PMQs: Who’s Asking the Questions?

Q1 Alex Sobel (Leeds North West) (Lab)
Q2 Alex Cunningham (Stockton North) (Lab)
Q3 Sandy Martin (Ipswich) (Lab)
Q4 Karin Smyth (Bristol South) (Lab)
Q5 Justin Madders (Ellesmere Port and Neston) (Lab)
Q6 Jack Brereton (Stoke-on-Trent South) (Con)
Q7 Deidre Brock (Edinburgh North and Leith) (SNP)
Q8 Kirstene Hair (Angus) (Con)
Q9 Chris Green (Bolton West) (Con)
Q10 Gareth Snell (Stoke-on-Trent Central) (Lab)
Q11 Mary Glindon (North Tyneside) (Lab)
Q12 Patrick Grady (Glasgow North) (SNP)
Q13 Paula Sherriff (Dewsbury) (Lab)
Q14 Hugh Gaffney (Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill) (Lab)

Only three to go, will May use the opportunity to say what she really thinks about Trump?

New Independent Group in Parliament Launches

Just in case things weren’t confusing enough after the Change UK/Independent Group split, a new grouping called The Independents has now launched, including some – but not all – of the rump of the Independent Group. Rather than being a party they say they are structured as a “co-operative” instead. Hopefully they manage to work together more cooperatively than Change UK did

At launch they have five MPs – Independent Groupers Heidi Allen, Luciana Berger, Gavin Shuker and Angela Smith plus former Labour MP John Woodcock, although there’s no sign of Sarah Wollaston. Looks like they won’t be following Chuka to the Lib Dems just yet…

They are making a big feature of their values, rather than political positions, and their independent complaints procedure which Woodcock has already referred himself to in order to resolve the outstanding Labour complaint which Labour deliberately left hanging over him. Can they succeed where TIG/CUK/RA/FC_N failed…?

UPDATE: Even more confusingly, they’re separate from another pet project launched today by Heidi Allen called “Unite to Remain” which will try to get the unruly mass of pro-Remain parties to work together. Or alternatively, try to maintain any sort of media relevance for Heidi herself…

Grieve Amendment Not Selected

Dominic Grieve’s amendment to the Northern Ireland Bill attempting to make it impossible to prorogue Parliament in Autumn has not been selected. Grieve’s amendment was clearly far beyond the scope of the Bill as well as carrying a range of constitutional baggage. Although that’s hardly stopped Bercow before…

What has stopped him is the fact that as it’s a Committee of the whole House, he’s not in the Chair, it’s a Deputy Speaker instead. Eleanor Laing proving herself far more capable of dispensing the solemn responsibilities of the Speaker’s Chair than Bercow…

UPDATE: Legal eagle Nikki da Costa notes that while three other Grieve amendments have been selected for debate, it’s doubtful that they will achieve his desired purpose. It won’t be the last time he tries…

Commons Executive Board to Recommend Scrapping MPs’ Exclusive Areas in Parliament

MPs could lose their exclusive access to some of Parliament’s best bars and restaurants under new recommendations being drawn up by the Commons Executive Board. They are holding a consultation as part of their response to the Cox Report into bullying and harassment in Westminster. A draft seen by Guido shows that they plan to recommend that staffers no longer be barred from MP-only areas like Strangers’ Bar, the gilded Pugin Room and the riverside Terrace. The plans are intended to end the culture of “them and us” relationships between MPs and staffers…

The draft states that “grade status (i.e. SCS, A-E) should play absolutely no role in determining whether any passholder can access a facility or service on the Estate”. Facilities like members-only toilets and showers would also be opened up to all passholders. Even more radically, the proposals could allow non-MPs to gain “exceptional access” to the Smoking Room, the Members’ Tea Room, Members’ Dining Room, and Members’ Lobby. Parliament’s old guard are not going to be pleased…

Labour MP’s Bare-Faced TV Licence Hypocrisy

Scottish Labour MP Hugh Gaffney went on a rant at PMQs over the Government not doing enough for free BBC TV licences. As May pointed out, it’s for the BBC to answer why they can afford to increase their “talent bill” yet again while taking away pensioners’ free licences…

Not that Gaffney needs to be too worried himself, it turns out he’s quite happy for other people to pay for his own TV licence – despite his MP’s salary of £79,468 a year, he’s claimed his £150.50 TV licence off the hardworking taxpayer instead. Classic!

PMQs: Who’s Asking the Questions?

Q1 Neil Coyle (Bermondsey and Old Southwark) (Lab)
Q2 Sir Hugo Swire (East Devon) (Con)
Q3 Paul Blomfield (Sheffield Central) (Lab)
Q4 Vernon Coaker (Gedling) (Lab)
Q5 Matt Western (Warwick and Leamington) (Lab)
Q6 Chris Bryant (Rhondda) (Lab)
Q7 Mr Kevan Jones (North Durham) (Lab)
Q8 Hugh Gaffney (Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill) (Lab)
Q9 Alan Brown (Kilmarnock and Loudoun) (SNP)
Q10 Mr Gregory Campbell (East Londonderry) (DUP)
Q11 Andrew Lewer (Northampton South) (Con)
Q12 James Morris (Halesowen and Rowley Regis) (Con)
Q13 Sir Oliver Heald (North East Hertfordshire) (Con)
Q14 Jonathan Reynolds (Stalybridge and Hyde) (Lab)
Q15 Grahame Morris (Easington) (Lab)

Just four more to endure…

McDonnell Gives Hammond Red Book By Anti-Semitism Denier

McDonnell told the House this afternoon that “this may be the Chancellor’s last Treasury questions” and as a result gifted him a new Little Red Book, harking back to his bizarre budget response in 2016 when he threw Mao’s little red book at George Osborne. Except this time the red book is ‘Rebel Footprints: A Guide to Uncovering London’s Radical History’ by David Rosenberg…

David Rosenberg, a Labour anti-Semitism denier, who has called Labour’s crisis an “alleged “problem” with anti-semitism” claiming that reports of anti-semitism are “very largely concocted allegations.” He has even accused Margaret Hodge of wielding “her family’s Holocaust history as a weapon.” Moving on from a Communist mass murderer to an anti-Semitism denier. Guido isn’t sure that represents great progress…

Hat-tip: Ross Kempsell

Lords Regret Commons Nodding Through £1 Trillion Policy

The House of Lords has passed a motion of regret in the House of Commons simply nodding through a £1 trillion statutory instrument on Monday. The passage of the SI took less than 90 minutes without a single vote taking place. It only required minimal scrutiny and no impact assessment had to be prepared…

Peers today voted for a motion of regret that said the Government has “given little detail of how the emissions target will be met” and “made a substantial change in policy without the full and proper scrutiny that such a change deserves.” It beggars belief that this ludicrously costly policy was passed on a whim without any scrutiny whatsoever. This should not be how the world’s fifth largest economy conducts its affairs…

Grieve to Hold Pensioners To Ransom Over No Deal Brexit

Dominic Grieve and Margaret Becket have announced that in yet another attempt to frustrate the referendum result they will propose amendments finance legislation on Tuesday to defund vital Government departments in the event of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit. The departments targeted include the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, Department for Education, and the Department for Work and Pensions. Going after support structures for disabled people, pensioners, and schoolchildren all to stop Britain properly leaving the EU…

Given that the legal default remains ‘No Deal’, and the Government has already spent in the region of £4 billion preparing for it, this is a deeply callous course of action as if parliamentary paralysis persists then Britain will leave with ‘No Deal’. It’s a likely outcome and this Remainer plan will deliberately twist the knife into vulnerable people if it goes ahead.

As Number 10’s former Director of Legislative Affairs Nikki da Costa points out, in January 20 Tory MPs voted to neuter the Government’s tax administration powers in the event of ‘No Deal’, preventing measures that will reassure business. The psychology of MPs legislating to bring government departments to a halt if they don’t get their way on Brexit is a new level of fanaticism…

May Shuts Down Boorish Blackford

The SNP’s shouty Ian Blackford managed to be even more tedious than usual at PMQs today, boring on for so long about the Tory leadership contenders that even Bercow got bored and told him to hurry up. But naturally didn’t bother to ask him to retract his accusations of lying despite it breaching Parliamentary protocol…

May came back with the sort of sparky put-down that’s been all too rare over the last three years. Impressive noise from the less than one third of Tory MPs who bothered to turn up…

PMQs: Who’s Asking the Questions?

Q1 Thangam Debbonaire (Bristol West) (Lab)
Q2 Caroline Flint (Don Valley) (Lab)
Q3 Nick Thomas-Symonds (Torfaen) (Lab)
Q4 Mr Khalid Mahmood (Birmingham, Perry Barr) (Lab)
Q5 Julian Sturdy (York Outer) (Con)
Q6 Ben Bradley (Mansfield) (Con)
Q7 Karen Lee (Lincoln) (Lab)
Q8 Jo Stevens (Cardiff Central) (Lab)
Q9 Kerry McCarthy (Bristol East) (Lab)
Q10 Stephen Pound (Ealing North) (Lab)
Q11 Emma Dent Coad (Kensington) (Lab)
Q12 Tonia Antoniazzi (Gower) (Lab)
Q13 Marion Fellows (Motherwell and Wishaw) (SNP)
Q14 Peter Grant (Glenrothes) (SNP)

So irrelevant that Hunt’s doing a big interview on Radio 2 at the same time…

Thornberry Stings Boris Over Police Visit

At Foreign Office Questions this afternoon, Damian McBride Emily Thornberry took the opportunity to sting Boris by congratulating Jeremy Hunt for “not just for getting into the final two, but also being the only candidate who has the police outside his house for the right reasons!” Ouch…

Bercow Blasted for Blanking Blackford Boris Behaviour

Tory MPs were seething with rage after Bercow intervened to tell the SNP’s Ian Blackford to withdraw his description of Boris Johnson as “racist”, only for Blackford to double down on his remarks while Bercow turned a blind eye. Bill Wiggin furiuosly took the Speaker to task over his inconsistency, Bercow responds in characteristic fashion that he’s not a “delicate flower” and doesn’t feel “any concern”. Another big fat middle finger to Parliament…

PMQs: Who’s Asking the Questions?

Q1 Mr Marcus Jones (Nuneaton) (Con)
Q2 Tonia Antoniazzi (Gower) (Lab)
Q3 Diana Johnson (Kingston upon Hull North) (Lab)
Q4 Mr Virendra Sharma (Ealing, Southall) (Lab)
Q5 Tim Loughton (East Worthing and Shoreham) (Con)
Q6 Deidre Brock (Edinburgh North and Leith) (SNP)
Q7 Nigel Mills (Amber Valley) (Con)
Q8 Alex Cunningham (Stockton North) (Lab)
Q9 Dr Paul Williams (Stockton South) (Lab)
Q10 Mike Hill (Hartlepool) (Lab)
Q11 Vicky Foxcroft (Lewisham, Deptford) (Lab)
Q12 Mary Creagh (Wakefield) (Lab)
Q13 Sarah Jones (Croydon Central) (Lab)
Q14 Paul Scully (Sutton and Cheam) (Con)

Will anyone take May to task over her wanton spending splurge on the way to the exit door?

The Ten Tories Who Voted to Hand Power to Corbyn

Oliver Letwin’s latest attempt to hijack Parliament to block Brexit ultimately flopped by a margin of 11 votes – the most comfortable margin of victory the Government’s had in a while. This was despite 10 Tory MPs voting to hand power over to Jeremy Corbyn and Keir Starmer:

  • Guto Bebb
  • Ken Clarke
  • Jonathan Djanogly
  • Justine Greening
  • Dominic Grieve
  • Sam Gyimah
  • Phillip Lee
  • Oliver Letwin
  • Antoinette Sandbach
  • Caroline Spelman

Despite calls for them to have the whip removed, Guido can’t see it happening. Frankly they should just ask themselves why they’re even bothering to take part in a Tory leadership election when they’d rather have Jeremy Corbyn making crucial decisions about the future of the country…

PMQs: Who’s Asking the Questions?

Q1 Michael Fabricant (Lichfield) (Con)
Q2 Wes Streeting (Ilford North) (Lab)
Q3 Tim Farron (Westmorland and Lonsdale) (LD)
Q4 Wayne David (Caerphilly) (Lab)
Q5 Anna McMorrin (Cardiff North) (Lab)
Q6 Mr Barry Sheerman (Huddersfield) (Lab)
Q7 Karl Turner (Kingston upon Hull East) (Lab)
Q8 Sir David Crausby (Bolton North East) (Lab)
Q9 Rachel Maclean (Redditch) (Con)
Q10 Catherine West (Hornsey and Wood Green) (Lab)
Q11 Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con)
Q12 Carol Monaghan (Glasgow North West) (SNP)
Q13 Chris Bryant (Rhondda) (Lab)
Q14 Ian Austin (Dudley North) (Ind)
Q15 Huw Merriman (Bexhill and Battle) (Con)

The least interesting political event of the week…

PMQs: Who’s Asking The Questions?

While the PM and Leader of the Opposition are busying themselves with D-Day commemorations, PMQs becomes DPMQs with de-facto Deputy Prime Minister Liddington facing Labour’s Rebecca Long Bailey who replaces usual stand in Emily Thornberry. Word on the street is that the Shadow Foreign Sec is being made to sit it out after failing to toe the line on Brexit…

Q1 Tim Loughton (East Worthing and Shoreham) (Con)
Q2 Mr Marcus Fysh (Yeovil) (Con)
Q3 Laura Pidcock (North West Durham) (Lab)
Q4 Mr Mark Harper (Forest of Dean) (Con)
Q5 David T. C. Davies (Monmouth) (Con)
Q6 Mark Pawsey (Rugby) (Con)
Q7 Jo Stevens (Cardiff Central) (Lab)
Q8 Matthew Pennycook (Greenwich and Woolwich) (Lab)
Q9 Andy Slaughter (Hammersmith) (Lab)
Q10 Chris Green (Bolton West) (Con)
Q11 Robert Courts (Witney) (Con)
Q12 Luke Pollard (Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport) (Lab)
Q13 Rachael Maskell (York Central) (Lab)
Q14 Colleen Fletcher (Coventry North East) (Lab)

May Breaks Another Brexit Promise

Theresa May bought herself a stay of execution at the 1922 Committee last week after they agreed that she could have one last chance to try to get her deal through. May promised to bring the Withdrawal Agreement to the Commons the week commencing 3rd June before announcing her resignation timetable…

Andrea Leadsom’s stand-in Mark Spencer has revealed the Government’s parliamentary business for that week – predictably there’s no sign whatsoever of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill. Spencer optimistically added that the Government might yet try to bring the WAB on Friday 7th June, the House isn’t even due to be sitting on that day. To be fair if she does announce her resignation timetable before then, as expected on Friday or Monday, it would render it pointless. Nonetheless it’s still a promise broken, how many more will she break before she finally leaves?

PMQs: Who’s Asking the Questions?

Q1 John Woodcock (Barrow and Furness) (Ind)
Q2 Antoinette Sandbach (Eddisbury) (Con)
Q3 Ronnie Cowan (Inverclyde) (SNP)
Q4 Toby Perkins (Chesterfield) (Lab)
Q5 Stephen Morgan (Portsmouth South) (Lab)
Q6 Mr Ranil Jayawardena (North East Hampshire) (Con)
Q7 Ms Karen Buck (Westminster North) (Lab)
Q8 Jeff Smith (Manchester, Withington) (Lab)
Q9 James Heappey (Wells) (Con)
Q10 Mike Amesbury (Weaver Vale) (LD)
Q11 Laura Smith (Crewe and Nantwich) (Lab)
Q12 Thangam Debbonaire (Bristol West) (Lab)
Q13 Chris Law (Dundee West) (SNP)
Q14 Kevin Hollinrake (Thirsk and Malton) (Con)
Q15 Marsha De Cordova (Battersea) (Lab)

Could it be May’s last PMQs…?

Diane Abbott’s Stop & Search Hypocrisy

Yesterday evening Diane Abbott made the surprising claim that “I’ve always argued that evidence based stop and search has a very important role to play.” This will come as news to anyone who has seen the pinned tweet at the top of her Twitter profile, saying “stop and search does not bring down levels of knife crime.” Which Diane should we believe..?[…] Read the rest

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Sketch Round-Up

WHO IS BACKING WHO? WHO IS BACKING WHO?