DAB PMQ

Readers of this sketch will remember its recurring and heartfelt concern for the sanity of poor Tom Watson. First chronicling his deepening existential despair here, in subsequent months I went on to speculate it was only a matter of time before he would finally lose it and go the “full Bill Murray and turn up to PMQs stark bollock naked”, all in a desperate attempt to break this cycle of Groundhog Day-style self-immolations by the Labour Leader. Today was that day…

He’d almost made it as well, valiantly surviving most of Jeremy Corbyn’s rambling monologues by nodding his head slowly back and forth in scenes eerily reminiscent of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. That lasted right up until Mr. Corbyn finally took the plunge into complete self-parody and used his last question to spit at Theresa May that she needed to “INVEST IN OUR. ENN. AITCH. ESS!”, dementedly hammering his fist on the despatch box like a toddler to punctuate each syllable of “NHS”. At this point something broke in Mr. Watson, and he decided to do what any normal 50 year old politician would in such a situation and throw his arms maniacally in the air, performing an urban youth dance-craze known as a “dab”. Well, at least he didn’t go full Miley Cyrus and twerk on a dwarf in the chamber. Then again, Bercow may have been game…

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Tom Watson’s PMQs Dab

Tom Watson performed a “dab” at the end of PMQs. For readers not familar with the Atlanta hip-hop dance scene, a dab is a dance move popularised by various musicians and sports stars, and copied by naff people trying to be cool. Was it for a bet?

PMQs: Who Is Asking the Questions

Oral Questions to the Prime Minister

Q1 Yasmin Qureshi (Bolton South East)

Q2 Caroline Flint (Don Valley) 

Q3 Andrew Bingham (High Peak) 

Q4 Michael Tomlinson (Mid Dorset and North Poole) 

Q5 Gerald Jones (Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney)

Q6 William Wragg (Hazel Grove)

Q7 Kerry McCarthy (Bristol East)

Q8 Phil Wilson (Sedgefield)

Q9 Dr Julian Lewis (New Forest East)

Q10 Dr Tania Mathias (Twickenham) 

Q11 Chris Davies (Brecon and Radnorshire) 

Q12 Crispin Blunt (Reigate) 

Q13 Neil Parish (Tiverton and Honiton)

Q14 Nic Dakin (Scunthorpe) 

Q15 Gavin Newlands (Paisley and Renfrewshire North)

Comments in the comments…

Taxi For Baroness D’Souza

Interesting timing for the new BBC documentary on the House of Lords. The choice quote is from Baroness D’Souza:

“There is a core of peers who work incredibly hard, who do that work, and there are, sad to say, many, many, many peers who contribute absolutely nothing but who claim the full allowance. I can remember one occasion when I was leaving the House quite late and there was a peer – who shall be utterly nameless – who jumped out of a taxi just outside the peers’ entrance, left the engine running. He ran in, presumably to show that he’d attended, and then ran out again while the taxi was still running. So I mean that’s not normal, but it is something that does happen and I think that we have lost the sense of honour that used to pertain, and that is a great, great shame.”

That would be the same Baroness D’Souza who infamously billed the taxpayer £230 to keep a chauffeur-driven car waiting for four hours while she watched an opera a mile from Parliament. As well as another £270 bill to keep the meter running while she had lunch with the Japanese ambassador. And another £738 to keep a Mercedes parked while she attended an event at Windsor Castle. D’Souza also spent £4,000 of taxpayer cash on flowers for her office and £1,120 for drinks and a trip to the ballet with a delegation from Russia. “We have lost the sense of honour and that is a great shame…”

May in the Lords

Theresa May and Commons leader David Lidington are sitting on the steps of the throne in the House of Lords as they begin their Brexit debate this afternoon, to remind peers of the democratic mandate issued by the elected chamber. Sound.

UPDATE: Another angle:

Both Trump Petitions to Be Debated Monday

The Petitions Committee has decided to merge the pro and anti-Trump state visit petitions and hold a single Westminster Hall debate on Monday:

To all Members

The Petitions Committee has scheduled the following debate in Westminster Hall on two petitions relating to a state visit by President Donald Trump…

Monday 20 February
Motion: “That this House has considered e-petitions 171928 and 178844 relating to a state visit by President Donald Trump.”

Petition 171928 ‘Prevent Donald Trump from making a State Visit to the United Kingdom.’ 

Petition 178844 ‘Donald Trump should make a State Visit to the United Kingdom.’

Bit of a cop out…

Duddridge Tables No Confidence Motion in Speaker

Vote of No Confidence

This House has no confidence in The Speaker.

Tory MP James Duddridge tells Sky:

“We want a fresh speaker, a Speaker that has the confidence of the full House… I’ve been absolutely amazed at the number of people who’ve encouraged me to table this motion of no confidence… The number of MPs speaking out will increase and it will be known that the Speaker’s position is untenable.”

Another blow to Bercow’s authority, though he likely has the numbers to cling on…

“Anarchy” as Parliament Shuts Lobby Hacks’ Cafeteria

The controversy surrounding the ongoing building work in parliament has reached fever pitch after authorities closed the cafeteria used by hungry Lobby hacks. Construction work at the whips office has led to a decision to relocate some staff to Moncrieff’s cafeteria, the room where the Lobby hosts its famous ministerial lunches. The move means whips office staff, the keepers of MPs’ deepest and darkest secrets, will now work in the press gallery a stone’s throw from the nation’s political journalists. “Anarchy” says one seasoned Lobby luncher. What could go wrong?

Letwin Calls For Debate on Abolition of Lords

A “government source” in this morning’s papers threatened the Lords with abolition if they obstruct Brexit, now Oliver Letwin has asked for a debate if they do hold up the process. Instead of implausibly threatening to abolish the Lords they should promise to cut daily their expenses from £300 to £0. Focus the peers’ minds…

33 MPs Who Voted For Second Referendum

The would-be Brexit blockers who voted for a second referendum:

Alexander, Heidi
Bradshaw, rh Mr Ben
Brown, Lyn
Clegg, rh Mr Nick
Clwyd, rh Ann
Coffey, Ann
Coyle, Neil
Davies, Geraint
Durkan, Mark
Edwards, Jonathan
Farron, Tim

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Named: The 122 MPs Who Voted Against Brexit

Here are the 122 who voted against Article 50:

Ms Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh (SNP – Ochil and South Perthshire)
Heidi Alexander (Labour – Lewisham East)
Rushanara Ali (Labour – Bethnal Green and Bow)
Mr Graham Allen (Labour – Nottingham North)
Dr Rosena Allin-Khan (Labour – Tooting)
Richard Arkless (Scottish National Party – Dumfries and Galloway)
Hannah Bardell (Scottish National Party – Livingston)
Luciana Berger (Labour (Co-op) – Liverpool, Wavertree)
Mhairi Black (Scottish National Party – Paisley and Renfrewshire South)

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SNP Sing Ode to Joy as MPs Vote For Brexit

Sad!

UPDATE: Nigel Farage tells Guido:

“I thought John Bercow would win hypocrite of the week, but the SNP last night have shown themselves to be a fraudulent party who would rather be governed by Brussels than Scots.”

Article 50 Bill Passes 494 to 122

Diane Abbott voted FOR triggering…

Bercow Plot Underway Tonight

Here we go: Tory MP James Duddridge writes to Theresa May tonight to ask if she will stand in the way of MPs who want to unseat the Speaker:

8th February 2017

Dear Prime Minister,

Could you confirm that if there is a vote of no confidence in The Speaker of The House of Commons, the Government will not intervene and give Ministers a free vote.

James Duddridge MP

Odds against it succeeding, but the move is on…

H/T Paul Waugh

The Councillor Who Came in from the Cold

Jeremy Corbyn began PMQs today with a damning tirade against patients waiting “up to 13 hours and 52 minutes to be seen” at the Royal Blackburn A&E department: a frustrating delay that is coincidentally is the exact same amount of time it takes to get a meeting with Jeremy Corbyn during a reshuffle.[…] Read the rest

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PMQs: Who’s Asking The Questions?

Oral Questions to the Prime Minister

Q1 Toby Perkins (Chesterfield) If she will list her official engagements for Wednesday 8 February

Q2 Johnny Mercer (Plymouth, Moor View)

Q3 Patrick Grady (Glasgow North)

Q4 Scott Mann (North Cornwall)

Q5 Jake Berry (Rossendale and Darwen)

Q6 Mrs Theresa Villiers (Chipping Barnet)

Q7 Iain Stewart (Milton Keynes South)

Q8 James Morris (Halesowen and Rowley Regis)

Q9 Dr Sarah Wollaston (Totnes)

Q10 James Berry (Kingston and Surbiton)

Q11 Mr Graham Brady (Altrincham and Sale West)

Q12 Karl McCartney (Lincoln)

Q13 Julian Sturdy (York Outer)

Q14 Chris Green (Bolton West)

Q15 Gavin Newlands (Paisley and Renfrewshire North)

Comments in the comments…[…] Read the rest

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Bercow Forced to Apologise For Not Consulting on Trump Ban

The Lords Speaker reveals he has secured an apology from John Bercow for failing to consult him on his unilateral Trump ban. Lord Fowler says he keeps an “open mind” about whether Trump should be able to address parliament. Embarrassment for Bercow…[…] Read the rest

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Bercow Declares War on Trump

John Bercow tells the Commons he “strongly opposes” inviting President Trump to address parliament during his state visit. Applause for the Speaker from the Nats and praise from Dennis Skinner. Sure the President will react to this provocation in a calm, measured manner…

UPDATE: Nigel Farage responds to Guido: “For Speaker Bercow to uphold our finest parliamentary traditions, he should be neutral.”[…] Read the rest

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May vs “Lady Nugee”

Emily Thornberry has blown her top and is protesting to the Speaker after Theresa May called her “Lady Nugee” in the Commons. Lady Nugee is Thornberry’s official title by virtue of her marriage to the High Court Judge Sir Christopher Nugee. […] Read the rest

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Corbyn Demands Higher Defence Spending

Surreal moment in the Commons as Jeremy Corbyn, who once said we should abolish the army, lectures Theresa May about defence cuts. Red Tory…[…] 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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