PMQs: Temporal Rift Edition

All across the House of Commons MPs looked around confused, almost concerned. What was that tremendous racket going on in the middle of the room? Had some devious backbenchers snuck up to the Despatch Box to play a noisy prank? Had the session been so soporific that they had fallen asleep and missed both parties deposing their leaders, holding leadership elections and installing charismatic replacements in their place? Had the combined wrath of the ERG and Momentum summoned up two demons from another dimension who were now engaged in a never-ending battle to the death, while opening up a temporal rift which had transported the entire building back in time to 2007? As the MPs were about to find out, sometimes fact can be stranger than fiction. May and Corbyn were actually having a decent battle at PMQs…

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Mumbling McDonnell Massacres Message to May


John McDonnell experienced a dose of no deal chaos himself at the despatch box at Treasury Questions today:

“So let me put this to the Chancellor – can we both try to get the message across to the Prime Minister, who continues to insist that no deal is better than… no deal is better than… no, a bad deal… no deal… to insist that a bad deal is better than no deal – I’ll negotiate that again Mr Speaker – who continues to insist that a bad deal is better than no deal…”

McDonnell tried to get the message across. He certainly didn’t succeed. He didn’t even get it right at the sixth and final attempt…

Over Half Tory MPs’ Voting Intentions Now Identified

Guido’s MP Voting Intentions Tracker has identified where more than half of Government supporting MPs stand on Chequers. Overnight readers have helped track down another 11 MPs who are opposed to the Prime Minister’s Chequers proposal, bringing the total number up to 44. Still a way off the 80 MPs Steve Baker was talking of yesterday, keep those names coming in…

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Strictly PMQs

It’s a rare breed of masochist that looks forward to PMQs in the May-Corbyn era, after 45 minutes trapped in the purgatory of the BBC’s new Chuka Umunna Show Politics Live show, the prospect of Corbyn chuntering out pre-scripted lines on the NHS for social media clips interspersed by “Wales” from Theresa May suddenly started to look like a more appealing prospect. Would Jezza be leading us through the pearly gates or down into a fresh circle of PMQs hell?

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Runners & Riders: Standards Committee Chair

Standards Committee Chair Sir Kevin Baron resigned yesterday citing his frustration with the lack of transparency in Parliamentary investigations. Thankfully there are a good number in Parliament who are experienced in the field of standards investigations. As ever, Guido brings you the most experienced runners and riders to take on this auspicious role…

  • Keith Vaz: On the two year anniversary of the formal investigation being opened into his conduct, who else has more experience of standards investigations? His litany of misadventures is like that of no other MP. Vaz seems to be the clearly most experienced for the post.
  • Jared O’Mara: Although new to parliament O’Mara has already made a big impact. A rising star who the Standards Committee will already know well.
  • Damian Green: Time on his hands now he’s out of the cabinet. Very driven. Hard worker.
  • Stephen Crabb: Gets on very well with potential staff. Too well.
  • Debbie Abrahams: Sacked from the front bench after bullying allegations. On the look out for a new job…
  • Dan Poulter: Experienced with disciplinary investigations. Plenty of hands on experience.
  • Ian Paisley Jr: Despite his 30 day parliamentary suspension beginning yesterday, he would be a perfect fit for the role. Once he returns to work.
  • John Bercow: Had promised to retire from his current job by now. Knows how to get away with all sorts of shenanigans. He acts like a shop steward already…
  • Clive ‘On Your Knees Bitch’ Lewis: Erudite, used to complaints, and out of favour with his party leadership after he and Owen Jones appeared to be manoeuvring to oust Corbyn last year. He has enough time on his hands…

Corbyn: We Condemn The Police

“We condemn… we condemn the police and security services… commend the police and security services.”

Looks like a lifetime of saying the former made it harder to say the latter…

PMQs: Who’s Asking the Questions?

Oral Questions to the Prime Minister

Q1 Tulip Siddiq (Hampstead and Kilburn) If she will list her official engagements for Wednesday 5 September.
Q2 Brendan O’Hara (Argyll and Bute)
Q3 Chris Law (Dundee West)
Q4 Maggie Throup (Erewash)
Q5 Dr Rupa Huq (Ealing Central and Acton)
Q6 Mr Virendra Sharma (Ealing, Southall)
Q7 Meg Hillier (Hackney South and Shoreditch)
Q8 John Lamont (Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk)
Q9 Tonia Antoniazzi (Gower)
Q10 Mohammad Yasin (Bedford)
Q11 Jeff Smith (Manchester, Withington)
Q12 Mike Kane (Wythenshawe and Sale East)
Q13 Helen Hayes (Dulwich and West Norwood)
Q14 Chris Ruane (Vale of Clwyd)
Q15 Eddie Hughes (Walsall North)

Comments in the comments…

Why Won’t Corbyn Adopt Internationally Accepted Anti-Semitism Definition?

Get the feeling this would be a much bigger story without the Tory Brexit mess…

May: Corbyn Would Not Deliver on Will of People

For a minute there she almost sounded like a Brexiteer…

Andrea Jenkyns: At What Point Was It Decided Brexit Meant Remain?


PMQs: Who is Asking the Questions

Q1 Alison Thewliss (Glasgow Central)

Q2 Rosie Cooper (West Lancashire)

Q3 Dr David Drew (Stroud)

Q4 Andrea Jenkyns (Morley and Outwood) 

Q5 Helen Whately (Faversham and Mid Kent) 

Q6 Mrs Sharon Hodgson (Washington and Sunderland West)

Q7 John Woodcock (Barrow and Furness) 

Q8 David T. C. Davies (Monmouth) 

Q9 Dr Alan Whitehead (Southampton, Test)

Q10 Chris Philp (Croydon South) 

Q11 Luke Graham (Ochil and South Perthshire)

Q12 Dan Carden (Liverpool, Walton) 

Q13 Alex Cunningham (Stockton North) 

Q14 Mr Marcus Jones (Nuneaton) 

Tory Rebellion Over Attempt to Break Parliament Up Early

The government is facing another rebellion – this time over its attempt to break parliament up early. Recess was due to begin next Tuesday, but Number 10 tonight sought to bring it forward to this Thursday, five days sooner. There will be a vote in the Commons tomorrow morning on the date change. A cynical attempt to send Tory MPs off on their summer holidays early so they stop protesting about Brexit…

Tory MPs, even Remainers, are now vowing to rebel on tomorrow’s vote and seek to stay until next week. Nick Boles and Nicholas Soames have already said they will vote against the government:

Labour say they have not ruled out voting against the government. A Labour source says:

“It is staggering that the Tories are in such a state they are considering just packing up and going home. Theresa May is running scared of her own MPs.”

So, Labour MPs, what would you rather vote for tomorrow? An early holiday? Or actually opposing the government, sticking to the original recess dates, voting against this attempt to break parliament up early and having another five days to expose Tory chaos? 

DPMQs: Who Is Asking the Questions

Q1 Chris Stephens (Glasgow South West)

Q2 Mr George Howarth (Knowsley)

Q3 Dan Carden (Liverpool, Walton)

Q4 Mr Nigel Evans (Ribble Valley)

Q5 Andrew Rosindell (Romford)

Q6 Wes Streeting (Ilford North)

Q7 Julian Sturdy (York Outer)

Q8 Darren Jones (Bristol North West)

Q9 Julie Cooper (Burnley)

Q10 Simon Hoare (North Dorset)

Q11 Nick Smith (Blaenau Gwent)

Q12 Alberto Costa (South Leicestershire)

Q13 Dame Cheryl Gillan (Chesham and Amersham)

Q14 Julia Lopez (Hornchurch and Upminster)

Q15 Mrs Sheryll Murray (South East Cornwall)

Stuck On The Buses With Jezza and May

Stuck in the 1970s, weakly humorous and generally giving off a sense of Britain falling apart at the seams: there’s little difference between the grayscale, brown-jacketed world of Jeremy Corbyn and that portrayed on almost certainly his teatime TV favourite On The Buses. Both Corbyn and his sitcom equivalent engender this sense of England: a place framed by frayed clothes, weak and watery tea, warm beer, inedible sandwiches, awful puns, garish interior fabrics and constant rain. Jeremy Corbyn deals in the politics of socialist nostalgia, the attic of his mind is a retirement home for the broken ideas and shattered ideals of the old left. Favoured among this kunstkammer of intellectual junk are outmoded and technologically superseded modes of transport. For Corbyn, the bus represents the collective society. It’s knackered, grim and useless. But that’s all just fine to him, because everyone’s stuck in it together…

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Penny’s Sign Language at the Despatch Box

PMQs: Who’s Asking the Questions?

Oral Questions to the Prime Minister

Q1 Tommy Sheppard (Edinburgh East) If she will list her official engagements for Wednesday 4 July.
Q2 Dr Roberta Blackman-Woods (City of Durham)
Q3 Rachel Maclean (Redditch)
Q4 Scott Mann (North Cornwall)
Q5 Gillian Keegan (Chichester)
Q6 Mr Simon Clarke (Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland)
Q7 Marsha De Cordova (Battersea)
Q8 Alex Norris (Nottingham North)
Q9 Mr Robert Goodwill (Scarborough and Whitby)
Q10 Julie Cooper (Burnley)
Q11 Chi Onwurah (Newcastle upon Tyne Central)
Q12 Kate Hoey (Vauxhall)
Q13 Angus Brendan MacNeil (Na h-Eileanan an Iar)
Q14 Imran Hussain (Bradford East)
Q15 Andrew Lewer (Northampton South)

Comments in the comments…

Williamson Heckled By Siri

Gavin Williamson’s phone goes off as he speaks at the despatch box. Was he heckled by the sound of his own voice? One of his Insta stories from the Commons chamber? With the audio turned up, it turns out it was actually Siri: “I’ve found something on the web for Syrian Democratic Forces”

Perhaps soon AI will be able to replace MPs as lobby fodder. Dread to think what else Siri has overheard the Defence Secretary say…

Just 7% of MPs Complete Fire Safety Training Despite “Another Grenfell” Warning

Just 7% of MPs have completed fire safety training despite Parliament being identified as a ‘red risk’ fire hazard which has the potential to be “another Grenfell”, Guido can reveal. Around 46 out of 650 have completed Parliament’s online fire safety course which contains vital information on how to evacuate their staff. MPs were asked to undertake the training by House authorities. Sir David Amess, MP’s representative on the Fire Safety Committee, said in an email to colleagues:

“Regardless of how you voted on the restoration and renewal motion, whilst we remain in the Palace it is beholden on all of us to do all we can to make ourselves familiar with evacuation procedures if a fire broke out.”

Former Black Rod David Leakey compared Parliament to “another Grenfell” waiting to happen. Fire experts have rated the collapsing building in the highest possible category of fire risk. Even if MPs don’t care for their own safety they have a duty to their staff…

Kelvin Hopkins: I’m Not on the Fiddle

Lecture on standards in public life from Kelvin Hopkins in the Commons this afternoon.

“I for a long time have been concerned about the public confidence in politicians and the state of government, and it’s very important that we emphasise – we have to get across that we are overwhelmingly honest people trying to do the right thing by our constituents and by the country to improve everyone’s lives. But there are those who aren’t and I’m taken back to when I was first elected as a councillor many years ago, 1972 to be precise, and I was challenged outside a public meeting in my ward by a scrap metal merchant who said ‘look mate, we’re all on the fiddle aren’t we?’ And I said ‘no actually, I’m not on the fiddle’.”

He remains under investigation for alleged sexual harassment…

Bercow Won’t Fly England Flag for Belgium Game Tonight

Bercow confirms that the Cross of St George will not fly above Parliament for the Brexit derby tonight, but it will for future World Cup games. Beaten to it on Whitehall… […] Read the rest


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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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