Raab Speaks Out Against May’s Deal

In their first public interaction since his resignation, former DExEU Secretary Dominic Raab calmly slices through May’s Withdrawal Agreement.

IDS Savages May’s Backstop Agreement

Iain Duncan Smith is widely regarded as having saved May’s skin last week with his and Owen Paterson’s meeting in Number 10. Now he’s sounding less conciliatory…

Bercow Bullies Leadsom Out Of The Chamber

The Chamber saw some extraordinary targeting of Andrea Leadsom by the Speaker this morning. Talking in the chamber is very normal behaviour. The way Bercow spoke to the Leader of the Commons is certainly not. It’s clear who comes off worse here. Tetchy Bercow looks like he had a big night last night…

SNP MP Ballses Up In Commons Chamber

SNP MP Hannah Bardell has been lambasted by the Speaker for playing with her balls in the chamber of the House of Commons. Bercow told the House that this is “not the place for this kind of activity.” Guido disagrees – quite some time after Morely and Outwood’s 2015 election result, it’s nice to have balls back in the Commons…

Watch the silly moment in full here:

PMQs: Who’s Asking the Questions?

Oral Questions to the Prime Minister

  1. Andrew Rosindell (Romford)
  2. Mike Amesbury (Weaver Vale)
  3. Caroline Lucas (Brighton, Pavilion)
  4. Neil Parish (Tiverton and Honiton)
  5. Alan Mak (Havant)
  6. Karl Turner (Kingston upon Hull East)
  7. Thangam Debbonaire (Bristol West)
  8. Robert Halfon (Harlow)
  9. Mr Gavin Shuker (Luton South)
  10. Robert Neill (Bromley and Chislehurst)
  11. Colleen Fletcher (Coventry North East)
  12. Marion Fellows (Motherwell and Wishaw)
  13. Angela Smith (Penistone and Stocksbridge)
  14. James Cartlidge (South Suffolk)

Clive Lewis Mocks Suicide In The Chamber

 

Clive Lewis was filmed mocking violent suicide in the House of Commons chamber this afternoon during the Finance Bill debate. This will not go down well…

Mogg Asks May If He Should Write A Letter

“As what my right honourable friend says and what my right honourable friend does no longer match, should I not write to my Right Honourable friend the Member for Altrincham and Sale West?”

The Telegraph is reporting he will hand in a letter.

PMQs: Brexit Knockout Special

Theresa May knew she was in for a tough bout when howls of laughter greeted her stock response to the opening question: “This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others…” She had survived the warm-up rounds with her ministers for now, but could she withstand a gruelling slugfest with the MPs? It must have been serious as Jeremy Corbyn had improbably decided to go in on the issue of the day…

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Andrew Neil Burns Bercow

Andrew Neil had a sly dig at the Speaker after PMQs ended after only 43 minutes today, joking that Bercow only ended it early “probably because he knows that we come out of it now… so he won’t be on television himself”. Not before Bercow had taken the chance to use one of his many interruptions to lecture MPs about “respect and good behaviour” in Parliament. Without a hint of irony…

Commons Clerk Resigning

Bercow has announced that House of Commons Clerk David Natzler is resigning. Natzler will resign and retire in April next year. The Cox report into Parliamentary bullying singled out the Clerk of the House for criticism along with the Speaker and other Commons senior management. When will the Speaker follow his lead…

PMQs: Who’s Asking the Questions?

Oral Questions to the Prime Minister

Q1 Alex Burghart (Brentwood and Ongar) (Conservative) If she will list her official engagements for Wednesday 14 November.
Q2 Chris Elmore (Ogmore) (Labour)
Q3 Marion Fellows (Motherwell and Wishaw) (SNP)
Q4 Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Conservative)
Q5 Leo Docherty (Aldershot) (Conservative)
Q6 Antoinette Sandbach (Eddisbury) (Conservative)
Q7 Mike Wood (Dudley South) (Conservative)
Q8 Wes Streeting (Ilford North) (Labour)
Q9 Yvonne Fovargue (Makerfield) (Labour)
Q10 Ruth Smeeth (Stoke-on-Trent North) (Labour)
Q11 Joan Ryan (Enfield North) (Labour)
Q12 Mr Ronnie Campbell (Blyth Valley) (Labour)
Q13 Alec Shelbrooke (Elmet and Rothwell) (Conservative)
Q14 Kwasi Kwarteng (Spelthorne) (Conservative)

Comments in the comments…

Bercow to Host Parliamentary Anti-Bullying Event

Fresh from explicit criticism in Dame Laura Cox’s report into bulling in the House, over allowing bullying, harassment and sexual harassment… to thrive,shameless Speaker John Bercow will on Wednesday be hosting a stunningly hypocritical anti-bullying event, complete with a photo op in Speakers’ House. In the context of the Cox report, this can only be seen as a brazen act of trolling from the Speaker…

Government Facing Double Defeat in Commons Today

The Government is facing at least two probable defeats in the Commons today, as Labour go on the attack over Brexit legal advice and a rebellion over the timing of cutting the FOBT maximum stake looms. Add to that another battle over Brexit impact assessments…

Keir Starmer is using Labour’s opposition day debate to try to use a ‘humble address’ to force the government to reveal the full legal advice it has received on the proposed Brexit deal. The picture has been complicated by an ERG amendment to their motion – backed by Jacob Rees-Mogg and Steve Baker – which instead calls only for a “full, reasoned position statement laying out the government’s political and legal position”. Which would give the Government a lot more wriggle room, raising suspicions of a backroom compromise…

On the Finance Bill, a cross-party group of 70 MPs led by Iain Duncan Smith and Carolyn Harris will table an amendment calling for the FOBT maximum stake reduction to be brought forward to April 2019 – the issue which led to Sports Minister Tracy Crouch’s resignation two weeks ago. With over 20 Tories, including Boris Johnson and Rees-Mogg, and several DUP MPs already signatories the amendment, the Government is heading for certain defeat on the issue. A climbdown looks inevitable – raising the question of why they didn’t simply change their position earlier and avoid losing another minister…

The Government has yet another headache over a further amendment to the Finance Bill, tabled by Chuka Umunna and Anna Soubry with support from 9 Tory rebels, which calls for them to publish economic impact assessments comparing their proposed deal to remaining in the EU outright, as well as to a ‘no deal’ scenario which they have already committed to do. Given Whitehall’s track record on Brexit forecasting, these are not likely to be particularly enlightening, but the arithmetic will be extremely tight if the Labour frontbench decide to get behind it…

And then there’s just the small matter of the Cabinet meeting this morning after a fresh meeting of ‘pizza club’ last night, with worried ministers including Raab, Leadsom, Gove and Cox this time meeting for warm white wine in Liam Fox’s office. Should be a quiet day…

Brokenshire’s Defence of Sir Roger Scruton

The Government have come out batting for Sir Roger Scruton. Guido welcomes their rare backbone sticking up for a good appointment, and standing up to a baying twitter mob.

UPDATE: Jacob Rees-Mogg makes the point that while Scruton was busy standing up for free speech and democracy in the Soviet Union, several Labour MPs – including some Gwynne now sits alongside on the Labour frontbench – were more interested in sympathising with the oppressive communist regime…

 

Lib Dem Lord Lester Set For Record-Breaking Suspension For Sexual Harassment

Liberal Democrat peer Lord Lester is set for a record-breaking suspension from the House of Lords after Lords’ Privileges and Conduct Committee recommended that he be suspended for three and a half years until June 2022 for sexual harassment and “corrupt inducement” to sexual relations. It will be the longest Parliamentary suspension since the Second World War…

Lester was forced to resign as a Lib Dem spokesman after allegations that he had demanded sex from a female campaigner in return for help to pass legislation. The investigation upheld the complaint “on the basis of the strong and cogent evidence of the complainant and her witnesses.” The fact that it happened 10 years ago was not used as an excuse not to pursue the investigation…

MPs’ Commons Sense Reminder

Tory Deputy Chief Whip Chris Pincher has emailed all Tory MPs urging them to use a bit of common sense when it comes to media organisations conducting surveys of Parliament. Labour MPs have also received a similar email. Spoilsports…

h/t Sam Coates 

UPDATE: A co-conspirator gets in touch to reveal that the whips’ advice was sent out in response to a mass email from the Telegraph asking about how many surgeries MPs held in October and how many people came to them. Have any MPs inadvertently revealed that they’ve been slacking?

Bercow Uses Personal Veto to Block Vaz Investigation

John Bercow has personally stepped in to stop a BBC investigation getting information about the behaviour of Keith Vaz. BBC Newsnight applied under the Freedom of Information Act to see papers relating to Vaz’s trips abroad, after clerks had raised concerns that he was not following parliamentary rules. In August the same programme revealed how Vaz himself had bullied former Commons clerk Jenny McCullough after she questioned his foreign trip expenses.

Bercow argued that administration of committee trips should be covered under parliamentary privilege, and then extraordinarily blocked the matter going to tribunal, using a very unusual personal power to prevent a judge reviewing his argument. Because of this, unlike normal FoI procedure, Newsnight has no means to appeal his decision…

Newsnight’s Chris Cook sums up the extraordinary situation:

“The net result is that the Speaker, who denies bullying, has made an order to hide information about the behaviour of his close personal friend, Keith Vaz, a man who also denies bullying – supposedly to protect MPs’ freedom of speech.

And then he has gone out of his way to use a personal veto to make sure no-one could even consider reviewing that questionable decision.

Bercow will continue to get away with it as long as he is protected by MPs who prioritise his anti-Brexit views over safeguarding and transparency…

Commons Staff Furious at Bullying Inquiry “Stitch-Up”

Commons staff have reacted with fury to the news that the new independent inquiry into Parliamentary bullying specifically rules out taking any action on individual cases. Incredulous staff received a letter from Gemma White QC this morning, informing them that:

“The Inquiry will not reopen past complaints of bullying or harassment or investigate new ones against particular individuals. Nor will it reach conclusions or make recommendations on any individual case.”

One angry researcher called it a “classic Bercow stitch-up”. Of course, an independent inquiry into Parliamentary bullying has already taken place – the Cox Inquiry – and did point the finger of blame at specific individuals, including the Speaker. The whitewash announced today makes a mockery of Parliament’s claims to be taking the issue seriously…

Ishmael Osamor Should Not Be Fired for Drug Conviction

Shadow International Development Secretary Kate Osamor is under increasing pressure after her son Ishmael was convicted of possessing Class A drugs including cocaine and ketamine. A Tory MP has reported her to Parliament’s standards watchdog over her son Ishmael’s drugs arrest – he works for his mother as a communications officer where he spends his day blocking people on Twitter.

Tory MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan has written to Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards Kathryn Stone: “I am writing to request that you launch an investigation into the behaviour of Kate Osamor for breach of the Members’ Code of Conduct” – on the grounds that her employment of him brings the integrity of Parliament into disrepute. Which is a bit much when corrupt Keith Vaz still sits on the green benches without a blush, despite trying to procure cocaine for male prostitutes.

Trevelyan is visiting the sins of the son on the mother. Ishmael has been tried and found guilty and given a two-month community order and 20 days of rehabilitation. He resigned as a councillor in Haringey last week. So he has already had an additional punishment.

Whether an MP should be employing a family member on public money is something that is open to question – Guido thinks not – hundreds of MPs do and it is unfortunately within the rules. It seems though a bit much for MPs to demand an extra-judicial punishment on top of what the judge gave him. Making him unemployed won’t help his rehabilitation. Worse than that though, formally censuring a mother for standing by her son is pathetic…

Was Hain Allowed to Use Parliamentary Privilege to Break Philip Green Injunction?

Peter Hain has heavily defended his use of Parliamentary Privilege to name Philip Green as the businessman behind the injunction against the Telegraph. But was he even allowed to do so?

Under a resolution on Parliamentary Privilege which the House of Lords adopted on 11 May 2000, Peers cannot use their Parliamentary Privilege to refer to any cases which are currently Sub judice – i.e.[…] Read the rest “Was Hain Allowed to Use Parliamentary Privilege to Break Philip Green Injunction?”

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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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