TalkTV Too “Rubbish” to Air in Parliament

With Russia Today taken off-air in the UK, a slot has opened up for a new channel to take its place on Parliament’s internal TV system. Putting aside the eyebrow-raising decision to allow Russian state media to be broadcast in the corridors of Westminster, Guido hears authorities have now held discussions over what should replace it. One leading candidate was, of course, TalkTV. Given GB News is also available on the annunciators, it seemed inevitable that TalkTV would join the mix…

After some deliberation, however, TalkTV was deemed so “rubbish” that it wasn’t worthy of a slot. BBC Four, a channel which only airs between 7pm and 4am, will take RT’s place instead. For the rest of the day, MPs and staffers who bother to tune in will be greeted with this screen:

This is apparently deemed preferable to watching a live broadcast of TalkTVA real shame – all 650 MPs tuning in to Tom Newton Dunn’s show would have boosted his viewership by about 15%…

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Commons and Lords at War Over Terrace Access Rights

Not content with blocking parliamentary staffers’ access rights to Strangers’ bar, Guido hears a fierce turf war has kicked off between MPs and Lords over terrace access rights. Speaking to a noble friend last night, it emerged they had recently been told they didn’t have permission to be served in Strangers’, leading to awkwardness in front of the guest for whom they’d tried buying drinks. By coincidence, a co-conspirator got in touch at the same time claiming that earlier this week, Speaker Lindsay Hoyle was asked to leave the Lords’ terrace because he didn’t have access privileges…

It was apparently in retaliation to this that Hoyle issued the reciprocal edict for Lords attempting to enjoy the Commons half of the terrace. The battle spilt out into the open when Commons doorkeepers assumed their new role as terrace bouncers, blocking peers from entry. Peace talks are said to be scheduled today…

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Warburton Formally Under Investigation

Commons Standards Commissioner Kathryn Stone’s workload has just got a lot bigger, as she announces a formal investigation into David Warburton. The announcement on the parliamentary website spells out the probe will look into the allegations revealed by the Sunday Timesclaiming he took a £100,000 loan from a Russian businessman without declaring it. A claim Gabriel Pogrund correctly predicted could lead to an investigation by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards…

“Warburton knew about Joukovski’s past problems with the [Financial Conduct Authority], but took the loan via an offshore entity linked to the businessman’s family trust. He later brought the Russian-born British citizen into the Palace of Westminster and used his parliamentary email address to organise meetings for Joukovski, including one with Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Brexit opportunities secretary, who was a backbencher at the time in 2017. According to a source with direct knowledge of the transaction, Warburton has since repaid the money at high levels of interest.”

The Commissioner’s announcement specifies the investigation will look into “Paid advocacy, Declaration of an interest, and Registration of an interest under Category 3 of the Guide to the Rules [Gifts, benefits and hospitality from UK sources]”.

He joins Sir Keir, David Lammy, Andrew Bridgen and Chris Philp on Stone’s to-do list… 

Hat-tip: James Heale

mdi-timer 22 June 2022 @ 12:48 22 Jun 2022 @ 12:48 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Boris Slams Labour for “Holding Hands with Arthur Scargill” on Picket Lines

An inevitably rowdy PMQs session today under the shadow of rail strikes and inflation. Sir Keir noticeably lacking any awkward references to Star Wars or Love Island – for the better – and Boris hammering away at the Labour frontbenchers showing up at the picket lines yesterday:

“[We’re] cutting the costs of transport for working people, mr speaker, by delivering reforms, while they’re out on the picket lines literally holding hands with Arthur Scargill. It’s worse than under Jeremy Corbyn. This is a government that is taking this country forward, they would take it back to the 1970s.”

Sets the stage for tomorrow’s by-elections…

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PMQ’s: Who’s Asking the Questions
  1. Chris Elmore (Lab)
  2. Julie Marson (Con)
  3. Stephen Farry (Alliance)
  4. Andrew Jones (Con)
  5. John Lamont (Con)
  6. Andy Carter (Con)
  7. Alexander Stafford (Con)
  8. Kate Osborne (Lab)
  9. Colleen Fletcher (Lab)
  10. Chris Green (Con)
  11. Sir Bill Wiggin (Con)
  12. Sir Desmond Swayne (Con)
  13. Dr Ben Spencer (Con)
mdi-timer 22 June 2022 @ 11:50 22 Jun 2022 @ 11:50 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Strike-Affected MPs Will Be Able to Claim Taxis on Expenses

The strikes are on, causing misery for millions of ordinary people, though thankfully the taxpayer’s pockets are once again being dipped into on behalf of MPs. Yesterday a letter went out from IPSA, the expenses body, noting “some concern” amongst MPs about the impact of the planned rail strikes, though reassuring them they have nothing to be scared of:

“where commuting to an office location is unavoidable, and you incur significant costs as a result (e.g. for a long taxi journey), you may consider applying for contingency funding.”

It’s also good news for MPs’ staffers, who have only just lost their work-from-home expenses left over from the pandemic. The same letter promises that, where “a staff member is required to travel to their normal place of work but is unable to return home, or it would be unreasonable to return home and then attempt to travel in the following day, we will consider requests for hotel costs”. We’re all in this together…

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