Keith Vaz has reported Tory MP Andrew Bridgen to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards – again. Bridgen first complained to the Commissioner about Vaz’s conduct in September 2016 after the Labour grandee was the subject of an infamous newspaper expose. The Commissioner opened an inquiry which was suspended for months due to ‘health reasons’. Almost two years after the coke and rent boys shenanigans, Vaz is in the House the Commissioner’s probe is back on…
At the time Vaz retaliated, complaining about Bridgen to the same watchdog, arguing that any investigation into his conduct was outside the Commissioner’s scope.The Commissioner rejected Vaz’s complaint…
Now Vaz has complained yet again, this time on the grounds that Bridgen has commented on Vaz’s case to the media. Bridgen tells Guido:
“Mr Vaz is clearly somewhat rattled.”
How long will it take the Commissioner to dismiss this one…
Nicky Morgan has protested to the chief whip and her association chairman has lodged an official complaint with the Tory party after her colleague Andrew Bridgen sent a statement of support to a pro-Brexit rally in her constituency. On March 10 the cross-party ‘Brexit Means Exit’ tour was in Leave-voting Loughborough, hosting speakers from all the major parties. Brexiter Bridgen had agreed to attend and notified Morgan’s office, only for NiMo to email the chief whip and for Julian Smith to then ask him not to go. Bridgen accepted and instead sent the rally organisers an innocuous statement about how “the people of our country voted to leave the European Union and to take back control of our Laws, our borders and our money”. Which is, after all, government policy…
That didn’t satisfy Team NiMo – Guido hears her association chairman responded by lodging an official complaint with the Tory party. Seems a bold move given Bridgen was in Loughborough actively campaigning for Morgan a few weeks earlier, Brexit is the policy of the government and NiMo voted with Labour when Remain rebels defeated the government in December. Who should be the one getting a telling off from the chief whip?
UPDATE: Here is the statement Bridgen gave the rally. Nothing in there which any Tory should be disagreeing with.
On the 23rd of June 2016 the people of our country voted to leave the European Union and to take back control of our Laws, our borders and our money. To fulfill that wish ,means that we have to leave the single market, the customs union and the juristriction of the European Court of Justice all of which was made clear by those on both sides of the argument in the run up to the Referendum.
Let us be clear, there is no hard or soft Brexit, only Brexit as promised in the referendum or a betrayal of the British people and indeed of our democracy itself. Parliament decided to give the British people the final say on this decision when it voted overwhelmingly for the EU referendum. When those who regret the way the Referendum result went or those who wish for Parliament to reverse or dilute the people’s decision through votes in Parliament ,they often cite that “Parliament is sovereign” and must have the final say regardless of the referendum result. I say this, elected members of Parliament are the servants of the people ,not their masters, MPs are custodians of power for a relatively brief period of time, sovereignty belongs to the people and the people have spoken.
I assure you I will continue to work tirelessly for the Brexit the British people voted for and in the confident ,steadfast ,determination that it will be delivered. That our country’s future place in the world and its social and economic prosperity will be decided in our Parliament by Members elected by the British people and not in Brussels or Strasbourg by unelected EU bureaucrats.
I sincerely believe our country’s best days are ahead of us if we take this path. Something future generations of our great nation will be eternally grateful for. I wish you all well with today’s meeting and urge you all to Keep Calm and carry on campaigning.
“I am hoping it’s a motion that the House can get behind, even those who are avid fans of John Bercow. The Speaker has denied all the allegations against him. It’s an opportunity to clear his name” @ABridgen on the Speaker #bbcdppic.twitter.com/XjlfssxycF
— BBC Daily Politics and Sunday Politics (@daily_politics) 12 March 2018
An Early Day Motion has been tabled calling for an independent inquiry into John Bercow following bullying allegations:
“This house calls for an independent investigation into the allegations of bullying made against Mr Speaker.”
Caroline Lucas has been granted her Urgent Question at 3:30pm. Surely MPs on all sides will want to get to the bottom of this…
The much-anticipated Sunday front pages make grim reading for the government. Theresa May’s de facto deputy Damian Green is tonight accused of having “extreme porn” found on one of his parliamentary computers. The Sunday Times says the discovery was made by cops when they raided Green’s office in 2008. Former Met Assistant Commissioner Bob Quick confirmed to the paper that his officers had found the material. Green tweeted a statement calling the claims “false, disreputable political smears” and says he was not informed of any porn being found.
The paper counters that it has spoken to a police source other than Quick who also claims to have seen the porn. The splash reveals Quick will give evidence on Monday to Whitehall ethics supremo Sue Gray, who is leading the probe into Green. Kate Maltby, who tells The Sunday Times she knows difference between a hand and a tablecloth. will also give evidence and gives a sit down interview to the paper. Can Green cling on much longer?
Also in the Sunday Times, Tory MP Andrew Bridgen goes on the record saying he reported concerns about the behaviour of fellow backbencher Dan Poulter to the whips in 2010 – but claims he was ignored. Bridgen says he informed whips of comments made by female colleagues alleging Poulter put his hand up skirts. Bridgen has now reported Poulter using the new complaints procedure and an investigation is underway by the new disciplinary committee. Poulter denies the allegations.
Meanwhile, senior government whip Chris Pincher is under pressure as the Mail on Sunday splashes with the headline: “Top Tory’s Bathrobe Pass At Male Aide“. Pincher is accused of trying to untuck the shirt of former Olympic rower and Tory aide Alex Story after taking him back to his London home. Story calls the MP “a pound shop Harvey Weinstein”. The story also references a widely heard rumour about Pincher trying it on with one-term Labour MP Tom Blenkinsop about which he refuses to comment. Difficult to see how Pincher can remain a whip…
The Sunday Telegraph also turns fire on the whips office, reporting that concerns about the behaviour of both Fallon and Charlie Elphicke – who last night had the whip suspended – were raised repeatedly. Expect there to be considerable discussion about the propriety of the whips system. Tough first week for Julian Smith…
The Observerreveals Michael Fallon’s resignation was forced by journalist Jane Merrick. She says she told Number 10 at 5pm on Wednesday afternoon that the former Defence Secretary tried to kiss her when she was a 29-year-old reporter. It was the last straw for May…
The Sun on Sundayand Sunday Peoplereport allegations that an unnamed Tory MP sexually assaulted a Labour MP in a taxi. It’s alleged a date rape drug was used…
Earlier this evening Channel 4 News broadcast allegations that Tory backbencher Daniel Kawczynski asked a young female researcher to go on a date with a business contact. Deputy Speaker Eleanor Laing says she loudly reprimanded Kawczynski for his request during a confrontation in one of the division lobbies. Kawczynski says he did ask a researcher to have coffee with a contact but denies a business deal was involved…
A huge spread of Sunday sleaze for the Tories to deal with tomorrow. Heads must surely roll…
Following Guido’s story on a potential breach of the Special Advisers Code of Conduct in Sir Craig Oliver’s memoirs, a Tory MP has written to Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood demanding an investigation. Andrew Bridgen asks the two killer questions: why was Sir Craig permitted to publish information that the Cabinet Office admits could prejudice relations with the US? And did Sir Craig breach the SpAds Code of Conduct by failing to discuss his memoirs with the Cabinet Office prior to signing the book deal? This line of the letter is particularly interesting:
“If the rules were broken, there is precedent to confiscate the profits of the book sales. In 2000 the Government obtained a court order for it to be paid £90,000 of royalties owed by the publisher Jonathan Cape to George Blake for his unauthorised 1990 memoir “No Other Choice”. I hope you will investigate these serious issues promptly.”
A Labour councillor who is said to have boasted he had Keith Vaz “in his right pocket” was yesterday accused of “sitting outside a swimming pool in his pants” during a court hearing over his taxi licence. Cllr Gurpal Atwal sits on Oadby and Wigston Borough Council, close to Vaz’s Leicester East seat, and has worked as a cab driver in the city for two decades. When his own Council denied him a taxi licence earlier this year he appealed, and at a hearing before magistrates in Loughborough yesterday, Licensing Enforcement Officer Tracey Aldwinckle gave details of his alleged conduct:
“I was told your client is using unlicensed drivers on school runs and then he sat in his pants outside a swimming pool because he believes that’s acceptable.”
The court heard a slew of other allegations including of racism and that Atwal swore at a man; Atwal’s solicitor said there was “no indication” from the public of any such behaviour. A witness claimed in a statement that Atwal once boasted of having “Keith Vaz in my right pocket”…
Magistrates decided to uphold an earlier decision by the licensing authorities that Atwal is not a fit and proper person to hold a taxi licence and also charged him £1,250 in costs. Atwal will however be able to continue working as a cab driver under a previous licence which covers him until 2018. Atwal did not give a comment when approached by reporters. Andrew Bridgen, MP for North West Leicstershire, said of the case:
“It’s a real insight into Labour politics in Leicester, and shows that Atwal’s powerful friends in the city have got serious questions to answer.”
Can’t think what motivated Keith Vaz to make a complaint about neighbouring Tory MP Andrew Bridgen to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner. Vaz still hasn’t actually delivered on his threat to sue Bridgen for defamation – possibly because the allegations he makes are true. Anyway slippery Vaz has released a statement:
Right Honourable Keith Vaz MP said:
“I welcome the inquiry by the Commissioner, following the complaint made against me by Andrew Bridgen, the Member of Parliament for North West Leicestershire, which will provide important clarification.
She has suggested that my complaint against Mr Bridgen should be referred to the Secretary of State for Transport and I will follow her advice.”
Apparently because Bridgen, like many who have a home in the path of HS2, sold it at a loss to the Department of Transport, he is guilty of something. The Standards Commissioner has basically told Vaz to get lost…
Keith Vaz’s lawyers are threatening to sue his neighbouring MP, Andrew Bridgen:
Dear Mr Bridgen
We act on behalf of your fellow Leicestershire MP, Keith Vaz.
Our client has been, for quite some time, aware that you have been maliciously spreading false and highly defamatory scuttlebutt about him. You know that these allegations are wholly false and it is troubling that a fellow Member of Parliament from a neighbouring constituency should be so recklessly indifferent as to the truth.
Mr Vaz has for some time now chosen to ignore your increasingly desperate attempts to besmirch him. Mainly because as you did so, the people to whom you spoke, including include your fellow conservative (sic) MP’s have told Mr Vaz. However, the time has come where our client will no longer tolerate your spreading of intentional untruths. We are writing to put you on formal notice that if this shabby behaviour continues our client will no longer turn a blind eye to this and take steps to sue you personally for libel and false privacy, conspiracy to injure and indeed any other appropriate torts, holding you personally responsible not only for damages but also costs.
This letter does not require a substantive response, but does require an acknowledgement of receipt so that it is abundantly clear you understand the jeopardy in which you now stand.
Who to believe; Keith Vaz, a well known liar caught consorting with rent boys, or the MP who called him a liar who consorted with rent-boys? Isn’t it all a bit late now Keith?
In an election deluging swing marginal constituencies with glossy lies, this leaflet from Andrew Bridgen currently dropping on doormats in North West Leicestershire stands out. Expect a Conservative hold. The Guidoisation of politics continues…
“This is, at its heart, a matter of public trust,” he told the PM, concluding: “I cannot reconcile the terms of the proposed deal with the promises we made to the country in our manifesto at the last election… I believe that the regulatory regime proposed for Northern Ireland presents a very real threat to the integrity of the United Kingdom. I cannot support an indefinite backstop arrangement, where the EU holds a veto over our ability to exit…”