Co-conspirators’ favourite no-nonsense Tory MP Lee Anderson had another barnstorming outing in the Commons yesterday, professing that he has torn up his TV Licence following the Martin Bashir scandal, and the corporation “won’t get another penny” out of him “ever“. The Ashfield MP told fellow MPs the BBC is “rotten”:
“In my opinion, the once-great BBC is rotten, and my constituents should not have to pay for a service if they don’t use it.”
He ended his intervention with a call to the minister to transform the BBC into a subscription service. Whittingdale didn’t fully avoid the point, saying “I have no doubt that that is a debate that has already started and will continue.” Guido will make sure of it…
Angela Rayner’s debut in the Commons today after being appointed Labour’s shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster saw a disastrous performance by the deputy leader. Not only did her question result in two breaches of Commons rules – and an admonishing by the Speaker – Penny Mordaunt tore her claims of cronyism to shreds. In a four-minute-long response, Mordaunt addressed each of Rayner’s allegations, concluding with a damning fact:
“If you were to take every single MP she’s made an allegation about this afternoon, and you were to look at all the political donations they have recieved since the pandemic started (since January 2020), if you were to add them all up; if you were to double them – no, Mr Speaker, if you were to quadruple them – you would still just about match what the hon. Lady herself has received in the same time period.”
Warning Rayner, “she should thank her lucky stars that we don’t play the same games that she does”.
Rayner was also interrupted during her question by Lindsay Hoyle, who had to point out that her question about the PM’s Mustique holiday is under investigation by the House’s standards Commissioner and therefore inappropriate to ask about. After she sat down there came a second telling off over her attack of Lord Udny-Lister – breaking the rule about mentioning Lords in the Commons.
Is it too late for Starmer to attempt a second sacking?
Guido enjoys a bit of political theatre as much as anyone, so Dominic Cummings’s menacing tweet adds to the sense of drama about his forthcoming Committee appearance:
He’s now deleted the tweeted poll, saying he “botched” the options, and will “obviously” give it to the committee:
Did 1st twitter poll, botched options like idiot so scrapped... My point was *as well as* giving to cmte I cd also raise £ for a charity - not instead of - but I botched it... *Obviously* I'll give to cmte Wed...— Dominic Cummings (@Dominic2306) May 18, 2021
Perhaps he realised in a rare moment of self awareness that it made him look, well, a bit psychotic.
Last Thursday Guido revealed that previously-dovish speaker Lindsay Hoyle had performed a vaccine-inspired u-turn, calling for an early re-opening of additional parliamentary social venues, and a reduction in social distancing in the Commons chamber.
“As we approach the implementation of Step 3 of the Government Roadmap and the continued success of the UK’s vaccination programme and low infection rates, I will encourage the House of Commons Commission on Monday 17 May to implement all changes possible under the current Government guidance.
It was to be discussed during today’s meeting of the Commons Commission.
Guido understands the Commission has met and now agreed to all the proposed changes, with venues such as the Commons terrace set to re-open soon. More MPs will be able to fit into the Commons, as social distancing reduces from 2m to 1m+. Should make PMQs a bit more lively…