Guido cannot help but notice the irony of the very same Tory MPs who voted against Lords reform now complaining that peers should not be allowed to derail the EU referendum bill because they are unelected and unaccountable. Not only has the Tories destroying Lords reform resulted in the death of the boundary review, severely hindering their chances in 2015, but it also damages their chances of actually getting an EU referendum as well. Slow clap.
Whatever the reasons behind the departure, Downing Street can’t be that annoyed. “The Queen has been pleased to appoint the Rt Hon the Lord Strathclyde to the Order of the Companions of Honour.” Suggests a friendly exit…
Spectacularly badly timed:
Dear Lord ███████
Political Speed Dating Event – Thursday 22nd November
As part of Parliament Week 2012 we are holding a ‘Political Speed Dating’ event where a group of 13-16 year olds will have the rare opportunity to chat in small groups with current Parliamentarians.
The session will run at 10.30am to 11.45am in the Macmillan Room in Portcullis House, and it would be wonderful for the students if you were available to participate. We are inviting Members of both Houses from all parties and the event will involve up to 10 Members. We have extended the invitation to several members and I hope that you are able to participate.
Please contact me if I can provide any further information about the session, I hope to hear from you soon.
Education Visits Officer
Houses of Parliament
Well that was pretty poorly worded given the current climate.
Member of the House of Lords have slammed taxpayer-funded bars and restaurants in Westminster…for not being posh enough. They might be pocketing a huge £1.4 million from the taxpayer each year to fund their luxury eateries, but apparently our generosity has gone unappreciated. The Sun investigated after backing Guido’s campaign against the Commons subsidy, finding that the list of peers’ moans includes:
“Sandwiches cut into triangles, more mash for their bangers, porridge too runny, chips too salty, pork and bacon overcooked, flavourless cappuccinos”.
Did someone say Lords reform?
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…
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…
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:
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 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…