Lord Speaker Retreats to the Country, Urging Colleagues to Follow Medical Advice

The (82 year-old) Lord Speaker Norman Fowler will announce later today that he is moving out of the capital to return to his Isle of Wight home, effective immediately. Guido understands that his immediate deputy, septuagenarian Senior Deputy Speaker Lord McFall has already retreated to Scotland, so woolsack duties in the chamber will be taken on by the Lord Speaker’s third deputy, The (57 year-old) Earl of Kinnoull. Fowler will continue to decide on urgent questions and make other decisions about the running of the Lords remotely…

Lords sources are hoping this example will encourage the more obstinate and vulnerable members to stop coming in to work. Guido understands aides this week have been spending a lot of time trying to convince elderly peers to stay away. In his speech later today, Fowler will reference the HIV/AIDS crisis, emphasising the importance of following medical advice. Lords would do well to listen…

UPDATE: Perhaps the Government should have listened to the advice of the Lord Speaker before it appointed 70 year-old Gerry Grimstone as a new investment minister yesterday…

UPDATE II:Here’s the clip:

mdi-timer March 19 2020 @ 10:07 19 Mar 2020 @ 10:07 mdi-comment View Comments
PMQs Live Chat: Who’s Asking The Questions?

Today’s PMQs is set to be unlike any other, with almost-empty Tory benches as ordered by party whips, and mostly empty Labour ones. Those set to ask a question are…

  • Rob Butler (Con)
  • Brendan Clarke-Smith (Con)
  • Damian Hinds (Con)
  • Edward Timpson (Con)
  • Dr Rosena Allin-Khan (Lab)
  • Felicity Buchan (Con)
  • Stephen Hammond (Con)
  • Chris Bryant (Lab)
  • Andy Carter (Con)
  • Antony Higginbotham (Con)
  • Miss Sarah Dines (Con)
  • Florence Eshalomi (Lab)
  • Neale Hanvey (SNP)
  • Gareth Bacon (Con)
  • Dr Andrew Murrison (Con)

Comments in the comments…

mdi-timer March 18 2020 @ 11:50 18 Mar 2020 @ 11:50 mdi-comment View Comments
Why Schools Have Not Been Shut

As the number of tested Coronavirus cases in the UK rises by 407 to 1,950, and the Government admits 55,000 is a reasonable true estimate, Sir Patrick Vallance is appearing before the Health and Social Care Committee. Under questioning from Tory MP Dean Russell, the Chief Scientific Officer explained why schools have not been closed at this point.

  • Closing schools is lower down the list of interventions in terms of the effect they have.
  • It produces complicated, damaging side effects, such as children going to stay with grandparents.
  • Creates a problem for the workforce in the NHS as many parents work in the health service.
  • Countries that have been more successful in dealing with the virus, like Singapore and Taiwan, have not closed schools.

However, the measure remains on the table…

mdi-timer March 17 2020 @ 15:01 17 Mar 2020 @ 15:01 mdi-comment View Comments
MPs Whose Conditions Mean They’ll Have to Stay At Home

It’s not just septuagenarians and above who have been strongly advised to work from home, stop having friends and family to their houses, and to stop mixing in the community. The new Government advice now applied to all those with health conditions that entitle them to the NHS flu vaccine. This covers significantly more MPs than the 24 Guido highlighted yesterday

Any MPs, therefore with the following conditions should now be bracing to spend 12 weeks social distancing:

  • Chronic (long-term) respiratory diseases, such as asthma
  • Chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis
  • Chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), a learning disability or cerebral palsy
  • Diabetes
  • Problems with your spleen – for example, sickle cell disease or if you have had your spleen removed
  • A weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or medicines such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy
  • Being seriously overweight (a BMI of 40 or above)

Whilst many MPs are not open about private medical conditions, famously both Theresa May and Diane Abbott have diabetes, so does the Speaker Lindsay Hoyle; John McDonnell has a heart condition after suffering a heart attack in 2013; and Stroud MP Siobhan Baillie is currently pregnant.

As Guido revealed yesterday, the Government is expected to cancel votes and just nod through votes with a small proportional cohort of around 40 remaining MPs…

mdi-timer March 17 2020 @ 13:00 17 Mar 2020 @ 13:00 mdi-comment View Comments
Parliamentary Votes to be Cancelled This Week

It’s not just members of the public that may miss the chance to vote soon. Senior parliamentary sources tell Guido it is thought the Government has been considering agreements to avoid Parliamentary votes in the coming week, with both budget-related legislation and coronavirus measures potentially just being nodded through without the need for MPs to go into the voting lobbies. Guido also hears that hundreds of MPs have chosen to stay in their constituencies today, avoiding Parliament…

Tory MPs’ 1922 drinks reception tonight night has been cancelled, while one MP tells Guido that “diaries are draining” of events, with scheduled meetings turning into phone conversations and others kicked into the long grass. Friday’s Parliamentary restrictions banned most visitors to the estate, however allowed the public in to watch debates. It’s now expected that too will end shortly…

mdi-timer March 16 2020 @ 13:41 16 Mar 2020 @ 13:41 mdi-comment View Comments
Mark Francois Gets More Ripped

Spartan Mark Francois has turned his anger to another topic this afternoon, ripping up a printed out two-paragraph email during a Commons debate he had received from a curt property developer in his constituency. His public display of distaste was reserved for one developer who wrote a discourteous email – another firm escaped ripping treatment by being more polite…

This marks the second time Francois has resorted to letter tearing. Last year in response to the CEO of Airbus intervening in the Brexit debate via a letter, the ERG stalwart tore it up live on the BBC.

Is any letter safe from the tumultuous tearing Tory?

mdi-timer March 13 2020 @ 17:12 13 Mar 2020 @ 17:12 mdi-comment View Comments
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