Leadsom on Austen

She resurrected Jane Austen before she recovered from saying she was one of “the greatest living authors” to one of the “greatest ever authors”. The mainstream media really has it in for Andrea seizing on her slip of the tongue. It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a right winger in possession of much ambition will be tripped up by the media.

Inside the House of Commons Departure Lounge

The House of Commons was today a green-benched departure lounge; Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn were two very different holidaymakers. Wan-faced frequent filer Theresa, slumped closest to the gate, was barely distinguishable from a battered old vending machine in a London Gatwick corner. Equally mechanical, but less full of sweetness, for Theresa it was just a 45 minute wait for her flight-outta-here; if she could have had speedy boarding she would have paid for it gladly. In strolls sombrero-toting ethical-traveller Jeremy Corbyn, with glee only shared by priapic teenage boys awaiting their first flight to Ibiza. He knows his hols will be spent ‘campaigning’ on beaches, surrounded by socialist vixens in hammer and sickle bikinis (basically). Over magazine-tops in air-conditioned lounges we will all observe our fellow travellers this summer. Hopefully we won’t end up on the same plane as these two…

In an unhelpful metaphor for the government, the first question was about driver-less cars. “This country is a world leader in driver-less cars and that’s part of our strong economy“: Theresa May might as well have been reading out a lifeless feature from an in-flight magazine. She sounded as robotic as middle-aged cabin crew member reciting a list of overpriced refreshments over an aeroplane’s PA system: it’s all played back from memory and delivered with the excitement and promise of a moist Ryanair sandwich. Like an unmanned aerial vehicle all she does is drone. Corbyn once again demonstrated his navigational ineptitude by taking off in the direction of public sector pay and only eventually getting round to Cabinet in-fighting. Would you let that man fly your plane? Would you let him sit in the special seat by the emergency exit? It’s not likely to trouble you this summer, but if you do find yourself on the same plane as Jez, remember that he is probably only there to assist in a hijacking. Alert the sky marshal should you see him aboard…

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SNP MP Wears Scotland Football Shirt at PMQs

Hannah Bardell taking the relaxed Commons dress code a little far. Get a grip Mr Speaker…

May on Approaching Reshuffle

Freudian slip?

H/T @DavidScullion

PMQs: Who’s Asking the Questions?

Oral Questions to the Prime Minister
Q1 Mr Geoffrey Robinson (Coventry North West) If she will list her official engagements for Wednesday 19 July.

Q2 Kirsty Blackman (Aberdeen North)

Q3 Mr Paul J Sweeney (Glasgow North East)

Q4 Helen Whately (Faversham and Mid Kent)

Q5 Mike Wood (Dudley South)

Q6 Dan Carden (Liverpool, Walton)

Q7 Ian Murray (Edinburgh South)

Q8 Jeremy Lefroy (Stafford)

Q9 Bob Blackman (Harrow East)

Q10 Gordon Marsden (Blackpool South)

Q11 Richard Drax (South Dorset)

Q12 Lucy Allan (Telford)

Q13 Mr Pat McFadden (Wolverhampton South East)

Q14 Louise Haigh (Sheffield, Heeley)

Q15 Sarah Jones (Croydon Central)

Comments in the comments…

Labour Filibuster Debate on Hard-Left Abuse of MPs


Labour last night used a spurious three hour plus-long debate on procedure to block the scheduled debate on hard-left abuse of MPs. The Commons was supposed to spend the day discussing the abuse received by MPs during the election, instead Labour filibustered with a nonsense debate about how many debates they get to have until well into the night. As Anna Soubry quite rightly said:

“As a result of Labour’s filibusting tonight, this chamber will not debate the appalling abuse which many women candidates on this side of the House endured during the general election from the hard-left… There are many members on this side of the House that stood up for women on that side of the House when they were abused by their hard-left leadership.”

Vicky Atkins criticised Labour for blocking the abuse debate “to talk about their diaries” instead, Andrea Leadsom blasted “Members on both sides of this House have been victims of vile abuse from anarchists and hard-left activists, but obviously Labour are not interested” and accused Jeremy Corbyn of having “prevented this debate“. That’s what Tory MPs get for defending their Labour counterparts when they were on the receiving end…

Bercow Calls Graham Brady “Prince Andrew”

An odd moment as the Speaker calls 1922 Committee Chair Graham Brady “Prince Andrew over there” (they look a little alike). Brady is one of the most senior members of the House. What was that about?

DPMQs Sketch: Shadow Cabinet Ladies Night

With the boss otherwise engaged, Damian Green strolled down to the country pub for a quiet pint. He found himself at the shadow cabinet’s all-women lock-in being held at a suburban All Bar One. This was Emily Thornberry’s lunchtime on the tiles; this was her at 3AM at 12 midday. Clothed from head-to-toe in lip-stick-red – a flash of gold from the earrings – Green could not hope to match the entirely unwarranted yet somehow lethal sass of this plump old lawyer as she played the common cougar. Minutes earlier Thornberry is in the Common’s ladies loo, looking at herself over and over again in the mirror (you suspect Green doesn’t ever look). She winks at herself, blows herself a kiss. Don’t you look good darling. You go give it to him; you are the hen at the party. He’s only a man…

Green would confirm Lady Nugee’s long-held views of all those unfortunate enough to have been born with a penis. Like every doddery old bloke in the history of human race, the First Secretary brought his punishment entirely upon himself. Immediately joking about women and leadership when up against Thornberry is ill-advised. He tried this one: “There are many distinguished people – of both sexes – who have done [PMQs] in this party, because we of course elect women leaders.” If there are two things Emily Thornberry is sure of – and there may only be two such things in the universe – it’s that she is a woman and that she is a leader. Instantly she parries: three Labour women had led at PMQs since Theresa May came on the scene. Don’t start with me boy, I’ll make mincemeat out of you… Continue reading

DPMQs: Who’s Asking the Questions?

The Prime Minister is welcoming the King and Queen of Spain so First Secretary of State Damian Green is standing in. Emily Thornberry leads for Labour.

Q1 Caroline Flint (Don Valley) If she will list her official engagements for Wednesday 12 July. (900401)

Q2 Jeremy Lefroy (Stafford)

Q3 David Morris (Morecambe and Lunesdale)

Q4 Alison Thewliss (Glasgow Central)

Q5 Neil O’Brien (Harborough)

Q6 Dan Jarvis (Barnsley Central)

Q7 Kit Malthouse (North West Hampshire)

Q8 Mr Graham Brady (Altrincham and Sale West)

Q9 Dr Rupa Huq (Ealing Central and Acton)

Q10 Mrs Maria Miller (Basingstoke)

Q11 Michael Tomlinson (Mid Dorset and North Poole)

Q12 Toby Perkins (Chesterfield)

Q13 Andrew Selous (South West Bedfordshire)

Q14 Rosie Cooper (West Lancashire)

Comments in the comments…

Optimistic Boris: No Plan For No Deal

This is not quite the government line from Boris – David Davis has talked of the need for contingency planning in the case of a no deal Brexit. BoJo ever the optimist…

“He Doesn’t Believe in Email” Committee Chair Incumbents Out of Date

Tomorrow MPs vote in the select committee chairmanship elections, always one of the more entertaining events of a new parliament. Eyes are on the Foreign Affairs and Defence select committees, where there is a feeling among many MPs that the incumbent chairs are too old, too stale, too outdated in their views and too out of touch with modern day politics.

65-year-old Julian Lewis, the current Defence committee chair, is old-fashioned both in his personal style and working methods. He doesn’t believe in email, is brusque with colleagues and at one meeting his behaviour over the agenda caused such consternation that staff were asked to leave the room. He is the Speaker’s closest friend and shares some of Bercow’s personality traits. His blinding hatred of David Cameron was petty. He will be 70 at the next election.

Crispin Blunt, the Foreign Affairs committee incumbent, aroused concerns when he demanded private investigators be brought in to find out who exposed his determination to water down criticism of the Saudis – an odd look in Britain in 2017 – and then had his report on Libya embarrassingly debunked. Blunt has been dubbed the “Corbynista candidate” by some Labour moderates who note his views align with Jezza on Israel and western foreign policy.

As the Tories lick their election wounds and discuss how to appeal to modern voters, tomorrow’s select committee elections provide a chance to see how serious they are…

Robot Wars

Tonight on BBC Two’s Robot Wars, Prime Minister’s Question Time! And here come the competitors once again, rolling their way through the tunnel and into the green-plated arena. The audience is packed behind the crash barriers, and as the lights go up and the smoke clears we see them: MayBot and JezBot! The Robot Wars theme plays and the crowd goes wild…

The roboteers up in the gallery have made several changes to their respective machines since last week’s fight. In just seven days MayBot 2.0 has been fitted with completely new weaponry: you’ll notice that huge pair of scissors fixed to her front bumper. That cutting gear is christened ‘The Deficit Destroyer‘: it’s designed to slice through the unlimited spending team JezBot want to deploy. MayBot also now boasts a rear weapon: the ‘Austerity Angle Grinder‘ spins at frightening speeds, slicing through cash. Her critics say she should have deployed these weapons in the heats which preceded this series; if you’re one of our regular viewers, you’ll remember them from the good old days of CamBot and OsBot. Will a return to the old design save the blue team?

Ah! Our cameraman catches a glimpse of Professor Milne, designer of the JezBot, silently watching the via video link from the engineer’s workshop. No obvious changes to his machine this week – but if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. JezBot’s 1970s chassis – which the critics branded useless – has been serving the red team pretty well recently… 
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Labour Mercer Spoiler Attempt

Johnny Mercer’s bid for the Defence select committee chairmanship is the subject of a spoiler attempt by Janus-faced Labour rivals. Mercer is the MP for Plymouth Moor View. His neighbouring MP, Labour newbie Luke Pollard, has said he wants to work with Mercer to represent the city, claiming he would endorse him for the role if Mercer commits to opposing defence cuts and base sell offs. Mercer has indeed made those commitments. Yet for some strange reason Pollard is still refusing to back him…

Why the trickery? Pollard is no doubt wary of Mercer further increasing his profile and there are suggestions he has been trying to convince Labour MPs to vote against his Plymouth neighbour. Mercer has a 5,000 majority and some in Labour are prioritising designs on his seat over actually voting for who they think is the best candidate. Grown-ups like Dan Jarvis, Chris Bryant and Stephen Kinnock are not playing games and have nominated Mercer. Don’t forget the incumbent Defence chair Julian Lewis is Bercow’s best mate, you can expect a number of the Speaker’s allies in the Labour Party to try to block Mercer’s bid…

May’s Defiant Defence of Austerity

With the focus on the economy, sound money and Labour’s record, Theresa May delivered one of her best ever PMQs performances. She doubled down on her support for austerity and slapped down the Boris / Hunt / Greening Torbynistas – Tory backbenchers loved it. Almost as if the Tories should have mentioned the economy occasionally during the election… 

Snobby Speaker Criticises “Downmarket” MPs

Classic sneering condescension from the Speaker…

PMQs: Who’s Asking the Questions?

Oral Questions to the Prime Minister

Q1 Hannah Bardell (Livingston) If she will list her official engagements for Wednesday 5 July.

Q2 James Morris (Halesowen and Rowley Regis)

Q3 Alex Cunningham (Stockton North)

Q4 Nicky Morgan (Loughborough)

Q5 Paul Scully (Sutton and Cheam)

Q6 Bill Wiggin (North Herefordshire)

Q7 Mrs Sheryll Murray (South East Cornwall)

Q8 Jonathan Edwards (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr)

Q9 Matt Warman (Boston and Skegness)

Q10 Andrew C Bowie (West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine)

Q11 Alex Burghart (Brentwood and Ongar)

Q12 Mr Khalid Mahmood (Birmingham, Perry Barr)

Q13 Scott Mann (North Cornwall)

Q14 Helen Hayes (Dulwich and West Norwood)

Q15 Stephen Lloyd (Eastbourne)

Comments in the comments…

“Arlene Foster the Most Expensive Right-Winger Since Cristiano Ronaldo”

He plays more on the left these days…

Government Spokesman on S**t SpAds

Concerned by a no doubt crucial health issue, Lord Hunt of Kings Heath tabled this written question on May 18th:

“To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking to ensure that NICE guidance is followed in the use of faecal microbiota transplants in the treatment of recurrent Clostridium difficile.”
Yesterday he received an unexpected written answer from the government spokesman:
“The standards of conduct expected of all civil servants, including Special Advisers are set out in the relevant Codes of Conduct. These Codes make clear what Special Advisers can and cannot do in their roles.”
Bit harsh…

Bercow Cuts Ties

Our “modernising” Speaker has overturned convention and ruled that male MPs will no longer be required to wear ties in the Commons. Likewise, the compulsory tie rule has been scrapped for gentlemen of the press gallery. There is near mutiny among the few members of the Lobby with higher dress standards. At least one person will be happy:

The end times… this country really is going to the dogs…

UPDATE: Nigel Farage tells Guido:

“This just goes to show Bercow is a low-grade lightweight with no respect for our institutions or our history.”

PMQs Sketch: Back to School Edition

Someone even urinated on my office door“: the inaugural Prime Minister’s Questions of the new political age began on Sheryll Murray’s piss-stained Cornwall doorstep. And for the next 50 minutes, that is where it remained. A Maybot humbled, Jez a Prime Minister-in-waiting, the nation stirred to anger in the shadow of a looming tower: none of it was enough to lift up our once great Prime Minister’s Question Time from the cesspit of mediocrity it has become.[…] 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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