Harman: Parliament Should ‘Change With the Times’

Harman Pitches Herself as Continuity Bercow

The race to be the next speaker is formally on, with a number of candidates now openly campaigning. In truth many candidates have been quietly on the campaign trail for well over a year. Harriet Harman has the most sophisticated operation and the most support from the Labour benches. Another serious contender at this stage is Deputy Speaker Lindsay Hoyle. Harman took to the airwaves on The Today Programme to declare that she agreed with Bercow’s flagrant disregard for precedent…

Guido brings you the runners and riders to be the next speaker in full here…

  • Harriet Harman (Lab)
    • The (self-described) ‘Mother of the House’. Pitching herself as ‘continuity Bercow.’ That will go down well with Remainers but is unlikely to pick up much Tory support…
  • Lindsay Hoyle (Lab)
    • Deputy Speaker. Good sense of humour with a decidedly smaller head than his would-be predecessor. Seen as less activist with a broader appeal across the House. But will this Remainer Parliament want someone less keen on breaking the rules for their own cause?
  • Chris Bryant (Lab)
    • Loves Parliamentary procedure so much he wrote a book on it. An also-ran.
  • Charles Walker (Con)
    • A close friend of Bercow and loyal Theresa May fan. May want to add ‘speaker’ to his title along with his KBE this morning.
  • Eleanor Laing (Con)
    • Seen as more cooperative in the eyes of Brexiteers…
  • Rosie Winterton (Lab)
    • Another Deputy Speaker and former Labour Chief Whip under Miliband.
  • Meg Hillier (Lab)
    • Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee.
  • Sir Henry Bellingham (Con)
    • Promised to bring back ceremonial outfits, including wifs for the clerks and speaker. Will go down well with traditional Tories…
  • Sir Edward Leigh (Con)
    • Certainly the Tory Brexiteer’s favourite… so a no-hoper if Bercow insists on this cohort of MPs voting in the next speaker.
  • Pete Wishart (SNP)
    • Clearly doesn’t think Scottish independence is likely any time soon…

Expect backroom dealings and grovelling campaigning over the next two months…

UPDATE: After putting his name about, Pete Wishart has sheepishly pulled out

UPDATE II: Election for the next speaker announced for 4th November

UPDATE III: Shailesh Vara (Con) has emailed MPs announcing he is also running for speaker, promising to be impartial and to address “everyone in a respectful and fair manner“.

Labour Party Democracy Harriet Style

Harriet is polling her Camberwell & Peckham CLP members as to whether she should stand again. Via text message they can vote yes. That’s it comrades…

May on “The Labour Sisterhood”

Harriet Harman and Liz Kendall would both like that to come true…

Harman’s Unfortunate This Week Gaffe

Odd outing on This Week from the usually right-on Harriet Harman as she made a off-colour joke live on air. Brillo was not impressed:

Oops…

Harman Condemns “Inexcusable” Lewis B*tch Slur

Clive still hasn’t said sorry for this. Looks pretty bad…

Harman: Very Bad Time for Labour

She says it is not an existential crisis for Labour. Yet…

She also regrets not challenging Ed Miliband for the party leadership:

Would history be different if she had lead Labour rather than Miliband? Perhaps…

Campaign Report: 17 Days to Go

nathalie bennett bse bus

Leave message: Stay and we’ll be paying for the Eurozone’s failure.

Remain message: Cameron, Farron, Harman and Bennett united: Leave must make plans clear.

Cut through: Polls changing drastically in Leave’s favour.

Leave social media count: 456,041 likes, 51,907 followers.

Remain social media count: 456,247 likes, 34,318 followers.

Odds: Remain 4/9, Leave between 11/5

Latest poll: Remain 43% (-1), Leave 48% (+1) (ICM, online). Poll of Polls is now Remain 51%, Leave 49%.

13 Labour MPs Didn’t Declare Hattie’s Pink Bus

Since Guido started looking at Labour’s battle bus spending, readers have been in touch to ask where Harriet Harman’s famous pink bus fits in. Well, it’s a very good question. Electoral Commission data shows that 13 Labour MPs who claimed they spent nothing on transport benefitted from activists transported into their constituencies in Hattie’s pink van. Among those who didn’t declare are the new London mayor Sadiq Khan, five shadow ministers  – Gloria De Piero, Judith Cummins, Jo Stevens, Clive Lewis and Mike Kane – as well as Paula Sherriff, Naz Shah, Rupa Huq, Joan Ryan, Tulip Siddiq, Margaret Greenwood, Clive Efford and Ruth Cadbury. Oooops…

Now, Labour listed the pink bus as a national expense costing £5,000. Yet if it carried anyone who did any campaigning in local seats, as Labour boasted it did at the time, Electoral Commission guidance suggests some of the cost should have been declared by individual candidates. Jo Stevens had £10 left over to spend in the short campaign before reaching the legal limit, if she’d declared the pink bus she’d have gone over…

Labour Spent £4,700 on Hattie’s Pink Bus

How much did Harriet Harman’s infamous pink bus cost the Labour Party? Service Graphics invoiced them £4,742 “to produce and install Pink graphics” on the “Woman to Woman Bus”. That ends the debate about whether it was pink, magenta or cerise.

Despite him barely ever turning up, Labour blew £223,572 on David Axelrod’s firm AKPD. They spent another £563,973 on polling from Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, and £184,609 on Michael Sheehan’s debate coaching. There’s no price on laughter.

Corbyn Accused of “Low-Level Non-Violent Misogyny”

Just in time for the reshuffle, two of Labour’s most high profile women have come out and blasted Corbyn for giving jobs to the boys. Harriet Harman tells Newsnight: “We can’t have a men-only leadership when we are party for women and equality”, while Jess Phillips blasts: “some people in the Labour Party are accepting low-level non-violent misogyny because it’s Jeremy doing it”. Will there be a woman in one of the shadow great offices of state by tomorrow morning?

Hattie Does Her Bit For Deficit Reduction

Capture

Harriet Harman is looking to take on a new Parliamentary Assistant. Fresh-faced, budding bag-carriers have however been disappointed by the paltry salary on offer. IPSA decree that the minimum salary for a London-based Parliamentary Assistant – a mid-ranking job which is senior to a secretary or even a senior caseworker – should be £23,000-a-year. Penny pinching Hattie is offering just £19,000, a wage more typical of a junior caseworker or junior secretary. At last Labour embrace “the cuts”…

UPDATE: As has been pointed out by many of our right-on readers, assuming a 40-hour week, that is less than the “Living Wage”.

Harman’s Parting Zinger to “Old, Posh” Corbyn

Hattie has remained resoutely impartial during the leadership election, alas she couldn’t resist a parting dig at Comrade Corbyn on her final day on the frontbench:

“It was quite surprising to discover that I’m not old enough or posh enough to be the frontrunner of this current leadership election.”

A personal attack from the acting leader on the last day of voting. She’ll be on the list when the purge comes…

Of course, as this footage of young posh totty Hattie shows, the St Paul’s old girl certainly fulfils the posh criteria:

Close observers will note that her accent went a bit Estuary sometime in the late nineties…

Guy News Special: Hattie’s “Anyone” U-Turn

Harriet Harman, 18 May:

“We will allow people who are not party members or who are not affiliated supporters to have a vote. Anyone – providing they are on the electoral register – can become a registered supporter, pay £3 and have a vote to decide our next leader.”

Harriet Harman, 25 August:

“If they don’t support the Labour Party’s aims and values, they don’t get a vote.”

Guido did try to warn her

Harman Horror at Penile Drugs Injection

Guido was having a Friday afternoon peruse of the Southwark News when he suddenly crossed his legs and winced:

Southwark council leader Peter John recalls the time Harriet Harman visited the Ayelsbury council estate with a local councillor:

“They were in a lift and a man was injecting drugs into his penis. That’s not a sign of a successful community. That’s not the kind of community we want to see.”

Funnily enough not an anecdote ever repeated in one of Hattie’s speeches. She’ll never be able to hear the words ‘lift shaft’ the same way…

Quote of the Day

Len McCluskey on the Harriet Harman welfare row:

“I’ll send her a dictionary so she can look up definition of opposition.”

“Tory” Witch-Hunt: Kendall and Harman Smeared

If the Labour leadership contest wasn’t already a spiralling descent into insanity, Diane Abbott has now accused Harriet Harman of “voicing a Tory agenda“:

The increasing use of the “Tory” smear is becoming a hysterical, McCluskeyite witch hunt, rooting out any sign of moderation among the leadership candidates. The language and rhetoric of the Unite-Zombie-Socialist tendency is becoming prevalent… 

Yvette used it in a barely disguised attack on Kendall:

“I will set out ideas for the future that don’t just involve swallowing the Tory manifesto and set out a Labour vision for the future.”

Then Burnham used the same line in a direct slap at Liz:

“This doesn’t mean copying the Tories. Labour wins when we are better than they are.”

It’s clearly cutting through to the Labour grassroots, providing Kendall’s tensest moment at this morning’s hustings:

Her comeback was a zinger:

“If you believe that a strong economy, sound public finances and backing businesses are simply Tory values, the Tories will be in power for ever.”

The blue menace is real, report all suspected Tory activity…

SKETCH: Ladies Tennis, ISIS and EVEL MacSporrans

Were they tails that the Speaker was wearing, and a waistcoat? Is he finally dressing the part? It’s cruellest trick he’s playing on his critics. He’s turning himself into a decent Speaker. Acting the part, dressing the part, sounding the part. He doesn’t even intervene with his tortured Macaulay-isms to kick things along (and as a result, for the first time ever he didn’t get through the order paper). He’s obviously settling in for the duration. He will die in office and even then he will not quit.

Harriet played a pleasant, polite and perfectly charming game of ladies’ tennis with the prime minister. In their exchanges, they mused about Heathrow, the death of tourists, the Prevent program and how it hadn’t succeeded in preventing anything. So now, it appears there is “a statutory duty on public bodies to challenge radicalisation.”

But how?

For politicians the first tactic is to manipulate the language. Continue reading

Harman Forgets When Labour Tried to Abolish Human Rights

hatty

Harriet Harman, at her pious worst today, declared in a speech about Human Rights:

“Labour values are about social and economic rights. And they are also about the civil and political rights embodied in the Human Rights Act. But these are not just Labour values – they are British values and universal human values. Simple but powerful, enshrining: The right to life, liberty and security…The right to a fair trial.”

Harman must have forgotten that when she was last in government. Here is a flavour of her voting record:

“Harriet Harman voted very strongly for introducing ID cards.”

“Harriet Harman voted yes on Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Bill — Indefinite detention of suspected terrorists.”

“Harriet Harman voted against giving a greater role to the courts in relation to the imposition of control orders.”

After previously voting for ID cards, detention without trial and house arrest for enemies of the state, today she says:

“What an irony that yesterday the Prime Minister was presiding over the celebration of Magna Carta at the same time he’s planning to undermine the Human Rights Act. No wonder that though he mentioned human rights in South Africa – and preyed in aid Nelson Mandela – and mentioned human rights in India – and preyed in aid Ghandi – he could not bring himself to mention Europe and our Convention.

But we believe that, together, we can prevent the government eroding human rights. Their policy is intellectually incoherent and, worse, it’s wrong in principle. Though Labour is in opposition, not in government, we believe that in this case, on an issue of such profound importance, they can and should be held back.”

Labour will stand up against the erosion of Human Rights?

Let us rewind to 1999 when Labour tried to scrap trail by jury for thousands of people every year:

“Plans to limit access to trial by jury are being criticised by the legal profession and human rights groups. Unveiling the plans, Home Secretary Jack Straw said he intends to stop people accused of theft, burglary and assault from opting to be tried in a crown court, rather than by magistrates. The home secretary unveiled the move during a speech to the Police Federation Conference in Blackpool on Wednesday.”

There is certainly a case against the reform of the Human Rights Act, but Labour are in no position to make it or lecture on the erosion of rights. 

PMQ’s SKETCH: Where Was the Eton Gloating Song?

Harriet was always going to use that line about gloating.

The PM is back to his easy, lordly form. He deflected hostile questions (“It’s an important point she raises.”) He congratulated opposition MPs. He made a pretty decent UKIP joke that made Douglas Carswell laugh – “He has made political history.[…] Read the rest

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Quote of the Day

Boris as Hulk…

‘Banner might be bound in manacles, but when provoked he would explode out of them. Hulk always escaped, no matter how tightly bound in he seemed to be – and that is the case for this country. We will come out on October 31 and we will get it done.’

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