Best of Six Years of the Sunday Politics

That’s all folks…

Chequers Plan Not Acceptable to Most Conservatives

Nadine says openly what most Tories think privately…

Long-Bailey: Labour Have Lost the Faith of Jewish Community

Raab: Vote Leave Critics Just Trying to Block Brexit

Raab obviously right that the allegations against Vote Leave obviously did not change the referendum result, and that the Remain campaign did far worse…

Raab: We Will Be Ready For WTO Brexit

If Raab can achieve one thing at Dexeu, let’s hope it’s convincing Number 10 to properly prepare for a WTO Brexit…

Saturday 7-Up

This week 253,946 visitors visited 898,151 times viewing 1,432,224 pages. The top stories in order of popularity were:

You’re either in front of Guido, or behind…

Where’s the Qatari Emir’s Demo?

The Hamas-loving, Iran-backing, gay-persecuting Emir of Qatar is coming over for meetings with MPs on Monday. Guido knows how all the woke readers of the Guardian like a demo against these kind of leaders. If that isn’t enough to motivate the usual suspects, here is a picture of the Emir smiling and shaking hands with Donald Trump! Owen Jones is no doubt organising a protest blimp as we write…

Strangely there is not much in the way of publicity for this visit so Guido can help out with the itinerary. The Emir is getting the red carpet treatment at Mansion House in the City at 11.30am on Monday where he will meet business leaders at an event. Later in the afternoon at 4pm he is meeting with MPs in parliament, no doubt the Speaker will be making a gesture of a token snub. Tueday is pencilled in for various meetings with ministers. Guido will be virtue signalling towards your demo, in spirit at least…

Tory Mayoral Candidate Embroiled in Ongoing Probe By UK Audit Watchdog

After much speculation about a mystery big name female business figure being lined up as a Tory London mayoral candidate, it was announced this week that Ruby McGregor-Smith is running. A big name in the literal sense. So who is she?

McGregor-Smith is a self-styled successful businesswoman who was the boss of cleaning company Mitie until October 2016. She quit the company after a profit warning and as the company restated its accounts following an ‘accounting issue’. At the time she faced calls to have £2 million in bonuses taken away from her. When she said she was stepping down to spend more time with her family, the Evening Standard’s city editor Jim Armitage commented: “Believe that, and you’ll believe anything”, reporting the company had “lost its way” during her tenure and concluding: “I doubt the board begged McGregor-Smith to stay”.

In November 2017, the FT reported that individuals responsible for preparing and approving the Mitie accounts were under investigation by the Financial Reporting Council, the UK’s audit watchdog. McGregor-Smith did not respond to requests for comment from the FT. Mitie admitted it had been aggressive in its accounting practices. A spokesman for the Financial Reporting Council says the investigation is ongoing…

Friday Caption Contest (Leather Kendall Edition)

Ireland Expects RAF Help in Event of Terrorist Hijack

The sabre-rattling by Irish PM Leo Varadkar that in the event of a no deal Brexit Ireland might block off UK access to Irish airspace is pathetic. Treaties dating back to the beginning of the International Air Services Transit Agreement signed as part of the Chicago Convention in 1944 guarantee the freedom of the skies. This is signed by 133 countries, including the UK and all EU member states. Ireland has been a signatory since 1957.

There is another agreement permitting British aircraft to fly over Ireland which the Irish government chooses not to publicise. The Irish Department of Defence and Department of Foreign Affairs with the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) have entered into a bilateral agreement with their British counterparts: the RAF, the Civil Aviation Authority, the Ministry of Defence, and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office that in the event of a terrorist hijacking, RAF jets would be scrambled to defend Ireland. Neutral Ireland has no supersonic military aircraft capability.

Presumably this bilateral  agreement permitting the RAF to conduct armed operations in Irish-controlled airspace in the event of a real-time or envisaged threat of a terrorist-related attack over the skies of Ireland, will not be torn up after Brexit. The Irish are Britain’s kith and kin, it is inconceivable that Brexit Britain would not come to their aid in the event of an Aer Lingus transatlantic flight being hijacked mid-Atlantic. Varadkar is bluffing for domestic consumption.

May Insists Pairing Scandal “An Honest Mistake”

Not sure fibbing that you didn’t tell MPs to break their pairs, and then admitting you did when caught red-handed, can be described as either “honest” or a “mistake”. Ministers and Tory MPs requiring pairs in future will have grave fears about how things are going to play out under the current chief whip…

UPDATE: Tom Watson:

“It is unbelievable that the Prime Minister has repeated the desperate and blatantly untrue excuses made by her Party Chair and Chief Whip. This is a serious issue that goes beyond efficient administration in the House of Commons. This is about public trust in politics. At such a crucial time for our country, people expect candour and decency, not cowardice and dishonesty.”

First “No Deal Ready” Legislation Becomes Law

Yesterday the first “no deal ready” legislation quietly got Royal Assent for a little thing called the Haulage Permits and Trailer Registration Act. Whilst sounding very boring, this is very significant as it is the first “no deal ready” bill to become an Act. The Department for Transport is pleased that for once they have arrived ahead of schedule with this Act in place to provide for all kinds of eventualities (in this case relating to cross-border road haulage) in a no deal situation. The word around Whitehall is that Downing Street were not keen to boast about “no deal ready” legislation. This is going to change according to friends of Dominic Raab…

The Act itself is technically the legislative equivalent of “Noel Edmonds” – it provides for a deal and no deal. In a nutshell one key thing it does: at the moment the UK doesn’t require HGV drivers to have permits to drive here. Thus there is no framework in law to issue / enforce permits. If there is a deal the UK will have permits and control the numbers of lorries with the powers to do that. If there is no deal the Act also provides for the powers to do UK permits. Solving transportation regulatory issues is a priority for a clean Brexit. So it begins…

Peak Media Boris B*llocks

The lefty / Remain papers do write some nonsense about their bogeyman Boris, but today’s Mirror splash has to be most tenuous BoJo attack story ever. They are having a pop at the former Foreign Secretary for not having yet moved out of his Carlton Gardens residence. The Mirror copy says their story “is bound to infuriate ­homeless charities” and hint that Jeremy Hunt is unhappy Boris is still there. Labour say it is “shocking” and “extraordinary”, “taxpayer-funded squatting” and “it’s high time the Government take back control of this property”.

Back in the real world, it has been just 10 days since Boris resigned, it is completely standard practice for an outgoing Foreign Secretary to take a few weeks to leave their official residence, he has permission from the government and Jeremy Hunt to stay there until the end of the month, and Boris is paying all his bills so there is no cost to the taxpayer. So all of the key points of the Mirror and Labour attacks completely fall apart. A front page so “shocking” and “extraordinary” that no one has yet followed it up…

Vaz Investigation Vanishes As Anonymity For MPs Comes In

This was what the “current inquiries” section of the parliamentary standards commissioner’s website looked like this morning, with Keith Vaz and Robert Courts listed as under investigation:

After the new rules giving anonymity to MPs under investigation came in this afternoon, the “current inquiries” section of the website vanished. Vaz and Courts’ names are gone. If they had been placed under investigation now, their constituents would never know. Well, until Guido finds out…

Bookies Reckon Chief-Whip Will Survive

William Hill reckon Julian Smith is more likely to survive than be gone by Monday. Worth a flutter…

Caught on Camera: Brandon Speaks With Pairing Whip Ahead of Crunch Vote

This clip shows Brandon Lewis having a conversation with pairing whip Andrew Stephenson before he voted on Tuesday. They’re going to need to tell us what was said…

Brandon Knew He Was Paired But Voted Anyway

The government’s “honest mistake” line has collapsed further as Guido can reveal Brandon Lewis knew he was paired ahead of the crunch customs votes – but voted anyway. A Tory source has confirmed that he was aware he was paired on Tuesday night. They say he was then told by a whip that he would be required to vote in the two crunch votes, so he did. He categorically denies he was aware that he was paired with the pregnant Jo Swinson. A Tory source insists Brandon acted in good faith…

We know that Julian Smith was explicitly telling paired MPs to break their pairs. We know Brandon knew he was paired, that despite this he received an instruction to vote, and he then voted. Either Brandon has been royally stitched up and misled by Smith, or he knew he was breaking his pair…

Tory MP Accuses Chief Whip and Government of Lying

This is the government line via Laura K:

“Tory sources say chief whip considered but did not go through with telling any MPs on short term pairs to vote even though they weren’t meant to”

But one of those paired Tory MPs tells The Sun:

“Julian told me I was needed and told me to come in and vote. Of course he knew I was paired. I didn’t vote and honoured my pair, and he demanded to know why not afterwards.”

Either that Tory MP or Julian Smith and the government are lying…

Olly Robbins Lands £20,000 Bonus

Was it £5,000 for each red line broken?

H/T Harry Cole

Julian Smith Ordered Tory MPs to Break Pairs

This is looking grim for Julian Smith and Brandon Lewis. Both the Sun and the Mail report that he ordered paired Tory MPs to break their pairs and vote anyway. The Sun quotes a paired Tory MP:

“Julian told me I was needed and told me to come in and vote.

[…] Read the rest

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Quote of the Day

Jeremy Corbyn told by veteran Jewish MP Margaret Hodge…

“You’re a f***ing anti-aemite and a racist”

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