On a good day, there may be a million words spoken in the Palace of Westminster. Here are a very few of them, from the floor of the Commons. They are not always verbatim but are reliable. That is, reliably reported.
Robert Halfon (Con): The Education department has appointed 13 Attendance advisers, but we have 1.7 million absent children and 100,000-plus so-called “ghost children”.
Grant Shapps (Con): Professor Jay’s Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse heard from 7,300 victims. It processed 2 million pages of evidence and cost £184 million. £4.5 million is to be allocated to seven organizations to support victims.
James Murray (Con): The out-of-turn estimates will increase overall spending by £71.4 billion [with £60 billion sought by BEIS to implement the energy price cap].
Christopher Chope (Con): The Paul Ehrlich Institute (the German regulator for vaccine safety) tried to raise the alert that one in 5,000 vaccinated people experienced a serious side effect, such as heart muscle inflammation. It said that, statistically, every tenth person must expect a severe consequence from having a course of three or four vaccines.
Scott Benton (Con): More than 70% of successful deportation appeals are now based solely on Article 8 [the right to respect for private and family life’].
Rachael Maskell (Lab): 7.5 million people are on pre-payment meters.
Graham Stuart (Con): In the Scotwind auction, Scottish fields have been sold off cheap, netting £700 million, while New York garnered £4.3 billion for a quarter of what was on offer in Scotland.
Andy Slaughter (Lab): The briefing from the National Residential Landlords Association says that 70% of landlords could envisage operating without section 21. Kevin Hollinrake (Con): That means in effect somewhere between 20% and 30% of supply (of rented accommodation) might go overnight.
Alison Thewliss (SNP): The gas bill of the Toryglen Community Base has gone from £9,700 a year to £62,273.36.
Richard Fuller (Con): In 2019, almost 243,000 net additional homes were delivered.
Anne McLaughlin (SNP): 40% of those entitled to pension credit do not apply for it.
Damien Hinds (Con): The e-petition for verified ID to be required to open a social media account has almost 700,000 signatures.
Taino Owatemi (Lab): In the last four years in this country, £3 billion has been lost to online fraud and 60,000 offences relating to online sexual abuse and grooming have been committed.
Guy Opperman (Con): Google made $14 billion profit last quarter.
Paulette Hamilton (Lab): (Before Putin’s invasion) Ukraine grew enough food to feed an estimated 400 million people despite having a population of only 44 million.
Matt Vickers (Con): There is a street in Stockton where if someone travels from one end to another just five miles, they pass through two areas where the difference in life expectancy is 20 years. Those living in Yarm in my constituency can be expected to live until the age of 84, whereas those living in Stockton Town Center, and neighboring Stockton North, can expect to live only to the age of 64 – that is equivalent to the life expectancy of those living in Ethiopia.
Drew Hendry (SNP): Scotch whiskey exported to India attracts a tariff of 150%.
Robert Halfon (Con): New Spanish consumer laws will force big companies and utility firms to answer customer service calls within three minutes or face fines of up to £85,000.
Theresa Villiers (Con): [On revoking the retained EU laws] We do not know with certainty how many laws there are within DEFRA’s food, animal welfare and environmental remit because that has not been comprehensively counted on the Government’s dashboard. (Greener UK estimates 570 pieces of legislation in DEFRA. Estimates for the total number of laws to be examined by the end of 2023 fall between 2,500 and 2,700 – around five a day.)
Patricia Gibson (SNP): There have been four secretaries of state for education in the last year and nine out of 10 schools in England say they will run out of money this year. The dogs in the street know that the government is so unstable as to be unfit for purpose. Does today’s Secretary of State for Education agree with me and the hon. member for Christchurch (Christopher Chope) that the new Prime Minister will face an “ungovernable” and “riven” Tory party and that a general election is the only answer, otherwise things will go from very bad to much worse? Mr. Speaker: What does that have to do with education? I do not think it has anything to do with education, so let us go to Elliot Colburn.
Jim Shannon, DUP: Does the minister agree that human rights provisions must be included in the India trade deal and can he guarantee that no blind eye will be turned to human rights abuses for the sake of economic benefit? Greg Hands (Con): I think this government have a fantastic record of promoting religious tolerance and religious diversity abroad. (In English: No.)
In his Moggcast this morning, Jacob Rees-Mogg has said he “must take his share of responsibility for this”, admitting he “thought it was the right thing to do [and] encouraged the PM to go down this route.” At Lobby this morning, the PM’s spokesperson said they still had faith in Rees-Mogg.
Thanks to Christopher Chope’s objection to last night’s motion the Paterson debate has been dragged into a new day, with MPs holding a debate on the committee’s report this afternoon. Theresa May didn’t hold back:
Meanwhile, despite buckets of abuse in WhatsApp groups last night, Chope was on fighting form – telling one of his Tory female backbench colleagues that she “hasn’t applied her mind”…
Looking down the legislative agenda there are three Bills coming up for a second reading in this parliamentary session which will warm the hearts of co-conspirators:
These are, at the moment, Private Members Bills – from Peter Bone and Christopher Chope – so not likely to become law unless the government takes them up. Guido reckons the decriminalisation of non-payment of the BBC licence fee is actually likely to happen. This will put the BBC on the same footing as any other creditor in the courts. Some form of beefed-up oversight could happen, if the BBC has any sense they will try and get ahead of the game and stop their own BBC journalists tweeting opinions about politics and giving their partisan lack of impartiality public amplification on social media. They could of course actually enforce the guidance that already exists and perhaps not renew the contracts of the persistent rule breakers pour encourager les autres. All these impartiality concerns would of course largely disappear if the second Bill were passed, the BBC was privatised, and we were no longer forced to pay for it…
Fresh from yet another highly inflammatory blocking exercise in Parliament, this time on an anti-FGM bill, Christopher Chope is returning to work this morning to again find another special greeting for him on his office door. This time some enterprising protesters have taped up a row of brightly-coloured dinosaurs to help Chope feel more at home in 2019. A good effort albeit not quite as eye-catching as last time…
Quote of the Day is from Christopher Hope on Christopher Chope
“For the avoidance of doubt I am NOT Sir Christopher Chope MP. Many thanks.”
This is the discussion in the Tory MPs’ WhatsApp group this evening after Chris Chope blocked the upskirting bill. The most unpopular man in the Tory party tonight?