DUP: We’d “Rather Be Shafted By Labour” Than Accept Backstop

Tory MPs turned out in force for last night’s weekly ERG meeting, with around 80 MPs in attendance as well as notable guests including Chief Whip Julian Smith and May’s Deputy Chief of Staff, JoJo Penn. Jacob Rees-Mogg informed the ERG of the outcome of his and Steve Baker’s earlier meeting with Nigel Dodds, where Dodds made clear that the DUP would support the Government in any confidence motion if the Withdrawal Agreement was rejected. If the Withdrawal Agreement went through their support was far from certain…

Also in attendance were DUP MPs Sammy Wilson – who was “cheered to the rafters” by Tory MPs – and Ian Paisley Jr, who made the point directly to Julian Smith’s face that while the DUP had been very happy working with the Tories, they would “rather be shafted by Labour” than accept the backstop. As Dodds pointed out later on Peston, you don’t need a General Election to bring down a government:

Smith himself addressed the meeting later on, while he didn’t get a hostile reception from the ERG, his points were all shot down in the detail. Smith suggested that some tinkering was possible but gave an impression of a government that was reluctant to ask EU member states for any further changes. The overall message remained clear: it’s the PM’s deal or nothing, the Government has no other plans. And they wonder why the EU has been able to play them like a fiddle from start to finish…

Ian Paisley Narrowly Survives

Ian Paisley Jr has survived his recall petition by a narrow margin of 444 votes. 7,099 constituents voted to recall Paisley following his Sri Lankan shenanigans, making up only 9.4% of his North Antrim constituency and falling just short of the 10% margin required in order to trigger a by-election. Even Sinn Fein’s illicit efforts to unseat him were unsuccessful.

Paisley still has to serve the remainder of his 30-day suspension from Parliament which will keep him out until November. Plenty of time for another holiday or two…

Sinn Fein MLA Breaks Electoral Law on Paisley Petition

Ian Paisley’s recall ballot over his undeclared trip to Sri Lanka closed at 5pm today, with the result expected in the early hours of tomorrow morning. Sinn Fein assembly member Philip McGuigan was caught out trying too hard to unseat Paisley, posting a video last night encouraging people to go out and vote because the vote “is on a knife edge”. Tweeting about the result like this while the ballot is ongoing is in violation of electoral law…

He has now deleted his tweet and replaced it with one saying that it was “safe to predict that the petition closes today at 5pm”. It’s safe to predict that Guido will bring you the result tomorrow morning…

UPDATE: McGuigan has started a row with the NI Electoral Office over being forced to take his video down. Either way, he lost

Runners & Riders: Standards Committee Chair

Standards Committee Chair Sir Kevin Baron resigned yesterday citing his frustration with the lack of transparency in Parliamentary investigations. Thankfully there are a good number in Parliament who are experienced in the field of standards investigations. As ever, Guido brings you the most experienced runners and riders to take on this auspicious role…

  • Keith Vaz: On the two year anniversary of the formal investigation being opened into his conduct, who else has more experience of standards investigations? His litany of misadventures is like that of no other MP. Vaz seems to be the clearly most experienced for the post.
  • Jared O’Mara: Although new to parliament O’Mara has already made a big impact. A rising star who the Standards Committee will already know well.
  • Damian Green: Time on his hands now he’s out of the cabinet. Very driven. Hard worker.
  • Stephen Crabb: Gets on very well with potential staff. Too well.
  • Debbie Abrahams: Sacked from the front bench after bullying allegations. On the look out for a new job…
  • Dan Poulter: Experienced with disciplinary investigations. Plenty of hands on experience.
  • Ian Paisley Jr: Despite his 30 day parliamentary suspension beginning yesterday, he would be a perfect fit for the role. Once he returns to work.
  • John Bercow: Had promised to retire from his current job by now. Knows how to get away with all sorts of shenanigans. He acts like a shop steward already…
  • Clive ‘On Your Knees Bitch’ Lewis: Erudite, used to complaints, and out of favour with his party leadership after he and Owen Jones appeared to be manoeuvring to oust Corbyn last year. He has enough time on his hands…

Ian Paisley Jr Suspended From Commons

From the House of Commons standards committee:

Mr Paisley and his family made two visits to Sri Lanka in March/April 2013 and July 2013. These visits were paid for by the Sri Lankan government. Although the precise value of the hospitality offered cannot be precisely calculated, they were of a value significantly in excess of the then registration threshold of £660. (The Daily Telegraph claimed that the cost of the visits was £100,000; Mr Paisley accepts an estimate of about £50,000.) Mr Paisley did not register either visit in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests. 

Very strong sanction:

In view of the seriousness of this matter, we recommend that Mr Paisley be suspended from the service of the House for a period of 30 sitting days starting on 4 September 2018. We also require that Mr Paisley register the benefits he received from the Sri Lankan government which will be italicised in the Register to indicate that they are a late entry.

30 sitting days from the 4 September takes us into November. This is a Brexiteer vote in the Commons lost…

Ian Paisley Jnr Reads Out Guido’s Story on Labour’s Brexit Positions

Another happy reader

“So, Boris Can Wait…” Tory Karaoke in Full

Tory conference finally saw the energy and passion it has been lacking this week courtesy of the InHouse Communications karaoke night. Partygoers witnessed peak Matt Hancock as he took to the stage to sing Happy Birthday to himself, before performing a high octane duet of Don’t Stop Me Now with Therese Coffey (watch above). James Cleverly and Kelly Tolhurst attempted Don’t Go Breaking My Heart before Clevz redeemed himself with a more impressive rendition of Twist and Shout, complete with memorable hip action. Will Quince demonstrated surprising depth as he had the room hand-waving to My Way. Nigel Evans gave us Delilah, David Mundell just about made his way through 500 Miles and a Brexit-backing cross-party trio of Paul Scully, Anne-Marie Trevelyan and Ian Paisley Jnr had the room rocking to Sweet CarolineThen it was the turn of the Lobby…

Faisal Islam took great pleasure in adapting the lyrics of Don’t Look Back in Anger to belt out “So, Boris can wait” – just the latest MSM smear. Dan Hodges and Glen Owen teamed up with Number 10 Sunday Lobby specialist Kirsty Buchanan to murder Mr Brightside. An emotional David Wooding, one arm raised aloft, sang You’ll Never Walk Alone, the only time he’ll be able to do that in Manchester. The night ended with Number 10’s Richard “Tricky” Jackson nailing You Raise Me Up. Hic…

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Ruth Davidson on working with PM Boris

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