WATCH: Lansley Burns Bercow

From his little throne, Bercow loves to tick off the government for leaking announcements online or in the press before they are announced in the House. Just two weeks ago he said:

“If something has been announced to the House about its future business, I would consider it courteous for the House to be informed formally of any change before the wider world is. A written statement would usually suffice, if there were not sufficient occasion or urgency to justify a supplementary business statement. I hope you will have heard the statement from the chair, to put it very candidly and bluntly these announcements should be made to the House not by the mechanism of Twitter. I think it’s pretty clear.”

So imagine Andrew Lansley’s delight when he got to make this Point of Order:

Delicious.

Fabricant Promises to Wear Fake Hairpiece at PMQs

Michael Fabricant will be be wearing a fake moustache at PMQs today to raise awareness for prostate cancer.

He’ll be hoping to catch the Speaker’s eye for a Fab first – wearing fake hair.

You can donate to his cause here.

Boris 2.0

Could we see another posh blond bombshell replace Boris Johnson? As Guido revealed in yesterday’s Sun column, TV adventurer Ben Fogle says he wants to swap Countryfile for the city as Mayor of London. And with Seb Coe, Alan Sugar, Eddie Izzard et al it’s not as if there aren’t enough celebs considering their options.

“I have my own aspirations in politics. I’ve only just realised rather naively today that Eddie Izzard is going for London Mayor. If I ever went into politics, which my wife thinks is a ludicrous idea, London Mayor strikes me as the most likely I think I might have a go at. I think it is more achievable than other areas.”

The Navy officer, turned gentleman traveller, turned hero of Animal Clinic does not exactly endear himself to his party leader:

“There are lots of Tory policies I like but I don’t entirely like where the Tories are right now. I’m not the biggest fan of David Cameron. I believe you should be what you are, not pretending to be someone you are not.”

A bit like Boris…

Osborne: “Attempts to Fix Prices Crush Endeavour”
Cameron Calls Market Intervention “a Communist Plot”

This morning George Osborne announced that the Tories are in favour of directly intervening in the lending market, telling the Today programme:

“People who believe in the free market like myself want that free market to be properly regulated… We need to make sure we fix all parts of the banking and financial system, and payday lending is part of it…We are stepping in where government needs to step in to create the rules of the market.”

The Chancellor explicitly stated: “I don’t accept it’s a departure from any philosophy – we want markets that work for people.”  Which is a change of tune from last month, when Professor Osborne gave Ed Miliband an economics lecture at Tory conference:

“For him the global free market equates to a race to the bottom with the gains being shared among a smaller and smaller group of people. That is essentially the argument Karl Marx made in Das Kapital. It is what socialists have always believed. But the irony is this: It is socialism that always brings it about. And it is the historic work of this Party to put that right. Because attempts to fix prices and confiscate wealth crush endeavour and blunt aspiration.”

That’s right, according to Osborne: “attempts to fix prices… crush endeavour and blunt aspiration”.

Dave also had strong words for anyone wanting to intervene in markets, claiming at PMQs that he “will leave the Communist plot” to Miliband:

“Is freezing energy prices a good idea or a Communist plot? I know you want to live in some sort of Marxist universe where you can control these things but you need a basic lesson in economics.”

There is zero intellectual coherency between this lending cap policy and the Tory reaction to Ed’s pie in the sky price freeze.

We are all communists now.

MPs Who Voted For Afriyie Amendment in Full

Adam Afriyie
Andrew Bridgen
Douglas Carswell
Philip Davies
Nadine Dorries
Adam Holloway
Stewart Jackson
Chris Kelly
Julian Lewis
Stephen McPartland
Mark Reckless
Laurence Robertson
Andrew Rosindell
Martin Vickers

Tellers: Peter Bone and Philip Hollobone

Labour: Mike Gapes

Via @labourwhips

Fellow MPs Clear One of Their Ye-own

The impotent Committee on Standards have decreed that Tim Yeo should be allowed to return as Chairman of the Energy Select Committee despite suggesting that “some of the comments he made could damage the reputation of the House”. He even used the “it was a joke” excuse at one point. The Committee’s report found:

“There are two aspects of his behaviour, which are linked and which might be thought to damage the reputation of the House. The first of these is his comment that he told the director what to say in his evidence and linked to this is his comment that “What I do in private is another matter”. Taken together and at face value they could give the impression of a senior member of the House who has little regard for the rules and can easily find his way round them in order to suit his own purposes.”

Despite that, MPs on this particular complaint have circled the wagons for one of their own and instead attacked journalists for doing their job. This was a niche inquiry into just one accusation, and Yeo’s colleagues have chosen to turn a blind eye to the rest of his money grabbing ways.

Guido was particularly disturbed by this line of the report:

“receipt by a Member of a salary from public funds has not hitherto been a ground per se for imposing restrictions on the outside interests. We see no reason why a different principle should apply to payments to select committee chairmen.”

How they cannot see why a elect committee chairman having outside commitments directly related to his brief is a serious conflict of interest?

Yeo was not probed on stench around his relationship with Eco City Vehicles and their wheeler deal to conveniently introduce an age limit for London’s taxis. Not the job where Yeo was paid £440-an-hour that he mysteriously quit on the quiet when No. 10 started asking awkward questions. Nor when he used his position to lobby the government for more flights to China, the very same day that his company TMO Renewables signed a multi-million pound deal in – you guessed it – China. No investigation into his conflict of interest around AFC Energy either and he never really explained why he was using Parliamentary facilities to host potential clients. No, the MPs decided to ignore all this. 

Meanwhile Yeo is fighting for his career locally as his association seem fed up with his pomposity and his refusal to spend any time anywhere near the seat. To fight off such “absolutely outrageous allegations”, Yeo spent last week sucking up to the corrupt Azerbaijani dictatorship in Baku at an oil industry conference.

Nick Boles: Liberals! Conservatives! Unite for Freedom

Well this is a bit different from Nick Boles, the minister who once called for a Tory-LibDem pact. He now says he was wrong to do so, but wants a National Liberal Party instead, in a speech to the Cameroon Bright Blue group he said:

“My question is this.  Is it impossible for us to contemplate reviving the National Liberal Party, or something like it, as a an affiliate of the Conservative Party, which only puts up candidates for election jointly with the Conservative Party?  Existing MPs, councillors, candidates and party members of liberal views would be encouraged to join. And we could use it to recruit new supporters who might initially balk at the idea of calling themselves Conservative.  In three-way marginals and the key target seats that we have to take off the Liberal Democrats, an explicit National Liberal pitch might make the difference between victory and defeat.”

It’s happened before

The Un-Free, Anti-Enterprise Group

The “Free Enterprise Group” is made up Tory MPs who are usually relatively sensible and allegedly right-wing, so Guido cannot understand why they keep coming up with such bonkers ideas. First they wanted to tax the old even more, now they want to put VAT on food and kids’ clothes. The idea is that the 20% rate is lowered to 15% but exemptions are abolished, so it would apply to all purchases. The Mirror has rightly given them a deserved two page kicking, calculating that: “A weekly grocery bill of £54.80 would go up by £8.22, an outing for £251.10 worth of under 14s clothes would jump £37.66 and a fuel bill of £1,267 would rise £127.” 

Guido cannot help but wonder what kind of supposed free enterprise group wants to extend the reach of VAT, introducing a blanket tax on every transaction. Cutting the rate is all well and good, but how can these self-proclaimed right-wingers possibly sell to voters the idea that their grocery bills, energy and kids’ clothes costs should all go up? As group member crazy Kwasi Kwarteng admits: “This is controversial.”

A Very Elegant, Soft Hand in the Till

As another round of expense receipts are published a special prize goes to Tory MP Penny Mordaunt, who claimed £4.37 for some Dove hand cream. Taxpayer-funded moisturising is creative even by their standards…[…]

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It’s a No From Michael

Your weekend starts here! Gove v Cowell has kicked off this afternoon after the latter advised the nation’s youth that “the secret is to be useless at school and then get lucky”. Not a sentiment that has gone down […]

+ READ MORE +

Peter Cruddas Still in the Game

Former Tory money man Peter Cruddas is still splashing his cash for the party, despite not getting his job back after being cleared over cash-for-access allegations. Cruddas has just given EU referendum MP James Wharton a cool £5,000 for his […]

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Re-Renting Name and Shame: The 131 Tory Re-Renters

David Amess: Southend West Conservative Association
Richard Bacon: South Norfolk Conservative Association
Steve Baker: Wycombe Conservative Association
Greg Barker: Bexhill & Battle Conservatives Association
Henry Bellingham: North West Norfolk Conservative Association
Richard Benyon: West Berkshire Conservative Association
Jake Berry: Rossendale […]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Mary Creagh’s coded attack on Ed Miliband…

‘I want the country to be united behind a single vision, we aren’t going to do it by sort of having a Rubik’s Cube approach to politics’. 

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