Guido was pleased to kick off Westminster’s party season last night at the Aussie High Commissioner’s residence over in Kensington, although guests weren’t actually invited inside and had to use portaloos in the neighbour’s driveway. The guest of honour was Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, who took a night off battling for Ukraine to get dressed up and pose next to the BBQ’s head chef.
While Ben may have been guest of honour, the star of the show was undoubtedly the food itself – Guido can confidently predict the next fortnight’s worth of canapés will struggle to compete. A speech prior to the feast saw Meat & Livestock Australia’s spokesman extolling the virtues of the new UK-AUS free trade deal, which will allow their fantastic beef and lamb to once again flood UK supermarket shelves.
Also spotted enjoying the catering and speeches was, ironically, none other than the SNP’s Angus Brendan MacNeil, whose role as chairman of the Commons’ Trade Committee saw him bemoan said trade agreement last year as “something which brings significant harms as well as benefits”:
“The views of the entire farming sector especially are no secret now, including those in the devolved nations, who are particularly concerned about being undercut by cheaper meat and dairy produce from ‘down under’.”
MacNeil managed to park his concerns while tucking into mounds of 12-hour slow-cooked beef brisket. Hard-left MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle also showed up, having decided his rail picketing was secondary to a posh drinks do at the High Commissioner’s Knightsbridge residence…
Boris’s surprise trip to Ukraine to meet with Zelenskyy set a pretty impressive trap for his opponents to fall into. Between the announcement of his pulling out and the revelation of his international visit, some on the left implied Boris was on the run. Labour lecturer Thom Brooks said it looked like the PM was “giving up on the North again”; Shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh said “I suppose his one saving grace is that @BorisJohnson recognises when he’s really not helping”; Angus Brendan MacNeil MP said “Boris is going to be such an asset in the Scottish independence campaign”; Business Insider’s Cat Neilan tweeted the move “allowed a prospective rival a free hit. And yet LEADERSHIP”, referring to the day’s No. 10 grid. The jewel in the crown, however, was undoubtedly Wes Streeting…
Absent leadership pretty much sums up this Government’s approach to the country’s problems. https://t.co/n5dfDarPRz— Wes Streeting MP (@wesstreeting) June 17, 2022
Wes’s latest bout of foot-in-mouth disease comes shortly after having to apologise to the Shadow Cabinet for expressing public sympathy with the rail strikes, though allies insisted he only apologised for the “bad publicity that resulted from the remarks”, earmarking him out as someone with even fewer principles than the current Labour leader. It also follows him being shown up by Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves for pocketing LBC presenting cash while she donated hers to charity. Centrists really do believe Wes Steeting is Labour’s best hope among the candidates to be next leader…
Last week the world learned of Keir Starmer crashing into a cyclist in North London, resulting in an ambulance arriving and a trip to the police station. Less than a week later, on Friday evening, SNP MP Angus MacNeil one-upped this event by getting into a collision with a 17-year-old on a motorbike outside a school in the Outer Hebrides resulting in the kid suffering a broken leg. The Scottish Sun reports he spoke to police on the scene but was not asked to visit a station and no criminal charges were filed. What is it with SNP MPs’ inability to travel safely?
Always keen to see an MP at the end of a rope, Guido popped down to the annual parliamentary Tug of War last night (all proceeds to Macmillan Cancer Support). Ladies first – Macmillan employees versus Therese Coffey’s team of MPs. Kelly Tolhurst chose the losing side again…
Then the men’s Lords v Commons bout, which saw well-built Remainiacs Alec Shelbrooke (his sixth tug of war appearance) trialling the phrase “Remain” instead of “Stay” as a rallying cry to team-mates. Though in the end it was the Leave heavers who made the difference – hardman captain Mike Penning and Eurosceptic musclemen Nigel Adams and David Burrowes tugged their team to victory. Even the Daily Politics’ Giles Dilnot turning out as a ringer for the Lords couldn’t stop them. Highlight was Bercow calling Shelbrooke “a very big bloke” – Shelbers replied “it’s all relative…”
The SNP amendment lost 80 to 516 last night, though they did manage to back the Tory rebels’ amendment, which prevailed. Which may go some way to consoling Angus MacNeil’s grief over the Scotland – Germany match. The Germans won 3 – 2 without requiring penalties…
53 SNP MPs voted against the EU Referendum Bill in the Commons last nights. But one was missing:
Correction Angus Brendan MacNeil locked himself in the toilets of the wrong lobby on the EU referendum bill #SNP
— Tom Blenkinsop (@TomBlenkinsop) June 9, 2015
A wee jobby in the wrong lobby? #SNP
— Tom Blenkinsop (@TomBlenkinsop) June 9, 2015
According to Labour whips, he was hiding in there after going through the wrong lobby, and not wanting his Aye vote to be cast.
Ken Clarke abstained too, but for a different sort of crap.
UPDATE: MacNeil speaks exclusively to Guido:
“Felt I needed a little attention from Daily Mail as they were ignoring the SNP and wanted to make new MPs feel good when experience makes an mistake but mostly was distracted by Labour and Tories pleading for SNP votes for Select Committees”