Tories Stage Coup To Take Over Chagos Islands APPG

Plots and intrigue kicked into gear almost as soon as the King left Parliament yesterday when the APPG for the Chagos Islands was taken over in a coup by Tory MPs. The APPG was previously controlled by supporters of the FCDO’s apparent plan to give the islands away to Mauritius. The government started negotiations with Mauritius in November last year…

30 Tory MPs flooded into the AGM last night under direction of secret plans and voted Labour chairman Mike Kane out. The new chairman is Tory MP Henry Smith, whose Crawley constituency contains the highest number of Chagossians in the UK, some of whom have launched a legal challenge to stop the negotiations and keep the islands British. 2,000 of them were kicked out in 1968 to build an American military base…

The successful coup’s organisers say giving the islands away will cut crucial access to the Indian and Pacific Oceans and give China undue influence in the region. They’re warning the rest of British overseas territories could go the same way if British interests and self-determination aren’t considered. Daniel Kawczynski MP tells Guido: “We will not allow them to trash self-determination, overwise it puts at risk places like Gibraltar and others as well“. New chairman Henry Smith says now “Parliament is watching” and the Foreign Office should make proper reference to MPs. The battle over the fate of the islands is heating up…

mdi-timer 8 November 2023 @ 16:04 8 Nov 2023 @ 16:04 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Henry Smith Ordered to Apologise and Repay Public £1,763 for Newsletter Rule Breach

The Standards Commissioner has concluded that Henry Smith broke Commons rules by sending out a newsletter using parliamentary stationery. The issue will not be taken further after Henry accepted the decision, apologised and reimbursed the £1,763 costs. In a letter to the Commissioner, Smith said:

“I can confirm that I accept your opinion that an inadvertent breach of the rules took place for which I apologise unreservedly. To ensure no such breach occurs in the future, I have spoken with my staff about this case and reiterated the rules that when responding to constituents they must draft correspondence on an individual basis relating to their enquiry subject matter only and not by way of a more general update… I personally accept your ruling and of course will re-imburse the House of Commons £1,762.61 for the 2,471 second class postage franked envelopes used.”

Guido’s glad Henry seems keen to stamp out this behaviour post-haste…

mdi-timer 8 June 2023 @ 11:48 8 Jun 2023 @ 11:48 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Tory MP Laments Shelved Foie Gras and Fur Import Bans

Plans to ban the import of foie gras and fur were shelved earlier this year, with the government claiming that discussions had not been dropped but rather fallen down the parliamentary pecking order. Duck, Duck, Goose.

Henry Smith, MP for Crawley, told Guido:

“We need to realise our Brexit freedoms much more in many areas, including animal welfare, with foie gras and fur imports halted, live exports too. Force feeding geese to produce a diseased, fatty liver to eat as a so-called delicacy is thoroughly un-British and rightly production is banned here, so why do we allow that cruelty to be effectively exported across the English Channel?”

Asked what he would do if he were offered a tin of foie gras or a fur coat, Smith responded: “I’d put them in one of those dinghies that have landed on our shores and push them back over to France, with a few other unwelcome imports too!Presumably stuff like Hershey’s, Carlsberg and Covid… 

mdi-timer 17 May 2023 @ 13:30 17 May 2023 @ 13:30 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Matt Hancock Denies “Lobbying” Sleaze Commissioner

Parliamentary Standards Commissioner Daniel Greenberg is keeping busy, even if it is recess. Today three more MPs have had investigations launched into potential breaches of conduct: Matt Hancock, Scott Benton, and Henry Smith. Both Benton and Smith have been flagged for potential “use of facilities provided from the public purse”. Fairly small fry, although it’s not as if Benton isn’t in enough trouble already.

Matt Hancock, meanwhile, is being investigated for “lobbying the Commissioner in a manner calculated or intended to influence his consideration of whether a breach of the Code of Conduct has occurred”, which might raise a few eyebrows. Guido’s asked Hancock’s spokesperson how Matt has found himself in trouble yet again:

“Mr Hancock is shocked and surprised by the investigation. Far from lobbying the commissioner, Matt wrote to Mr Greenberg in good faith to offer some additional evidence that he thought was not only pertinent but helpful for an inquiry the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards is currently conducting. It’s clearly a misunderstanding and Matt looks forward to fully engaging with the Commissioner to clear this up.”

Team Hancock add “it was evidence [he] was uniquely placed to give”…

mdi-timer 12 April 2023 @ 15:15 12 Apr 2023 @ 15:15 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Tories’ All-Expenses Paid Skiing Trip to Davos

While Boris may have taken home the big cash in the latest register of interests, Guido spotted a few other Tory MPs who haven’t done too badly recently: Bob Seely, Karl McCartney, Tim Loughton, Henry Smith and Crispin Blunt all hit the Alpine slopes of Davos, free of charge, courtesy of Skigruppe der Bundesversammlung for the annual Parliamentary ski trip with the APPG for Switzerland. The group all received ski passes and lessons for the week, which took place at the start of the year.

As always, n(ice) work if you can get it. The best things in life are free(zing)…

mdi-timer 8 February 2023 @ 16:38 8 Feb 2023 @ 16:38 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
NEW: Richard Graham is Sixth Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Candidate

Guido can reveal a sixth Tory MP is putting their hat in the ring to chair the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, following the vacancy created by Tom Tugendhat’s promotion. Richard Graham, the MP for Gloucester, is joining Liam Fox, IDS, Alicia Kearns, Henry Smith and John Baron in the race – albeit at a significantly later starting date than his five competitors.

Richard Graham is campaigning on four points, the third of which is certain to raise eyebrows among Tory MPs:

  1. This role is about seeking truths through evidence to influence Parliament and policy. Not grandstanding or ideological campaigning.
  2. We should make the most of our development funding and other soft power examples like the Commonwealth, Chevening scholarships and the British Council
  3. We should explore what the mooted European Partnership offers and ways to resolve the NI conundrum
  4. Being sanctioned by Russia and having a visa denied by China (as I have both) are reasons to deepen, not cut off, engagement

A source close to one of the candidates revealed lots of SNP MPs are set to back Alicia Kearns, and no doubt many Labour MPs will also be putting her as first preference, meaning it’s likely she will be in the final two with either IDS or Liam Fox. Nominations close tomorrow and the vote’s on Wednesday…

mdi-timer 10 October 2022 @ 13:51 10 Oct 2022 @ 13:51 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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