Blunt: Tories Must Come to Electoral Arrangement With the Brexit Party

The Tories are waking up to the stark reality that they face electoral annihilation at the hands of the Brexit Party unless something dramatically changes – and that is not a customs union deal with Corbyn. A new Prime Minister is just the start…

Crispin Blunt set out the basic facts of political life on Newsnight last night – this Parliament will not let Brexit through, this makes a General Election inevitable, without some sort of electoral arrangement with the Brexit Party the Tories are going to be decimated. In terms of maximising the numbers of pro-Brexit MPs, the logic behind a ‘Brexit Alliance’ is there. Can Nigel Farage really be talked down if the momentum stays firmly behind him, or will megalomania be the order of the day? He wants to “change politics for good”, that may mean to him the end of the Tories…

Blunt’s Bercow EDM Published

“That this House notes that Erskine May states that “The chief characteristics attaching to the office of Speaker in the House of Commons are authority and impartiality”; further notes that it states that “Confidence in the impartiality of the Speaker is an indispensable condition of the successful working of procedure, and many conventions exist which have as their object not only to ensure the impartiality of the Speaker but also to ensure that his impartiality is generally recognised”; believes that it is impossible for this House to sustain belief in the impartiality of the right hon. Member for Buckingham; and therefore has no confidence in the Speaker.”

MPs can sign it here.

Crispin Blunt Accuses May of “Most Shameful Surrender by a British Leader” Since 1942

May might have been expecting a hard time from the DUP, nothing will have prepared her for this rocket from normally soft-spoken Tory MP Crispin Blunt. Former Foreign Affairs Committee chair Blunt says she has put the “final torpedo” in her deal by taking no deal off the table and accuses her of the “most shameful surrender by a British leader since Singapore in 1942”. Ouch…

Crispin Blunt’s Fall From Grace

Select committee chairmen are supposed to serve a five year term following their election at the beginning of a parliament. Not Crispin Blunt, who had his time as Foreign Affairs committee chair cut short by the snap election. Blunt was booted out in July after just two years – colleagues were unimpressed with his multiple gaffes and almost Corbynista foreign policy tendencies. As if that were not humiliating enough, the supremely entitled Crispin then put his name forward for a place on the committee, attempting to hang around like a bad smell. Yesterday he lost that election too. Has he got the picture yet? 

“He Doesn’t Believe in Email” Committee Chair Incumbents Out of Date

Tomorrow MPs vote in the select committee chairmanship elections, always one of the more entertaining events of a new parliament. Eyes are on the Foreign Affairs and Defence select committees, where there is a feeling among many MPs that the incumbent chairs are too old, too stale, too outdated in their views and too out of touch with modern day politics.

65-year-old Julian Lewis, the current Defence committee chair, is old-fashioned both in his personal style and working methods. He doesn’t believe in email, is brusque with colleagues and at one meeting his behaviour over the agenda caused such consternation that staff were asked to leave the room. He is the Speaker’s closest friend and shares some of Bercow’s personality traits. His blinding hatred of David Cameron was petty. He will be 70 at the next election.

Crispin Blunt, the Foreign Affairs committee incumbent, aroused concerns when he demanded private investigators be brought in to find out who exposed his determination to water down criticism of the Saudis – an odd look in Britain in 2017 – and then had his report on Libya embarrassingly debunked. Blunt has been dubbed the “Corbynista candidate” by some Labour moderates who note his views align with Jezza on Israel and western foreign policy.

As the Tories lick their election wounds and discuss how to appeal to modern voters, tomorrow’s select committee elections provide a chance to see how serious they are…

Select Committee Chairmanship Runners and Riders

If it weren’t for the Russians (allegedly) MPs’ inboxes would be constantly pinging with emails from colleagues canvassing for support for select committee chairmanships. The hotly-contested elections take place in July, as ever Guido gives you your runners and riders…

The big bunfight is the Treasury select committee, where MPs are jostling to fill the not inconsiderable shoes of Andrew Tyrie. Jacob Rees-Mogg has sat on the committee for two years, is well-respected on the Tory benches and would be a popular appointment. Nicky Morgan is running on a thinly-veiled continuity Remain ticket, talking up her ability to provide “necessary scrutiny and challenge” to the Brexit negotiations. NiMo is the preferred candidate of Labour Remainers, which says it all. Also running are the experienced Leaver Richard Bacon, who already has the signatures he needs, and Stephen Hammond and John Penrose, both Remainers with experience in the City. Would be a shame if the Mogg didn’t get it.

There’s also a tasty battle brewing for the Foreign Affairs committee chairmanship. Incumbent Crispin Blunt – who has faced embarrassment over the committee’s reports on Saudi Arabia and Libya – is being challenged by John Baron, who thinks Britain should work with Assad, Russia and Iran. Blunt is hardly sound and the committee is already stuffed with wrong uns. Though MPs will be concerned about some of Baron’s views too.

There is a vacancy as BEIS committee chair after Iain Wright stepped down from parliament. It’s between Rachel Reeves, Liam Byrne and Ian Lucas. Louise Ellman has quit as Transport committee chair, Geraint Davies is running to replace her. Quite a few battles bubbling away behind the scenes…

Blunt Assessment: After Saudi Farce, Now Libya Report Debunked

What on earth is going on with Crispin Blunt? The Foreign Affairs select committee chairman lost the plot last week, demanding private investigators find out who exposed his determination to water down criticism of the Saudis. The ‘super-committee’ on Saudi arms then descended into farce and released competing reports, with notoriously Arabist Blunt’s report arguing we should go much softer. Very odd behaviour.

This morning the Foreign Affairs committee’s report on Libya is now being called into question. Guardian journalist Patrick Kingsley has debunked one of the report’s most important and bizarre claims – that Gaddafi wasn’t a major threat to civilians in Benghazi. The committee cited a report from Amnesty International, however it appears no such Amnesty report exists. Confusing. Embarrassing for Blunt and the Foreign Affairs committee – that’s two very public humiliations in the space of 24 hours…

From Poppers to Puff: Blunt on Blunts

blunt

Bongs are bubbling over at CLEAR, the UK’s largest cannabis reform group, as Crispin Blunt  joins their advisory board as political advisor. Having spoken out in the Commons on his own use of poppers, the Tory MP was perhaps a natural choice to lobby for legalisation of weed, a few days ahead of a parliamentary report being published. CLEAR is the largest drug policy reform group in the UK with more than 685,000 registered supporters.  Its aim is “to promote as a matter of urgency and compassion the prescription of medicinal cannabis by doctors”.  Far out, man…

The evidence for the use of cannabis in alleviating the effects of diseases like Alzheimer’s, cancer, Crohn’s and multiple sclerosis is prolific and compelling. Crispin is getting blazed up about the issue:

“It is wrong that people with a range of conditions are missing out from medicinal benefits because of the UK’s out-of-date drug laws. We need a new approach and a sensible regulatory system…”

Let’s just hope MPs don’t make a hash of the upcoming report…

Act That Tried to Ban “Poppers” Bites

blunt-poppers

Crispin Blunt will be breathing a sigh of relief today, as figures released by the Home Office reveal the Psychoactive Substances Act stopped 332 “headshops” selling the contraband and shutdown 24 altogether, with 186 arrests. The act gained notoriety earlier this year when it was revealed that the government was to attempt a blanket ban on then “legal highs”, including popular “poppers”. This led to a memorable intervention from Crispin Blunt, saving “poppers” from the ban and a potential two years in prison simply for possession. He didn’t stop the government banning hundreds of other substances, though, flying in the face of increasingly pro-drug legislators in Ireland, Europe, and even the USA. If only they could take something to broaden their thinking…

Tory MPs’ Parliamentary Ski Week Freebie

skiiers blunt spelman copy

During the Tory turmoil of the March recess, journalists calling up MPs’ mobile phones were met with a chorus of foreign dial tones. Some of the backbenchers briefing hacks from ski slopes at least paid for their holidays themselves. Crispin Blunt, Phillip Lee, Tim Loughton, Antoinette Sandbach and Caroline Spelman however enjoyed £2,500 worth of free ski passes courtesy of the Swiss Parliament. The alpine alliance bagged tickets to two of the world’s top skiing resorts, all paid for as part of the British-Swiss All Party Parliamentary Group’s Parliamentary Ski Week. Suspect that is one of the more popular APPGs…

Crispin Blunt Comes Out For Brexit Live on Daily Politics

Crispin Blunt, chair of the Foreign Affairs select committee, comes out for Brexit live on the Daily Politics:

“My conclusion is I want a positive story and a positive role for the United Kingdom, and I think Brexit offers that option.”

By Guido’s count there are now 143 Tory MPs backing Brexit…

Another U-Turn: Poppers Unbanned

Victory for Crispin Blunt as Home Office minister Karen Bradley confirms that the government no longer considers poppers a psychoactive drug:

“I understand that the Council has now advanced its understanding of the psychoactivity of the alkyl nitrites group under the Act and concluded that only substances that directly stimulate or depress the central nervous system are psychoactive under the Act. Having given due consideration, the Government agrees with your advice and interpretation of the definition. We do so in the understanding that “poppers” have these unique indirect effects. Our understanding is that this approach does not have any further implications for the operation of the Act and that other substances that the Act intends to cover are not affected.”

That sound you can hear coming from the parliamentary estate: “Wooooooooooooooo!”

Crispin Pleads for Poppers

blunt-poppersThis afternoon could see the the banning of amyl nitrate “poppers” – a psychoactive substance popular in the gay community and with clubbers. Crispin Blunt is worried about the government banning poppers and has emailed fellow MPs:

From: BLUNT, Crispin
Sent: 20 January 2016 13:06
Subject: Psychoactive Substances Bill
Importance: High

Dear all,

This afternoon there may be an amendment moved to support the Home Affairs Select Committee’s recommendation to exempt alkyl nitrates, also known as “poppers” from the Psychoactive Substances Bill. The relative paragraph is 45 of their first report:

“We accept the evidence given by Professor Iversen, the National Aids Trust, and the Gay Men’s Health Collective on alkyl nitrites, also known as ‘poppers’. Professor Iversen said ‘poppers’ were “not seen to be capable of having harmful effects sufficient to constitute a societal problem” and therefore we recommend they should not be banned. If in the future there is any evidence produced to the contrary, then ‘poppers’ should be removed from the exempted list or controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act”.

I am very concerned about this measure which would have the consequences outlined in paragraph 43 of the Home Affairs Select Committee report.

If amendment 5 is put, I will be voting for it, and I hope Colleagues will join me so that they might at least not be party to a grave error of judgement by the Government.

Yours ever,

Crispin

Guido understands that inhalation of poppers at the point of orgasm results in an extended woooooohhhh!

UPDATE: “I use poppers, I out myself as a popper user, and would be directly affected by this legislation.”

Bomber Blunt’s Syria U-Turn

Three weeks ago Crispin Blunt, the chair of the Foreign Affairs select committee whose voice is crucial for Cameron in winning over MPs on Syria, opposed war:

“We are concerned that the Government is focusing on extending airstrikes to Syria, responding to the powerful sense that something must be done to tackle ISIL in Syria, without any expectation that its action will be militarily decisive, and without a coherent and long-term plan for defeating ISIL and ending the civil war… [as things stand] the Government should not try to obtain Parliamentary approval to extend British military action to Syria.”

Today Blunt backed bombing:

“On balance the country would be best served by this House supporting [the PM’s] judgement.

That should help Mark Harper get the numbers…

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