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. It won’t be the last time we hear Marx at the Despatch Box if Corbyn becomes Prime Minister…

Theresa May Reneges on Commitment to Leave on 29th March

Despite countless commitments to leave on 29th March 2019, Theresa May today explicitly said she would give Parliament the power to delay Brexit beyond then. The timetable she set out is as follows:

  • Tuesday 12th March: Meaningful Vote
  • Wednesday 13th March: No Deal Vote
  • Thursday 14th March: Extending Article 50 Vote

The UK will now only leave without a deal if the House of Commons votes again for that outcome. Despite having overwhelmingly voted to set it as the legal default in 2017…

Tory Defectors Cross the Floor

The Tory defectors have crossed the floor to sit on the opposition benches with The Independent Group, following in the footsteps of Christopher Brocklebank-Fowler who crossed the floor to join the SDP in 1981. Auspicious…

Interestingly, the Independent Group’s press release claimed the trio had formally joined, while their own resignation letter only said they would sit “alongside” TIG and would still back the Tories in certain votes. Surely splits can’t be emerging already…

Government Defeated 303 to 258 on Meaningless Vote

The Government has suffered a defeat on its latest Brexit motion after ERG MPs decided to abstain over fears that the wording of the motion meant they would be implicitly rejecting no deal. The motion is of course meaningless and has no legal effect – in truth the whole row could and should have been averted. A number of ERG MPs are privately unimpressed with the fact that they’ve had to burn up political capital on something so inconsequential…

Bercow Selects Soubry Amendment for Debate

Bercow has called just three amendments to be debated and voted on today. Which will come as a small relief to everyone with Valentine’s plans tonight…

The specific wording of the Government’s motion itself has drawn the ire of the ERG and Remainers alike, as it means MPs would in effect be endorsing the Spelman amendment against no deal as well as the Brady amendment calling for an alternative to the backstop, although it would be purely symbolic. The ERG are likely to abstain although Guido understands that various reports that they have already come to a firm decision are slightly “premature”…

Guido gives you a quick rundown of what today’s amendments are:

  • A (Jeremy Corbyn): Fairly pointless Labour frontbench amendment calling for the Government to move another motion by 27 February. Which they have already committed to…
  • I (Ian Blackford): SNP amendment with Lib Dem support calling for the Government to immediately begin negotiations with the EU to extend Article 50. Looks like they already have been
  • E (Anna Soubry): Cross-party amendment from the usual Remainer suspects – calls on the Government to publish the most recent official Cabinet briefing document on the implications of a no-deal Brexit. Will be the closest vote but it won’t be legally binding…

Bercow sparing the People’s Vote campaign’s blushes for today by not selecting any of the no-hoper second referendum amendments…

Andrea Leadsom’s Valentine’s Day “Poem”

It’s not just Tory staffers who have been getting into the Valentine’s spirit, Leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom had a short Valentine’s poem to read out to MPs today. A good attempt although it’s not quite Shakespeare…

Corbyn Accused of Misleading Parliament Over Ferries Claim

Much to everyone’s surprise, Jeremy Corbyn actually asked a vaguely coherent set of questions on a big issue of the day at PMQs today, going on the attack over Seaborne Freight. However, in his excitement it appears that Corbyn may have actually got his facts seriously wrong, with Craig Mackinlay writing to Corbyn to challenge him over whether he misled the House with his claim that the Government’s decision had increased Thanet Council’s budget deficit by “nearly two million pounds”.

Bizarrely, the Mirror decided to make an underwhelming ‘Thug Life’ meme purely on the basis of Corbyn’s facial reaction when Mackinlay challenged him at PMQs. Funnily enough they didn’t make one when Corbyn had a similar reaction to Ben Bradshaw’s second referendum suggestion yesterday. Corbyn may well be ending up with egg on his face rather than a pair of photoshopped sunglasses…

PMQs: Who’s Asking the Questions?

Q1 Helen Whately (Faversham and Mid Kent) (Con)
Q2 Chris Evans (Islwyn) (Lab)
Q3 Neil Parish (Tiverton and Honiton) (Con)
Q4 Luke Pollard (Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport) (Lab)
Q5 Ian C. Lucas (Wrexham) (Lab)
Q6 Steve McCabe (Birmingham, Selly Oak) (Lab)
Q7 Mr Nigel Evans (Ribble Valley) (Con)
Q8 Henry Smith (Crawley) (Con)
Q9 Chris Ruane (Vale of Clwyd) (Lab)
Q10 Tom Pursglove (Corby) (Con)
Q11 Gareth Johnson (Dartford) (Con)
Q12 Vicky Foxcroft (Lewisham, Deptford) (Lab)
Q13 Rosie Cooper (West Lancashire) (Lab)
Q14 Peter Kyle (Hove) (Lab)
Q15 Robert Halfon (Harlow) (Con)

Robbins is surely going to come up…

Corbyn Sneers at Second Referendum

Few people looked less impressed by Ben Bradshaw’s suggestion of a second referendum than his own party leader. Labour not even bothering to hide their disdain for a second referendum now…

Leslie Tells Corbyn to Pick Up the Phone to Maduro

Former Shadow Chancellor Chris Leslie launched an eviscerating attack on Corbyn in the Chamber this afternoon. Sounding more and more like a member of that much rumoured breakaway party, Leslie effectively accused his party leader of being of the same ilk as the Russian, Chinese, and Cuban regimes.

“Can we get the Russian Administration to do more? Can we get the Chinese, the Cubans? Or are there other individuals who have a close relationship with Maduro, perhaps even the leader of the Labour Party who at this late stage could pick up the telephone and implore him, beg him, to stop this appalling approach and to leave government immediately.”

Is the Labour breakaway finally about to happen..?

Lidington Skewered Over Backstop

David Lidington’s lacklustre performance at the Despatch Box was summed up by his dithering response to this question from Mark Francois on whether it was still Government policy to “replace” the backstop, after already refusing to commit himself to leaving a customs union in response to Greg Hands. Not hard to see why Brexiteers have little faith with lifelong Europhile Lidington now supposedly leading the renegotiations…

Bridgen Commends Corbyn’s Brexiteer Credentials

“He clearly campaigned vigorously against repeated EU referendums in Ireland, and declared forcefully that he did not wish to live under a European empire of the 21st century”

Will Corbyn fans try to claim that this direct quoting of their leader’s opinions of the EU is just a smear..?

DPMQs: Who’s Asking The Questions?

Q1 Andrew Bridgen (North West Leicestershire) (Con)
Q2 Alex Sobel (Leeds North West) (Lab)
Q3 Geraint Davies (Swansea West) (Lab)
Q4 Dr Paul Williams (Stockton South) (Lab)
Q5 Robert Halfon (Harlow) (Con)
Q6 James Frith (Bury North) (Lab)
Q7 Hugh Gaffney (Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill) (Lab)
Q8 Jim McMahon (Oldham West and Royton) (Lab)
Q9 Julian Knight (Solihull) (Con)
Q10 Peter Grant (Glenrothes) (SNP)
Q11 Huw Merriman (Bexhill and Battle) (Con)
Q12 Mr Steve Reed (Croydon North) (Lab)
Q13 Layla Moran (Oxford West and Abingdon) (LD)
Q14 Stephen Kinnock (Aberavon) (Lab)
Q15 Sandy Martin (Ipswich) (Lab)

Surely it must be better than the usual May-Corbyn snoozefest…

UPDATE: Guido was wrong. It’s worse…

Youth Issues

Who will speak up for teenagers?

Fox: MPs Who Break Their Promises on Brexit “Deserve” to be Punished by Voters

“Those who get elected on that promise and then don’t follow it through… will have a difficult time with voters the next time. And if that happens then they deserve it…”

Brazen Bercow Insists He Will “Help the House Decide” Which Way Brexit Goes

John Bercow has given a brazen interview to CNN unapologetically defending his support for “minority, dissident voices” fighting Brexit and his right to “help the House decide” which way the Brexit process goes, before declaring without a hint of irony that “sometimes the Speaker’s role is just to stand up for the institution of the House of Commons and the principle of Parliamentary democracy”. Overruling the clerks to force an amendment through for political reasons against the rules is a strange way of standing up for that institution…

Incredibly, Bercow also goes on a shameless rant about how “if the Speaker is the sort of person who’s going to be cowed or intimidated by a ministerial rant… that person isn’t fit to be Speaker. I hope I always treat people with respect…” This coming from a man with an extensive track record of bullying and intimidating his own staff who was found to be at the heart of Parliament’s bullying culture by the independent Cox Report. He only needs to look in the mirror to see what someone who isn’t fit to be Speaker looks like…

Leadsom Cancels February Recess

Leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom has announced that MPs’ February half-term recess will be cancelled in order to have more time to push through Brexit legislation. Guido can understand why Downing Street doesn’t want to see MPs snapped on European ski slopes this winter…

May Sets Out Backstop Alternatives

Another typically turgid exchange between May and Corbyn at PMQs, but it did at least give May the chance to set out a range of alternative arrangements to the backstop. Plenty for the EU to be thinking about…

PMQs: Who’s Asking the Questions?

Q1 Toby Perkins (Chesterfield) (Lab)
Q2 Sandy Martin (Ipswich) (Lab)
Q3 Owen Smith (Pontypridd) (Lab)
Q4 Tracy Brabin (Batley and Spen) (Lab)
Q5 Ian Paisley (North Antrim) (DUP)
Q6 Mr John Baron (Basildon and Billericay) (Con)
Q7 Stephen Morgan (Portsmouth South) (Lab)
Q8 Mr John Whittingdale (Maldon) (Con)
Q9 Mr Stephen Hepburn (Jarrow) (Lab)
Q10 Chris Philp (Croydon South) (Con)
Q11 Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown (The Cotswolds) (Con)
Q12 Jack Dromey (Birmingham, Erdington) (Lab)
Q13 Luke Pollard (Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport) (Lab)
Q14 Marsha De Cordova (Battersea) (Lab)
Q15 Siobhain McDonagh (Mitcham and Morden) (Lab)

Graham Brady’s Backstop Amendment Passes 317 to 301

After 24 hours of drama, Graham Brady’s amendment calling for the backstop to be replaced has been approved by the Commons by 317 to 301. Majority of 16…

It is a fair majority of MPs on an amendment which expresses conditional approval for a deal, providing legally binding changes are made to the backstop.[…] Read the rest “Graham Brady’s Backstop Amendment Passes 317 to 301”

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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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