businesses tens of millions of pounds a year…

Arise, Lord Hain of Hypocrisy

The Rt Hon. the Lord Hain, ennobled yesterday, 24 November 2015:

“I, Peter Gerald Hain, do solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, her heirs and successors, according to law.”

Peter Hain MP, a year ago, 3 November 2014:

“The Lords are an archaic anomaly which fuels disillusionment with British politics. It exists purely on a democratic deficit which has been allowed to evolve unchecked for centuries… the fact is that people are fed up with an out-of-touch political class and the growing sense that Westminster is failing us all.”

What was it about the £300-a-day allowance that changed his mind?

Bishop Bashes ‘Ugly, Squalid, Dirty Sex’

Today’s debate on pornography in the Lords takes a bizarre turn during this speech from the Bishop of Chester…

Osborne Jokes About Abolishing Lords

Sadly Osborne was probably joking about the suggestion of saving the taxpayer millions by abolishing the Lords. This does deviate from Tory party policy though:

“That is a very decent proposal for the Autumn Statement which we will give proper consideration to… My view is clear, we should have an elected House of Lords.”

Peerless banter.

House of Lords Hypocrites

“Very proud of LibDem Lords,” crowed Tim Farron after Osborne was defeated in the Lords last night, adding: “We have sent a clear signal… Tonight’s vote gives people hope”. Yet what did Farron say about the second chamber just a few months ago?

“a system which is rotten to the core and allows unelected, unaccountable people to think they are above the law… Nothing will be achieved until Parliamentarians vote in favour of abolition”

What was it about the LibDem wipeout in democratic elections that caused Farron to change his mind about the “rotten, unelected, unaccountable” second chamber?

What about John McDonnell? Last night he praised the “huge blow in the House of Lords“, claiming the vote showed “people are waking up to what Labour has been warning“. That is the same John McDonnell who voted to abolish the Lords entirely in 2003. 

“Only the Labour Lords motion could deliver the results needed,” said Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign team last night. That’s despite Corbyn vowing just two months ago to block new peers in a bid to increase pressure in favour of abolition. 

Sadiq Khan said “I welcome” the vote, despite previously insisting that the current make up of the Lords had “no role in a modern democracy”. Turns out these principled parliamentary reformers are big fans of the Lords when it helps them score a win…

Reaction: Osborne Loses Lords Tax Credits Vote

The 289 to 272 defeat in the Lords forces Osborne into a humiliating climbdown to “help in the transition” of tax credit cuts…

Tory Peer: Let Brothers and Sisters Enter Civil Partnerships

Lord Lexden, the official historian of the Conservative Party, tabled an interesting question this afternoon, asking whether the Civil Partnership Act could be amended to allow siblings to register as partners:

“Is it not the case that in Britain today, all other stable and loving couples are now able to formalise their relationships in legal terms, so vitality important where inheritance and its tax implications  are concerned. If sibling couples are to be denied civil partnerships how does the government propose to address the injustice that will arise on the death of one of them, with the survivor having to sell the family home to pay inheritance tax from which civil partners are exempt.”

Top trolling…

Burnham’s Peerless Flip-Flopping

Guido could easily have made Andy Burnham’s increasingly ridiculous flip flops a daily feature during this leadership contest. Not only does Burnham think it’s great that former Labour MP Dave Watts has been made a peer, he also reckons “the Lords is now a national embarrassment. We should scrap it”.

If you’re going to directly contradict yourself, try not to do it in the space of two tweets…

H/T @rhodri

Hain Gravy Train Hypocrisy

On 3 November 2014, not even twelve months ago, Peter Hain told his constituents he believed the second chamber should be elected:

“The Lords are an archaic anomaly which fuels disillusionment with British politics. It exists purely on a

[…]

+ READ MORE +

UKIP & Greens Cheated Out of Peers

lords-ratioWhatever you think about the selection of peers there was a terribly undemocratic partisan bias in the Lords appointments:

lords-chart

For every 435,945 votes the Tories got they appointed a Lord, it took over a million votes to justify a Labour […]

+ READ MORE +

Economist’s Peerless Fact Checking

economist lords

The Economist are excitedly promoting their shock revelation that some peers have done bad things, with a mugshots of five criminal “current members of the House of Lords“.

Just one problem.

Charles Nall-Cain, the Third Baron Brocket is […]

+ READ MORE +

Natalie Bennett Lands New Job as Junior Parliamentary Staffer

BENNET PARLIAMENT 1

Natalie Bennett finished behind Labour and the Tories in Holborn yet she has still managed to make it to parliament – by pretending to be a junior member of staff.

Bennett was spotted last week swanning down the corridors of […]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

FT leader on Labour’s “Jewish problem”:

“If Mr Corbyn had serious aspirations to leadership he would tackle this problem head-on. Instead it falls to Labour’s moderates to ask themselves how long they will tolerate this state of affairs. Edmund Burke wrote that “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”. Labour’s inaction over anti-Semitism is a stigma that must now be erased by the good people in its ranks.”

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