Boris On Glarstonbury

Boris is bang on about Jez’s “Orphic spell“.

And he’s been pronouncing it GlAARstonbury for years:

The place has been full of poshos for decades…

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…

Hundreds of Fire Doors Missing From Camden Blocks

Will Corbyn and McDonnell want to politicise this? Hundreds of fire doors were missing from tower blocks in Labour-run Camden following recent inspections. You can bet if it were a Tory-run council Labour MPs and the Corbynista online army would be a lot more vocal…

Nigel Dodds Threatens to Publish Labour’s 2010 and 2015 Correspondence With DUP

Well this would be a lot of fun at the expense of hypocritical Labour MPs this afternoon. Go on Nigel, you know you want to…

Corbyn Refuses to Bow to the Queen

As everyone around him nods their head to acknowledge Her Majesty, Corbyn stubbornly refuses to bow. He then winks to a colleague. Emboldened, Jezza not selling out on his republican views…

UPDATE: Team Jez say Corbyn observed the correct protocol and that he was not expected to bow. They reckon Theresa May got the protocol wrong…

UPDATE II: Guido and Damian McBride have had a look through the archives at previous State Openings of Parliament to check the precedent. Neither Dave nor Jez bowed last year, though in 2013 Cameron and Ed Miliband did bow their heads to acknowledge the Queen. In 2009 Gordon Brown bowed his head too, so the previous Tory and last two Labour leaders all felt bowing was appropriate at some point. Guido reckons it is fair to say bowing is very much optional and not mandatory, and Corbyn – as expected with his long-held republican beliefs – decided against…

Dennis Skinner’s Ascot-Themed Queen’s Speech Joke

Not Skinner’s worst joke:

“Get your skates on, first race is half past two.”

The Queen is rushing off to Ascot once her duties in parliament are over…

“Self-Serving Parasite” Bercow Breaks Promise to MPs

With crushing inevitability, John Bercow has told Sky News he is going to break his promise to stand down as Speaker after nine years and instead go on until 2022. Bercow says laughably that “we’re in a very different situation” and that because Theresa May changed her mind about calling an election he is within his rights to change his too. A pitiful excuse even by his standards.

Guido has dug out Bercow’s manifesto circulated to MPs when he ran for Speaker in 2009. Bercow told colleagues that “as a matter of principle” he believed Speakers should not outstay their welcome, and promised that

“if you do me the honour of electing me, I will serve for no longer than two full Parliaments and, in any event, for no more than 9 years in total. I say this because any Speaker should be able to make a mark in that time”

He has gone back on his word, and it is going down very badly among MPs…

Scourge of Bercow James Duddridge tells Guido:

“He said he would only serve until the 22nd June 2018. He has broken his manifesto promise to to go at this date. He is a disgrace and should not be reelected as Speaker if he is returned as an MP. He is a self-serving parasite of the worst order.”

Karl McCartney adds:

“He does not command loyalty across the House, except from those who owe him, and has used up any goodwill any of my colleagues may have had for him in the past.”

And Andrew Bridgen tells Guido:

“Speaker Bercow has already ripped up every page of the rulebook on impartiality, and now he has ripped up his manifesto pledges.”

Another Tory candidate says:

“It is about time Parliament had a truly independent Speaker rather than anymore of this third rate third Labour supporting Speaker. He has brought the exalted position into disrepute with his personal life and opinionated pontifications and his fellow MPs do not like being taken for granted, or for fools.”

Four extra years of Bercow coming up if he wins reelection after June 8. No one will be more annoyed than Chris Bryant and Lindsay Hoyle…

Jeremy Corbyn’s Greatest Hits

For the final PMQs of this parliament Jeremy Corbyn graced us with a selection of his greatest hits, and of course no Best of Jez Compilation would be complete without him reading out bizarre letters from improbable sounding individuals. Today was the turn of Maureen and Sybil, who apparently aren’t characters in an Enid Blyton novel but are actually 100% non-fictional Labour supporters. Happily Maureen wanted to have a moan about her pension, and Sybil was writing to let Jeremy know that at the age of 88 she was now afraid to go into hospital. Isn’t every 88 year old?

But the coalition of victimhood wasn’t complete just yet. The Labour leader went on to wail about housing (worse now than it has ever been at any time since the Normans invaded and we lived in little mud huts); and of course his favourite myth:an education system that relies on begging letters from schools to maintain employment and books in the classroom”. All the while he painted a picture of a Britain full of downtrodden yet whiny little peasants being repeatedly stamped on by the capitalist jackboot.

That’s how Jeremy Corbyn views the world you see, as some sort of Ken Loach-esque struggle between the plucky oppressed proletariat and the evil capitalist monster let loose by an indifferent state. In this absurd alternate reality 88-year-olds called Sybil are marching hand in hand with non-binary inter-sectional lesbians and coal-stained miners straight out of the pit. Think the Pepsi advert, but more nauseating.

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Pickles PMQ That Pressured Farron to Sack Ward

Sir Eric uses his last PMQ to great effect…

May to Corbyn: “You Are Not Up to the Job”

Election PMQs: Who’s Asking the Questions?

Q1 Michael Fabricant (Lichfield) What recent assessment she has made of the (a) performance of the economy and (b) adequacy of provision of public services in the West Midlands; and if she will make a statement.

Q2 Richard Drax (South Dorset) If she will list her official engagements for Wednesday 26 April.

Q3 Ben Howlett (Bath)

Q4 Tom Blenkinsop (Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland)

Q5 Jason McCartney (Colne Valley)

Q6 Rachael Maskell (York Central)

Q7 Chris Stephens (Glasgow South West)

Q8 Mary Robinson (Cheadle)

Q9 Byron Davies (Gower)

Q10 Julian Sturdy (York Outer)

Q11 Stephen Timms (East Ham)

Q12 Dr Alan Whitehead (Southampton, Test)

Q13 Steven Paterson (Stirling)

Q14 Iain Stewart (Milton Keynes South)

Q15 Sir Jeffrey M. Donaldson (Lagan Valley)

Comments in the comments…

Kim Jong-Corbyn Says “Debate Me Wu Coward”

Jeremy Corbyn came straight out at PMQs today to demand the PM face him in televised election debates. Brows furrowed throughout the House at a proposition akin to a quadruple amputee breezily strolling up to Usain Bolt and going: “go on, I’ll give you a race, you chubby biped!”. Does anything faze this man? Lacking any sort of analytical or reasoning abilities? No problem. Not even really knowing how to correctly do up a necktie? Who cares?  Being as photogenic as a urine-stained tramp whisked out of the gutter and chucked into an oversized suit? “Meh! Debate me you wimp!”

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13 MPs Who Voted Against Election

Here is the full list of 13 MPs who just voted against the general election:

  • Dennis Skinner
  • Ronnie Campbell
  • Ann Clwyd
  • Paul Farrelly
  • Jim Fitzpatrick
  • Lady Hermon
  • Clive Lewis
  • Fiona Mactaggart
  • Liz McInnes
  • Alasdair McDonnell
  • Graham Stringer
  • Michelle Thomson
  • Natalie McGarry

Frit…

#Yvette2017 Underway: “We Can’t Believe A Single Word May Says”

Huge cheers from the Labour benches as Yvette Cooper skewered Theresa May on her broken snap election promise. Manoeuvring underway, Yvette is 13/1  (UPDATE: Now into 8/1) to be next Labour leader…

Election PMQs: Who’s Asking the Questions?

At 12 noon Oral Questions to the Prime Minister

Q1 Alberto Costa (South Leicestershire) If she will list her official engagements for Wednesday 19 April

Q2 Michelle Donelan (Chippenham)

Q3 Jeff Smith (Manchester, Withington)

Q4 Mary Robinson (Cheadle)

Q5 Gerald Jones (Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney)

Q6 David Mackintosh (Northampton South)

Q7 Jenny Chapman (Darlington)

Q8 Mr Philip Hollobone (Kettering) If she will visit Kettering constituency.

Q9 Maria Caulfield (Lewes)

Q10 Derek Thomas (St Ives)

Q11 John Stevenson (Carlisle)

Q12 Paul Scully (Sutton and Cheam)

Q13 Graham Jones (Hyndburn)

Q14 Sir David Amess (Southend West)

Q15 Richard Benyon (Newbury)

Snap Election Blows Speaker Race Wide Open

The snap election has potentially huge consequences for the race to be the next Speaker. The Commons votes to elect a Speaker at the beginning of each parliamentary term – custom dictates that John Bercow be re-elected should he desire to carry on. He has previously said he would serve nine years, taking him to 2018, then that he wanted to stay on until 2020. Bercow has indicated he intends to stand on June 8, so what does that mean for his successor?

Lindsay Hoyle was the overwhelming favourite to be the next Speaker. He had hoped to be appointed before the next election so he wouldn’t have a challenger. Yet Hoyle has a perilous 4,530 majority in Chorley. Labour sources believe anything under 8,000 is under threat. His predecessor in the seat was Tory – Chorley has flip-flopped between Labour and Tory MPs since the war. Chorley voted 57% to Leave the EU. As one MP told Guido last night:

“Lindsay will be feeling rough. He had hoped to be made Speaker before the election. Now he may lose his seat.”

The race to succeed Bercow would be blown wide open…

New York Times Thinks Sketch is Serious

The New York Times has interpreted a British newspaper sketch as if it were a serious news report. Patrick Kidd – parliamentary sketch writer for The Timeswrote of an Emmanuel Macron rally:

“My masters at school, I will be honest, had not properly prepared me for the task of following an hour-long speech in rapid French. Mr Macron did not ask for directions to la gare once, for example. Nor did he invite anyone in the audience to come to une boum chez lui ce week-end. He didn’t even say “zut” or “bof”. One wondered if he was French at all.”

But in a brilliant example of our ‘separation by a common language’, the gray lady missed the joke. In an online photo essay ominously titled ‘Will London Fall‘, Sarah Lyall wrote:

“He could not tell his readers exactly what Mr. Macron said, however, because, as he boasted in the article, he does not really speak French, although he studied it in school. But why should he make an effort, seemed to be the idea, when it is so easy to ridicule the French for being French, and when to be English is to feel superior to your neighbors?…

“Mr. Kidd’s hauteur isn’t surprising, given that Mr. Murdoch’s papers and the rest of the country’s right-leaning news media have spent decades nurturing an ancient anti-Europe narrative long reflected in the Conservative Party’s Euroskeptic wing. If London, or at least much of London, has welcomed or tolerated all the changes, many people around Britain, particularly from older generations, have lamented that they no longer recognize the country of their childhoods.”

To which Mr Kidd replies this morning:

God bless the “failing New York Times”…

H/T: Ned Donovan

Grayling Ignores Calls For HS2 Inquiry

Chris Grayling came under fire from all sides at a bad-tempered Transport Questions this morning. He ignored calls from the Shadow Transport Secretary Andy MacDonald and Tory MP Cheryl Gillan for an inquiry into the HS2 – CH2m shambles. MacDonald not unreasonably said the story “stinks to high heaven”, Grayling laughably replied that the cancelling of a £170 million contract was not a “massive” issue. Wonder what CH2M think about that. Notable how Grayling carefully distanced himself from the beleaguered “independent” HS2 board…

PMQs / Article 50 Double Bill

Jeremy Corbyn kicked off today’s PMQs by leveraging last Wednesday’s events to ask the PM for more police funding so they have “the necessary resources with which to do the job”. This makes perfect sense of course because if we arm every policeman with a .50 cal and equip PCSOs with mounted exoskeletons capable of shooting hellfire missiles then we’ll be terror-proof. What’s more, once we’ve turned the British Bobby into ‘The Terminator’, Jeremy Corbyn will have free reign to virtue signal about our militarised police state and their appalling atrocities. Win-win.

That’s the thing with Jeremy, he loves the police right up until the point where they have to actually do their job and pulse fifty thousand volts through some nutjob with a knife. Then they become worrying quasi-fascist rogue operatives bent on shooting to kill and destroying our civil liberties.

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PMQs: Who’s Asking the Questions?

Oral Questions to the Prime Minister

Q1 Danny Kinahan (South Antrim) If she will list her official engagements for Wednesday 29 March

Q2 Bill Esterson (Sefton Central)

Q3 Carolyn Harris (Swansea East)

Q4 Tulip Siddiq (Hampstead and Kilburn)

Q5 Alex Salmond (Gordon)

Q6 Marion Fellows (Motherwell and Wishaw)

Q7 Mr Ranil Jayawardena (North East Hampshire)

Q8 Victoria Atkins (Louth and Horncastle)

Q9 Julian Sturdy (York Outer)

Q10 David Mackintosh (Northampton South)

Q11 Bill Wiggin (North Herefordshire) If she will introduce an award in recognition of the contribution made by munitions workers in the First and Second World Wars

Q12 David T.[…] Read the rest

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Quote of the Day

Sky’s Faisal Islam on the mood in Parliament at the moment:

“It’s a totally febrile atmosphere here. It’s kind of like Game of Thrones meets House of Cards – and if you chuck in the Labour Party – Laurel and Hardy too.”

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