Another Meaningless Vote Confirmed for Monday

Andrea Leadsom has just revealed Parliamentary business for next week. Monday will see another Brexit vote, but not a meaningful one. Section 13(4) of the Withdrawal Act relates to the Government making a statement relating to the next steps they will take rather than a meaningful vote itself. Parliament will then vote it in a motion that Bercow has decided is amendable. Expect another deluge of Remainer wrecking amendments, all helped along by the Speaker…

Peter Bone Skewers the Prime Minister on A50 Extension

“The Prime Minister in this House has said 108 times that we will be leaving the European Union on 29th March… Prime Minister, if you continue to apply for an extension to Article 50 you will be betraying the British people. If you don’t you will be honouring their instruction. Prime Minister, it is entirely down to you.”

Punchy…

PMQs: Who’s Asking the Questions?

Q1 Pete Wishart (Perth and North Perthshire) (SNP)
Q2 Dr Roberta Blackman-Woods (City of Durham) (Lab)
Q3 Lloyd Russell-Moyle (Brighton, Kemptown) (Lab)
Q4 Colin Clark (Gordon) (Con)
Q5 Alex Norris (Nottingham North) (Lab)
Q6 Peter Aldous (Waveney) (Con)
Q7 Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con)
Q8 Vicky Ford (Chelmsford) (Con)
Q9 Seema Malhotra (Feltham and Heston) (Lab)
Q10 Catherine West (Hornsey and Wood Green) (Lab)
Q11 Derek Thomas (St Ives) (Con)
Q12 Stephen Gethins (North East Fife) (SNP)
Q13 Bill Grant (Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock) (Con)
Q14 Tim Loughton (East Worthing and Shoreham) (Con)
Q15 Ged Killen (Rutherglen and Hamilton West) (Lab)

Comments in the comments…

16 Times Bercow Threw Away Precedent

John Bercow is enjoying hogging the headlines once again after his extraordinary statement yesterday throwing Brexit into significantly more turmoil by blocking a third meaningful vote. Bercow claims to be following precedent which stretches back to 1604. It’s funny because normally he’s more interested in tearing up precedent and riding roughshod over the solemn responsibilities of his office than following them. Guido takes you through some of his greatest hits:

  1. 6th February 2017: Dispensed with neutrality and attempted to bar the US President from addressing Parliament, without consulting the Lords Speaker, despite hosting numerous representatives of authoritarian regimes himself.
  2. 6th February 2017: Scrapped wigs for clerks
  3. 29th June 2017: Overruled convention on MPs’ ties
  4. 12th March 2018: Chaired debate on his own bullying despite his requirement for neutrality.
  5. 2nd May 2018: Used his position in an unfit way to call his patsy Julian Lewis to lavish praise on him
  6. 16th May 2018: Conspired with the Opposition to come up with arcane Parliamentary procedures to frustrate Brexit.
  7. 17th May 2018: Granted excessive numbers of SO24 debates, allowing Labour to bombard the Government to gain partisan support.
  8. 11th June 2018: Preferential treatment of one specific MP – Keith Vaz. Granted one of the most pointless urgent questions to Vaz over foreign military attack on third country while generally allowing Vaz more questions than any other MP.
  9. 13th June 2018: Bullied Claire Perry
  10. 6th November 2018: Stitched up Parliament’s bullying enquiry by ruling out taking action in individual cases to protect himself
  11. 7th November 2018: Misused his personal veto in order to block investigation into Keith Vaz
  12. 22nd November 2018: Bullied Andrea Leadsom out of the chamber
  13. 18th May 2018: Uses his position to reject standards probe into him calling Andrea Leadsom a stupid woman in the chamber.
  14. 9th January 2019: Overruled clerks’ advice to select the Grieve amendment in order to delay Brexit
  15. 14th March 2019: Refused to select the cross-party amendment B despite it having cross party support of 127 MPs, more than every other selected amendment put together.
  16. Ongoing: Refuses to honour his election to speaker pledge which notes he would serve for no more than 9 years in total.

Brexiteer MPs who have somehow got the idea that Bercow is trying to help them out in their quest to secure no deal are gravely mistaken. Bercow explicitly advised Remainer MPs how to continue their anti-Brexit machinations, telling them to table SO24 emergency debates which he will grant and then allow them to table amendments to, entirely breaching precedent again. Of course he will allow Benn, Cooper, Boles and Letwin to table their coup amendments as many times as they like to take over Parliamentary business, despite them having already been defeated twice. Breaching Parliamentary precedent once again…

It increasingly looks like the Government will simply table a Meaningful Vote motion anyway and dare Bercow to rule it out of order, or use a secondary motion of some sort to bypass his block. Former Commons Clerk Evan Paul Silk reckons it “should not be difficult for the Government to produce a motion that complies with it.” Steve Barclay said as much this morning. Guido takes no pleasure in seeing that his warning last year that Bercow will do everything he can to block Brexit is coming true…

Leadsom Slams Bercow For Lack of “Courtesy and Respect”

During an explosive session in the Commons this afternoon, Andrea Leadsom slammed Bercow for not treating colleagues “with courtesy and respect.” Naturally, he responded by ignoring her…

Parliament Holds Minute’s Silence for New Zealand Victims

“This barbarity, this evil, this depravity will not prevail.”

The 412 MPs Who Voted to Delay Brexit

412 MPs voted in favour of Theresa May’s motion calling for an extension of Article 50 at least until 30 June, in direct defiance of hundreds of explicit on-the-record promises from the Prime Minister herself. A shameful day for politics.

There were still 202 MPs who voted against an extension, including well over half of Tory MPs. 190 Tories including Cabinet ministers Liam Fox, Chris Grayling, Penny Mordaunt, Gavin Williamson, Andrea Leadsom, Alun Cairns and Liz Truss as well as numerous ministers all rejected May’s motion. Incredibly, Steve Barclay who closed the debate for the Government in favour of the motion then went and voted against it, while May’s Chief Whip Julian Smith abstained…

All 10 DUP MPs also voted against it, as well as Frank Field. Only three Labour MPs voted against the delay: Stephen Hepburn, Kate Hoey and Graham Stringer. The 412 MPs who voted to delay Brexit were:

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MP Admits Knife GPS Tracker Idea Was ‘Probably A Bit Sh*t’

Scott Mann has made a pretty decent recovery from his hilariously bad ‘knife GPS’ idea this morning, reading through joke tweet replies with Johnny Mercer. Although Guido agrees he does have a point about knife crime being a serious issue. 17.4 million people were stabbed in the back yesterday…

Blue on Former Blue

The Commons was treated to a patch of blue on former blue this afternoon as Michael Gove made a gentle poke at Anna Soubry’s lengthy questioning. She hit back at him taking aim at Tory cuts to the Legal Aid… which she voted for…

PMQs: Who’s Asking the Questions?

Q1 Mr John Baron (Basildon and Billericay) (Con)
Q2 Rosie Duffield (Canterbury) (Lab)
Q3 Jo Platt (Leigh) (Lab)
Q4 Bridget Phillipson (Houghton and Sunderland South) (Lab)
Q5 Emma Reynolds (Wolverhampton North East) (Lab)
Q6 Andrew Rosindell (Romford) (Con)
Q7 Lyn Brown (West Ham) (Lab)
Q8 Mike Wood (Dudley South) (Con)
Q9 Mr Stephen Hepburn (Jarrow) (Lab)
Q10 Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con)
Q11 Mr Shailesh Vara (North West Cambridgeshire) (Con)
Q12 Mr Alistair Carmichael (Orkney and Shetland) (LD)
Q13 Rachel Maclean (Redditch) (Con)
Q14 Huw Merriman (Bexhill and Battle) (Con)
Q15 Dr Paul Williams (Stockton South) (Lab)

Will May’s poorly voice last the session?

Switcher Watch: Which MPs are Switching to Back the Deal?

Despite the damning legal advice from the Attorney General and the Brexit ‘Star Chamber’ earlier, there are still reports of Tory MPs who are indicating that they will switch to backing the deal today, after opposing it last time. It’s going to take a lot to overcome a defeat of 230…

Guido has compiled a list to keep track of them (24):

  • John Baron
  • Bob Blackman
  • Ben Bradley
  • David Davis
  • Nigel Evans
  • James Gray
  • Greg Hands
  • Robert Halfon
  • John Lamont
  • Tim Loughton
  • Johnny Mercer
  • Andrew Mitchell
  • Matthew Offord
  • Mike Penning
  • Mark Pritchard
  • Hugo Swire
  • Robert Syms
  • Derek Thomas
  • Martin Vickers
  • Giles Watling
  • Tracey Crouch
  • Will Quince
  • Damien Moore

Get in touch with any updates…

Bryant Tickles Cox

Chris Bryant got Geoffrey Cox chuckling at the Despatch Box after regaling an unexpected anecdote…

McDonnell: EU Could Offer a Three Month Article 50 Extension

Cox’s Codpiece Corker

Tory Mufasa Geoffrey Cox has enthusiastically embraced the description of his backstop alteration as a “codpiece”, telling a highly entertained House of Commons:

“What I am concerned to ensure is that what’s inside the codpiece is in full working order.”

Bercow can’t help himself from ruining the joke by spelling it out afterwards…

May Triggers Mass SNP Uproar at PMQs

Theresa May triggered an extended bout of SNP outrage at PMQs after saying that they had no mandate to continue pursuing Scottish independence, leading to a particularly lengthy fit of “orders” from Bercow. Readers can judge for themselves whether Rebecca Pow’s question on washing machines was worth waiting for…

PMQs: Who’s Asking the Questions?

Q1 Tim Farron (Westmorland and Lonsdale) (LD)
Q2 Simon Hoare (North Dorset) (Con)
Q3 Phil Wilson (Sedgefield) (Lab)
Q4 Dan Jarvis (Barnsley Central) (Lab)
Q5 Anna McMorrin (Cardiff North) (Lab)
Q6 Kirsty Blackman (Aberdeen North) (SNP)
Q7 Deidre Brock (Edinburgh North and Leith) (SNP)
Q8 Huw Merriman (Bexhill and Battle) (Con)
Q9 Mhairi Black (Paisley and Renfrewshire South) (SNP)
Q10 Dr David Drew (Stroud) (Lab)
Q11 Chris Philp (Croydon South) (Con)
Q12 Paul Girvan (South Antrim) (DUP)
Q13 Marsha De Cordova (Battersea) (Lab)
Q14 Alan Brown (Kilmarnock and Loudoun) (SNP)
Q15 Chris Stephens (Glasgow South West) (SNP)

Comments in the comments…

Lib Dem Earl Asks What Government is Doing about High Price of Theatre Tickets

The Earl of Glasgow, one of the four hereditary Lib Dem peers, has made a weighty intervention in the Lords… to challenge the Government over what it is doing to tackle the high price of theatre tickets. Good to see the Lib Dems focusing on the issues most important to voters…

Parliamentary Staff Lash Out at “Kick in the Chuddies” as MPs Get Almost Double Their Pay Rise

Parliamentary staffers have reacted with fury to the news that MPs are set to get a pay rise almost double the size of their hardworking staff. IPSA revealed today that MPs would be getting a 2.7% pay rise this year, while staff budgets would only be going up by 1.5%. That’s only an uplift on the total staff budget, not even a payrise on individual salaries…

Staffer WhatsApp groups have been buzzing with angry messages with some angry aides even joking about going on strike. One staffer wrote “So pissed off! Have sent an angry email to IPSA…won’t do any good, but 🤬🤬🤬”, another said “I’m on page 3 and it’s already making me furious. No parity increase so as to avoid setting a precedent. Shameful.” Another irate aide memorably described it as “A kick in the chuddies for all the work we’ve been doing”…

IPSA were even warned that an outcry would happen would happen last month, with members of the Speaker’s Committee telling the IPSA Chair and Chief Executive that:

“on the pure visuals of saying that MPs are getting this much and their staff that much… we are kind of giving [the press] a target to go after… I realise where we are on this and the logic behind it, but we have to come up with something that stops it looking quite so bad”.

IPSA’s Chair responded that they had “looked at what was affordable” but did not want to “set a precedent by creating parity”. If an increase for staff is so unaffordable then why are MPs getting almost twice as much?

ERG Splits On Latest Brexit Vote Overblown

Last night’s Brexit votes were notable less for what they were than the way Tory MPs voted on them. The Government ultimately accepted the new Cooper Amendment F which recommitted them to the timetable for a vote on delaying Brexit that May first offered on Tuesday, imposing a poorly organised three-line whip in favour of the amendment which led to chaos in the voting lobbies. Chris Grayling was spotted in the wrong lobby and the Prime Minister reportedly even had to ask a whip which way to vote…

Despite the confusion, over 100 Tory MPs directly defied the three-line whip to abstain or even vote against the amendment, not a remotely trivial number in itself. However the most interesting subplot that emerged was the split between the 88 MPs who abstained, and the 20 MPs who directly voted against it, including Esther McVey and Bill Cash. Could this be the start of the split between the hard core who will never vote for May’s deal under any circumstances and the group who could come round to it if enough concessions are secured by Geoffrey Cox? Even more significantly, does this signify the minimum number of Tory MPs who would vote for May’s removal in a vote of no confidence if she were to extend Article 50?

ERG sources have played down the significance of the split, the ERG were naturally opposed to the amendment but beyond that were not particularly fussed about whether to vote against it or simply to abstain, given its ultimate lack of significance. Guido also understands that reports of splits emerging between Boris and Rees-Mogg on the one hand and Steve Baker on the other have been much overblown – while Jacob did hint at a slight softening of his position on full-on treaty change to the backstop yesterday, sources close to the three have categorically dismissed reports of any splits emerging between them. Everything still hinges on what, if anything, Cox can bring back from Brussels…

The 20 MPs who voted against the Cooper amendment outright were:

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Corbyn Quotes Marx at the Despatch Box

Corbyn had a choice quote to attack May with in Parliament today:

“They say, Mr Speaker, history repeats itself, first time as tragedy, second time as farce…”

What Corbyn didn’t mention was that “they” is actually Karl Marx, in his 1852 essay The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon.[…] Read the rest “Corbyn Quotes Marx at the Despatch Box”

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Quote of the Day

Andrea Leadsom told BBC Radio 4’s Today

“He’s made his views on Brexit on the record, and the problem with that of course is that the chair’s impartiality is absolutely essential. … He’s made his views known on Brexit… it’s a matter for him but nevertheless it’s a challenge and all colleagues need to form their own view of that.”

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