NHS Tax Rises: Would You Prefer to Be Pickpocketed or Mugged?

Which one arrives quicker? An A&E doctor or Jeremy Corbyn’s first question at PMQs? At least the former is subject to a target and to monitoring, and – more often than not – when doctors arrive, they come baring sympathy and hard drugs. When Jezza’s opener finally landed, it was more of the ‘men in white coats’ flavour, in that it only served to confirm the reinforced, double-glazed looking glass through which we have all passed. Jezza quizzed May on tax, accusing her at various points in the exchange of introducing “phantom” and “mystery” taxes in order to pay for the NHS funding increase (which he himself has been demanding since homo sapiens evolved from homo erectus). It’s more than a brass neck when a socialist lectures on tax, Jezza’s must be made from reinforced kevlar… Continue reading

Tories Make Sick Labour MP Vote in Wheelchair

Sick Labour MP Naz Shah is forced to vote in a wheelchair and clutching a sick bucket after the Tories refused to keep to the convention of “nodding through” ill MPs. Well done, great look.

Crackers Brake: I Want to Stop Brexit

56% of his constituents in Carshalton voted to Leave…

PMQs: Who’s Asking the Questions?

Oral Questions to the Prime Minister

Q1 Dr Alan Whitehead (Southampton, Test) If she will list her official engagements for Wednesday 20 June.
Q2 Mr Gavin Shuker (Luton South)
Q3 Simon Hoare (North Dorset)
Q4 Fiona Bruce (Congleton)
Q5 Ronnie Cowan (Inverclyde)
Q6 Gareth Thomas (Harrow West)
Q7 Mr Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi (Slough)
Q8 Lucy Allan (Telford)
Q9 Nigel Mills (Amber Valley)
Q10 Antoinette Sandbach (Eddisbury)
Q11 Bill Wiggin (North Herefordshire)
Q12 Lisa Nandy (Wigan)
Q13 Ian Paisley (North Antrim)
Q14 Bim Afolami (Hitchin and Harpenden)

Comments in the comments…

Saj: Time to Review Scheduling of Cannabis

Sajid Javid announces review of the scheduling of cannabis, currently in the most tightly restricted category reserved for drugs that have “no currently accepted medical use”. The Home Secretary again getting his way over the PM…

Shouty Crackers Lord Moat’s Mask Slips

Remainer rebel Douglas Hogg, asked in the Lords if his mission is to destroy Brexit, lets his mask slip and snaps that he is trying to stop us leaving the EU. The odd rant about the high court of parliament was rather grandiose too. Lord Moat insisted he is not a party hack:

Remainers really don’t help themselves…

Sandbach: I’ll Report Non-Constituents Who Email Me to the Police

Ultra-Remoaner Tory MP Anotinette Sandbach recently got into trouble for reporting an OAP to the police for sending her a polite email criticising her views on Brexit. Pretty bonkers even by Sandbach’s standards. Well, now Antoinette has updated her standard email auto-reply, threatening non-constituents who email her that she might report them to the cops:

“Please note that due to strict Parliamentary protocols, I will be unable to take up concerns of non-constituents.  If you are not a constituent and you have sent me a campaign email please note that your email will be retained in accordance with my data policy and may be disclosed to third parties in accordance with my data policy.  Emails which are abusive, threatening distressing or which may or could amount to harrassment will be disclosed to the police and relevant regulators.  For the avoidance of doubt any further contact from non constituents, who have received this bounceback and are therefore aware that I can not deal with their query may be classed as harrasment may be reported to the police and other relevant authorities including the House of Commons authorities and the Member of Parliament for the non constituent.”

Totally normal behaviour.

Police Called to Sports and Social After ‘Fake Pass’ Scare

Police were called to Parliament’s Sports and Social bar last night after a man was challenged over a ‘fake’ House of Lords pass. Scottish Conservatives and SNP researchers spotted a man in the bar wearing what they described as a counterfeit parliamentary pass. One told Guido:

“It was obviously a fake pass. The red lines were the wrong distance apart, the numbers were the wrong size and it wasn’t double sided… When he was challenged he hid the pass in his pocket and then fled the parliamentary estate… others also saw him earlier this week on the terrace.”

A Met Police spokesman said there were no arrests. Witnesses said the police took statements. A House of Lords Spokesman said:

“The Police attended the Sports and Social Bar last night in relation to an access issue. It was not in response to a disturbance or breach of the peace.”

The incident comes weeks after a man was arrested after breaching Parliament’s security fence and attempting to climb scaffolding on the building. Management of the troubled Sports and Social is due to be brought “in house” after summer recess. Another Parliamentary security scare…

Lord’s Speaker Fowler off to Romania for EU Junket

Lord (Norman) Fowler, a onetime newspaper hack who is now the not unpompous Speaker of the House of Lords, has been given ‘leave of absence today by the EU-loving House of Lords – to go on an EU-sponsored freebie. Fowler is attending the two-day annual piss-up important seminar of the Association of European Senates in Bucharest at one of the Ceaușescu‘s old palaces. This is an EU-backed outfit which aims to ‘strengthen European identity and awareness’.

Sitting on the Woolsack all day, Fowler may not have noticed or actually believe we are leaving the EU. How much is his freebie costing the taxpayer? And have you noticed how these foreign shindigs always happen at the end of a week, allowing participants to stay over for a few extra days of fact-finding/knees-upping? Sănătate!

Flint Demolishes Remoaner Colleagues Who “Insulted” Leave Voters

Caroline Flint demolishes the arguments of Labour Remainers and Anna Soubry that we should join the EEA. She says the EEA is the worst possible Brexit other than no deal, that free movement must end to respect the referendum result, and that Leave voters have been “insulted” by her colleagues for years. There are some Labour MPs who respect the will of their constituents…

SNP Leader Kicked Out of Commons

The SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford deliberately gets himself suspended from the Commons with a naff stunt at PMQs. The rest of the Nats then walked out in protest as Bercow floundered and completely lost control. Oh well. Bye!

PMQs: Who’s Asking the Questions?

Oral Questions to the Prime Minister

Q1 Gareth Thomas (Harrow West) If she will list her official engagements for Wednesday 13 June.
Q2 Sandy Martin (Ipswich)
Q3 Mr Mark Harper (Forest of Dean)
Q4 Julie Cooper (Burnley)
Q5 Richard Drax (South Dorset)
Q6 Dr David Drew (Stroud)
Q7 Jo Stevens (Cardiff Central)
Q8 Luke Hall (Thornbury and Yate)
Q9 Brendan O’Hara (Argyll and Bute)
Q10 Pete Wishart (Perth and North Perthshire)
Q11 Jeff Smith (Manchester, Withington)
Q12 Chris Law (Dundee West)
Q13 Anna McMorrin (Cardiff North)
Q14 Angela Crawley (Lanark and Hamilton East)
Q15 Alison Thewliss (Glasgow Central)

Comments in the comments…

Serjeant-at-Arms: Bercow Victim of “Witch Hunt”

The senior official responsible for security and order in the House of Commons has dismissed bullying allegations against John Bercow and said the Speaker is the victim of a “witch hunt”. The extraordinary intervention in defence of beleaguered Bercow by Serjeant-at-Arms Kamal El-Hajji is published in the official Commons mag, The Housethis morning. El-Hajji wrote:

“There has recently been article after article in the daily newspapers containing speculation and accusations regarding Mr Speaker’s code of conduct and the allegedly ‘unprofessional’ way that he treats staff and colleagues working in Parliament. Due to a considerable lack of evidence supporting these allegations, it seems clear to me that there is a witch hunt against him, whether it is coming from previously disgruntled staff members or ex-colleagues trying to settle old scores of some kind.

“…we feel that there is a witch hunt going on trying to discredit Mr Speaker… I felt it’s important to stand up for what is right and to show support and solidarity to someone who has done such a great deal for Parliament and for the country.”

El-Hajji was selected for the job in 2015 by a panel of MPs headed by Bercow – he would not have got the job without the Speaker’s approval. Nice way to pay him back…

El-Hajii’s defence does not address any of the actual bullying allegations, which are extensive. It is in stark contrast to comments made by former Black Rod David Leakey, who said Bercow was unworthy of the office of Speaker. How can bullying and harassment victims have any confidence in Parliament after this display?

UPDATE: A government source condemns the Sarjeant-at-Arms: “He should be neutral in all of this. It’s really beyond unprofessional.” 

Brexiters Insist They’ve Not Been Played, As Remainers Claim We’re Heading For EEA+

The government ‘won’ the meaningful vote amendment by conceding parts a) and b) of the Dominic Grieve amendment. Those sections say that if there is no deal by November 30 then the Commons must “approve” the “course of action”.

Remainers are briefing out that this means the EU will drag its feet until November 30, by which point parliament takes control of the negotiation, no deal is effectively off the table and the UK position is ultimately watered down to EEA+. If these tweets from two very clued up Brexit journalists prove to be correct, Brexiters have been totally played. We would be heading for the softest of non-Brexits.

Senior Brexiters are adamant they have not been played. They insist they have been assured by whips that the government has not conceded that the Commons will direct negotiations if there is no deal by November 30, contrary to Remainer briefing. They insist all they have conceded is a series of statements. We heard that one before in December.

Both sides think they have won. Obviously they both cannot be right. Tradition would suggest it is the Brexiters who realise a few weeks down the line that they have been screwed. We will find out soon enough…

UPDATE: Some senior Brexiters are now worried they have been done. One says: “If Theresa and Julian have sold us out here they are in real trouble. She reassured us all at the 1922. There is no way she can recover if she has now f*cked us over.” 

UPDATE II: A government source attempts to reassure: “Brexiteers have nothing to worry about. While the discussions will now continue, no concession has been made. Brexiteers have not been sold a pup.”

UPDATE III: Dexeu insists: “We have not, and will not, agree to the House of Commons binding the Government’s hands in the negotiations.” That’s not what Remainers thought…

Collins Humiliated as Banks Walks Out For Lunch

After running rings around Damian Collins and his dire DCMS committee all morning, Arron Banks then left them completely humiliated by standing up, telling them he had a lunch to go to and walking out. Nothing the impotent Collins could do. Watch to the end to see his face – a picture of total defeat. That’s how you take grandstanding select committee chairmen down a peg or two…

UPDATE: Guido hears their lunch date was with DUP MPs Ian Paisley and Sammy Wilson.

Customs Can Kicked Down Road at The ’22

No fireworks at the 1922 Committee tonight – instead, yet more fudge. A “very nervous looking” Theresa May grew in confidence as the meeting went on – this was no dramatic showdown. It emerged Nicky Morgan will put her name to a new amendment-in-lieu on the customs “arrangement” (an emergency compromise being drafted by Oliver Letwin), which will also carry the support of senior Brexiters. This will – it is said – also stave off any trouble over the meaningful vote. The amendment will mean the government should avoid defeat on Wednesday and the whole customs battle will – yet again – be kicked down the road…

There were no surprises in May’s speech – Tory MPs became aware of its contents in advance since most of it had been briefed. Guido is told questions were mostly supportive of the PM. IDS spoke to urge party unity. Philip Davies presented the most tricky intervention, urging the PM to make sure Brexit is delivered in a manner true to the referendum. May repeated her lines. Andrea Jenkyns urged more positivity on Brexit in general – a floor-perched Anna Soubry shook her head throughout. Boris was absent. A theatrical display of unity was presented to the waiting press in the corridor – a joint spin-session from top Brexiter Steve Baker and former remainer Robert Buckland showed a united front. Buckland said: “we’ll hang together or we’ll all hang separately”. The proverbial can kicked down the road again…

Possibly the Stupidest Urgent Question Bercow’s Ever Granted

The Speaker has allowed one UQ from Keith Vaz MP as below:

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the reports of an imminent Saudi/UAE- led coalition attack on Hudaydah port, Yemen and the humanitarian impact.

Of the 7 Urgent Questions tabled today only his mate Vaz’s got granted – inserted just before the Prime Minister addresses the House on the G7 meeting. Ridiculous to ask the Government to comment on a speculated foreign military attack on a third country. What exactly does Bercow expect Alastair Burt to say?

Cummings Threatens Commons Poster Protest

John Bercow has entertained the ridiculous charade of grandstanding Remoaner Damian Collins attempting to compel Vote Leave boss Dominic Cummings to come to his committee, allowing a debate on the great pressing issue of our nation tomorrow. Guido is reliably informed that Cummings is threatening to mount some form of protest from the public gallery. One suggestion being  considered, inspired by the epic CBI ‘voice of Brussels’ stunt during the referendum, is that Cummings could unveil a banner during the debate which says “Where the f**k is our £350 million a week for the NHS?” Wouldn’t be the first time he’s hijacked the Six O’Clock News with Vote Leave’s core message…

One of May’s Worst PMQs

May Refuses to Answer Any Questions on Brexit

A farcical outing from Theresa May at PMQs, who refused to answer any of Corbyn’s questions on when the Brexit white paper is coming or how the government’s customs policy is coming along.[…] Read the rest

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No prizes for guessing who Andrea Leadsom is talking about:

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