Real anger in the Commons during the statement on John Worboys this afternoon. Zac Goldsmith told the new Justice Secretary that “until the Parole Board publicly explains the rationale behind the decision it took, people can’t possibly have confidence in our criminal justice system”. David Gauke replied that he will look at changing the rules to allow this to happen retrospectively for the Worboys case. It’s crucial that the Ministry of Justice get a move on here. The Parole Board must surely explain how they came to this decision before Worboys is released, otherwise how can the public possibly be safe?
Justice Secretary David Gauke jumps straight into his new job with a statement on John Worboys at 1:15pm. Over the weekend we learned that the Parole Board was considering publishing a rationale of its decision to release Worboys, though nothing has been forthcoming. This seems an obvious opportunity for Gauke to take the initiative and put some pressure on the Parole Board. As Patrick O’Flynn astutely points out, the Worboys story is of far greater interest to the public than the disastrous reshuffle currently grabbing the headlines. And so far Richard Burgon has been doing better than the government with his response…
Just a hunch but I reckon the only story to have cut through with most people so far this year is the Worboys fiasco. Growing feeling justice system is in a mess and gone soft. Open goal for someone.
— Patrick O’Flynn (@oflynnmep) January 9, 2018
Gauke has an obvious opportunity to win a positive headline, help reassure the public and victims and get the Parole Board to do the right thing and explain its decision. No brainer, right…
— RT UK (@RTUKnews) November 24, 2017
“Go spout Putin’s propaganda,” David Gauke tells RT as he explains no reputable politician would go on their programmes. Just John McDonnell.
This time last year the Treasury admitted child benefit was exported to 30,000 children in other EU countries in 2014-2015. If you ask for this year’s numbers however, they aren’t keen to spill the beans…
Ministers have refused to answer FIVE parliamentary questions on the cost of sending child benefit to other EU member states. Leave MPs William Wragg and Anne-Marie Trevelyan have tried to get answers, only to be told that providing a response would cause “disproportionate cost” to the taxpayer. Which is odd since Treasury minister David Gauke admitted in 2012 that the data on the number of claimants “is available from a database maintained by HM Revenue and Customs”. These figures were released without a fuss when requested by MPs in previous years. Yet updating us with the latest numbers is coincidentally now judged to be too expensive. Almost as if the Treasury is holding the numbers back until June 24…
“We believe that we can tackle the deficit by halting the tax cuts to corporations,” says Labour’s new Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell. So Guido is not sure what he is going to make of his party supporting the Tories’ corporation tax cut in the Finance Bill debate last night. In a curious exchange between Treasury minister David Gauke and his shadow Barbara Keeley, Labour strangely backed the move:
Barbara Keeley: “Labour is in favour of support for businesses, which is what we need to discuss as we consider the clause. We want to help British businesses to invest in the UK and to enable long-term investment. We will support the corporation tax measures…”
David Gauke: “I begin by welcoming the support of the hon. Member for Worsley and Eccles South for the reduction in corporation tax… I certainly give way to the hon. Lady, who can confirm her party’s and, indeed, the shadow Chancellor’s support for this measure.”
Barbara Keeley: “I do not think it would be my place to confirm the shadow Chancellor’s support for the measure…”
David Gauke: “I note that the hon. Lady said that although she is able to make a statement about party policy as the Labour party Front Bencher in this Committee, neither the leader of her party nor the shadow Chancellor are in a position to do so. If that is the way the Labour party operates, that is one for that party, curious though it might be to the rest of us.”
The question of “Rate of corporation tax for financial years 2017-2020” – i.e. to be cut to 18% – was then put and agreed to.
Wonder what McDonnell makes of that!
Far be it from Guido to suggest that some Ministers of the Crown are struggling to motivate themselves on this quiet August morning:
“Do not approach this man…”