Parliament Announces Winding Down of Omicron Restrictions

The Commons commission has finally agreed a timetable for returning the parliamentary estate to normal, following new restrictions introduced in the wake of Omicron. The plan sets out:

  • That the public gallery, which was closed even pre-Omicron, will open for members of the public “as soon as practically possible”
  • Tours, including education visits, will resume by February 1
  • All catering venues will re-open Monday 31 January
  • Banqueting will restart in full after the February recess, though a “limited number” of events may go ahead before this date.

Guido presumes – and hopes – that Strangers bar will also re-open in line with these announcements…

Parliament won’t fully return to its pre-Covid ways, though. Public access to observe committees or participate in APPGs will not return, and is just to be “kept under constant review and will be amended as soon as possible”. Face covering and testing will also be “encouraged” and the former will be required for non-pass holders. Don’t get too settled, though – these changes will be reviewed weekly…

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Good to See Nadine’s Buried the Hatchet…

An hilarious tweet from Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries this afternoon as she decided to turn David Cameron into a meme. A Mail snap of Mr and Mrs Cameron started going the rounds on Twitter this morning owing to the former PM’s new look. One user joked he looked like he “knows a guy who can fix up your car for £20 and a packet of cigs”. Another that he “looks like every guy stood outside a stadium trying to buy or sell tickets.” Or just like most middle-aged Dads…

Nadine clearly enjoyed this so much she’s now made Cameron the face of her department’s unsound push to crack down on ticket touts:

Finally, sweet revenge from the man who stripped her of the whip in 2012…

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Anti-Fraud Minister Lord Agnew Resigns at Despatch Box

Lord Theo Agnew, Minister for Efficiency and Transformation in the Treasury and Cabinet Office, has dramatically resigned at the Lords’ despatch box today over the government’s “lamentable track record” in combatting fraud in the covid business support loan scheme. Scooped by Seb Payne who was presumably the only hack tuned into what should have been a rather boring Parliamentary session…

Speaking today, Agnew directly attacked BEIS and the British Business Bank:

“The oversight by both BEIS and the British Business Bank of the panel lenders of BBLS has been nothing less than woeful […] They have been ably assisted by the Treasury who appear to have no knowledge or interest in the consequences of fraud to our economy or society.”

He added his resignation was “in no way linked” to the other scandals engulfing Westminster. Always a good look for a government when Ministers have to clarify over which scandal they’re resigning…

Watch the full statement below:

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German Authorities Show How to Deal with Road-Blocking Climate Activists

German police demonstrated a no-nonsense approach to dealing with climate road-blockers this morning – the kind that’s sorely lacking here in the UK. Dozens of protestors from “Aufstand der letzten generation” – which translates to “Last Generation Uprising”, a branch of Extinction Rebellion Deutschland – blocked motorway exits in Berlin and demanded a new anti-food waste law, including the implementation of measures for a sustainable agricultural turnaround by 2030″. Police quickly hauled them all off the road to inevitable accusations of police violence (“Polizeigewalt”). If only Germany were as willing to stand up to Putin with the same verve they do with eco-loons…

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Boris Declines to Re-Affirm National Insurance Rise

Alongside this pool clip moment, at Lobby today the PM’s spokesperson similarly indicated a change in policy could be coming, saying the government “want to consider all options” regarding the rise. Hmm…

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Vaccines Minister Needs Comms Help

Maggie Throup is finally on the lookout for a much-needed Communications Officer. Having spent most of the last 4 months virtually invisible – other than a botched showing on Question Time – the Vaccines Minister is now looking to up her game by hiring someone who’s actually happy to “undertake media and press activities”, and “manage social media channels”. A role which would’ve been useful during the peak of the booster campaign in December, when Throup herself vanished from the airwaves…

To be fair to Throup, she’s been more active on Twitter in the last few weeks, although the new hire will still have their work cut out: Throup’s own website lists her as a Government Whip rather than Vaccine chief, and her Instagram bio still reads “Prospective Member of Parliament for Erewash“. Applications close on 6th February…

mdi-timer 24 January 2022 @ 11:42 24 Jan 2022 @ 11:42 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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