Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Scrounging Lords Take Break Until October

Fresh from having the debate on their survival kicked into the long grass, the 765 peers sitting in the House of Lords will celebrate by taking a 10-week summer holiday this evening.

The House rises until October 8th, meaning that its members will have to wait to enjoy the £175,000 of taxpayers’ money they have just spent on revamping the decor in their parliamentary offices. Our dosh has been spent on dozens of new pieces of art and statues, including a bust of Prince Philip and a painting of the Jubilee procession. Come back Nick, all is forgiven…

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Eight Tories Who Chickened Out on Lords Reform

There is one interesting side note from the Tory Lords rebellion that has yet to receive much attention in the bubble. Of the 70 Tory MPs who signed the letter opposing the government’s Lords reform proposals, eight went on to have cold feet by merely abstaining when it came to the crunch. The Conservative chickens are: James Arbuthnot, Paul Beresford, Robert Buckland, Aidan Burley, Oliver Heald, Pauline Latham, Neil Parish and Priti Patel. Perhaps those soon-to-be-vacant PPS posts provided too much of a temptation…

UPDATE: The other side of the coin apparently being that once the programme motion vote was cancelled there was no point in sticking about. Guido is sceptical…

Monday, July 9, 2012

Conor Burns Ready to Resign as PPS Over Lords Reform
Burns’ Letter to Chief Whip In Full

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:

Patrick,

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

Via @SophyRidge

Where Are the Whips?

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:

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…

Exclusive: That Letter Signed by MPs Opposing Lords Reform
Named Signatories Includes Not Usual Suspects

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Read: Clegg’s Lords Reform Bill

What is the point of reforming the House of Lords and making it elected if the Bishops will remain?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Up Yours King

Love this truculence from Baroness Trumpington…

Monday, November 14, 2011

Up Yours M’Lord

Baroness Trumpington, the 89-year-old Tory peer didn’t take too kindly to having her age mentioned by Lord King of Bridgewater:

A great spot by Total Politics

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

One Good Reason For Lords Reform

Not normally one for Hansard trawling, Guido had to chuckle at Conor Burns’ argument for reforming the House of Lords. Closely allied to Maggie, he is almost her unofficial PPS, Conor saw a good opportunity to shaft an old foe:

Thomas Docherty (Dunfermline and West Fife, Labour)
Perhaps the hon. Gentleman is not aware that his noble Friend Lord Heseltine has not even made his maiden speech in the House of Lords. “Part-time” would not be a good adjective to describe him. Can the hon. Gentleman think of one?

Conor Burns (Bournemouth West, Conservative)
I can think of many, and it is not often that I am accused of being on the same side as Lord Heseltine. I remember telling Lady Thatcher a couple of years ago that he had not made his maiden speech, having been in the Lords for nine years at the time. Her reply was, “Well, look on the bright side, at least we haven’t had to listen to it.” Lord Heseltine is a very good example of my point—he says that he took his membership of the other place because he wanted the honour, but he did not want to participate. He has participated in fewer than 20 Divisions in the 10 years that he has been a Member of the other place. That was why I found it absolutely disgraceful that he came in the other night to vote against the referendum lock in the European Union Bill, which is going through the other place. Such examples show that the other place needs some reform.

A compelling case…

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Turkeys Make Pre-Christmas Clucking Sound

Is anyone actually surprised by the fact that 81% of peers are opposed to reforming the House of Lords? Ironically that’s the figure that will end up being elected if the Coalition Agreement is implemented.  The Times thundered this morning that Clegg’s plans were facing a revolt. What did they think was going to happen?

With only four hundred peers actually doing any work, or even turning up, regardless of whether you think they should be elected or not, it’s time for a cull. In other news, public sector workers don’t like spending cuts…


Seen Elsewhere

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Tories Attack Labour on Tax | Mark Wallace
UKIP No Flash In Pan | Matthew Goodwin
12 Signs It’s Time to Get Out of Gaza | Slate
Mars Lawyers Slam Plain Packaging | CityAM
HealthCare.gov Construction Cost $840 Million | Wall Street Journal
Why Do Feminists Oppose Stay-at-Home Mothers? | Laura Perrins
Chris Cook’s “Excellent Journalism” | Iain Dale
The Deficit Hasn’t Gone Away | Tim Montgomerie
Doctors Against Burnham | Mail
Privatisation is Good for the NHS | John McTernan


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Knifed former civil service chief Bob Kerslake on his recent troubles:

“Many thks for kind wishes following back opn. Incision measured 16cm. A pretty big knife in the back! Photos on request.”



TJ says:

And i’ve noticed that 100% of Guido Fawkes staff are men. Looks like Guido has a woman problem. Or is it an hypocrisy problem?


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