Sometimes Labour MPs make it very obvious why their party hasn’t had the political nous to win a general election in 17 years. Yesterday afternoon Labour York MP Rachael Maskell stood up to ask a point of order, after Grant Shapps had spent an hour having fun pointing out all the Labour MPs who stood up to ask questions in defence of the strikes, without declaring their interests after pocketing thousands from the RMT Union. Following the question session Maskell stood up to complain to the deputy speaker that this was very unfair:
“You will know, Madam Deputy Speaker, that many members of the Labour party have a relationship with the trade unions that we are incredibly proud of, including with the RMT. The advice that I received from the Standards Commissioner ahead of that debate, and therefore ahead of today, stated under the requirements for declaration:
“Members are required, subject to the paragraphs below, to declare any financial interests which satisfy the test of relevance, including:
a) past financial interests (normally limited to those active within the last twelve months)”.
It is my recollection that the general election was two and a half years ago, so can you advise, Madam Deputy Speaker, on whether a declaration in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests should keep being raised two and a half years after it has been made?”
To paraphrase Eleanor Laing’s no-nonsense response, she told MPs to present the whole truth when representing their union paymasters, not just try and get away without a declaration because of a small technicality in the members’ rule book. A cracking misjudged intervention from Maskell all round…