May Asked What Qualifies Corbyn For Brexit Involvement

Lee Rowley asked a stinging question at today’s PMQs. May’s answer is predictably robotic…

PMQs: Who’s Asking the Questions?

Q1 Mr Jim Cunningham (Coventry South) (Lab)
Q2 Owen Smith (Pontypridd) (Lab)
Q3 Afzal Khan (Manchester, Gorton) (Lab)
Q4 Jonathan Edwards (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr) (PC)
Q5 Preet Kaur Gill (Birmingham, Edgbaston) (Lab)
Q6 Stewart Hosie (Dundee East) (SNP)
Q7 Sir David Amess (Southend West) (Con)
Q8 Luke Pollard (Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport) (Lab)
Q9 Martin Whitfield (East Lothian) (Lab)
Q10 Jim Shannon (Strangford) (DUP)
Q11 Stephen Doughty (Cardiff South and Penarth) (Lab)
Q12 Naz Shah (Bradford West) (Lab)
Q13 Karin Smyth (Bristol South) (Lab)
Q14 Kirsty Blackman (Aberdeen North) (SNP)
Q15 John Grogan (Keighley) (Lab)

Parliamentary Coup Escalates: Plotters Table Full-On Brexit-Blocking Bill

After their first two attempts at a coup flopped miserably, the Cooper/Boles/Benn/Letwin shadow Government have significant escalated their takeover plans, with Yvette Cooper tabling a full-on Brexit-blocking Bill which they will try to ram through the Commons tomorrow. The Bill tries to block a no-deal Brexit by ordering the PM to seek yet another Article 50 extension from the EU.

The plotters aren’t even trying to use the excuse any more that they’re just trying to let Parliament have its say, by trying to force through an entire Act of Parliament they are taking on the mantle of a Government but with none of the accountability or scrutiny that should involve. All in the name of blocking the country’s biggest ever democratic vote…

Parliament Hikes Food and Drink Prices Above Inflation

Parliamentary staffers were in for a nasty April Fools surprise yesterday as Commons catering prices rose by a whopping 2.7%. The change affects cafeterias, dining rooms, and worst of all, bars. Sadly for everyone on the estate this isn’t a joke…

Suspiciously, 2.7% is exactly how much MPs’ pay is rising this year, whereas staff budgets are rising by just 1.5%– below the 1.9% inflation rate of February. This means MPs won’t be hit by this but staffers will. Good to see Parliament looking after hard done by MPs who only earn a mere £50,000 above the national average, plus generous expenses…

Guido has long thought that Parliament shouldn’t be centrally determining the prices of food and drink in the Commons, and should let commercial chains operate within the estate. Let them be free to choose between Greggs, Leon, McDonalds, Pret, Whetherspoons… 

Moment Boles Quits Tories

Nick Boles told a shocked House of Commons he was quitting the Tories – seemingly because he was upset that the Government whipped hard against his amendment and in favour of their own policy and manifesto. Funny that…

Huw Merriman can be heard urging Boles not to go. Naturally the SNP applaud…

House of Commons indicative round II results were as follows:

(C) Customs Union AYES: 273 NOES: 276
(D) Common Market 2.0 AYES: 261 NOES: 282
(E) Confirmatory Public Vote AYES: 280 NOES: 292
(G) Parliamentary Supremacy AYES: 191 NOES: 292

And the winner was… May’s deal as per Friday with 286 votes in favour…

Bercow’s Modern Minor Genital

The Speaker is becoming increasingly theatrical…

He is the very model of a modern minor genital,
His exclamations patronising, animal, imperial,
He is the Prince of Parliament, he quotes debates historical,
From Erskine May to made-up way, in order quite dishonourable.

G Fawkes, 2019.

Naked Protesters Storm the House of Commons

In a turn up for the books, more arses were on show in the Commons chamber than usual this afternoon. James Heappey has taken a photograph of the protest that seemed to grip the attention of quite a number of MPs. No, it’s not about Brexit, they’re protesting climate change…

UPDATE: Here’s the front view…

Update II: Police have had trouble removing the protesters as they have glued their hands to the glass…

Bercow Stitches Up Parliamentary Votes Yet Again

John Bercow has cooked up yet another Speaker’s Stitch-Up Special with his selections for tonight’s second batch of indicative votes tonight. Bercow selected only four Remainer motions for MPs to vote on tonight. They are more or less identical to the ones which were all rejected just five days ago:

  • C (Clarke) – Customs Union – already rejected 272-264
  • D (Boles) – Common Market 2.0 – already rejected 283-188
  • E (Kyle) – Second referendum – already rejected 295-268
  • G (Cherry) – Revoke Article 50  already rejected 293-184

Bercow refused to allow any Brexiteer motions including John Baron’s Motion A on a unilateral right of exit from the backstop. Despite this previously securing a majority in the Commons in the form of the Brady Amendment.

To be fair Joanna Cherry’s is slightly different from the one rejected last time. It now also contains the bonkers provisions of launching a formal public inquiry to come up with a new kind of Brexit, which might then be put to the public in a second referendum to give the Government permission to re-trigger Article 50 and try to re-negotiate it with the EU months or even years down the line. If it sounds mad it’s because it is – it was literally written by Jolyon Maugham

Bercow is now busy tying himself in knots trying to explain why he refused to allow the Government to use a secondary motion to bring back a Meaningful Vote, but will allow Hilary Benn and Oliver Letwin’s secondary motion to bring back identical Indicative Votes twice in just four sitting days. Of all the institutions which have lost the public’s trust over their attempts to subvert Brexit, none have been damaged more than the Office of the Speaker…

Staff Told to Leave Parliament “As a Matter of Caution”

Parliamentary staff have been emailed advising them to leave Parliament before the Brexit protests outside get busier. Tour groups have already been sent home and staff have been advised to leave the estate “as a matter of caution”, while MPs have been instructed to only leave through certain exits. Guido has redacted the details:

“We are expecting protests outside the estate to get significantly busier over the next hour.

As a matter of caution, we are advising staff to leave the estate. As ever, it is important for you to remove your pass as this can potentially make you a target.

At this point, 3.30pm, all pedestrian exits are now open.

Members to only leave the estate through ####### or #######. Vehicles are able to leave the estate by #######.”

The protests have been entirely peaceful so far, there is no excuse for anyone to resort to violence or threatening behaviour…

The 39 MPs Who Rebelled on May’s Deal

May’s deal was voted down again by 58 votes after she failed to bring the numbers across. Only 5 Labour MPs rebelled, not remotely enough to rescue May, along with 4 independents:

  • Ian Austin (Ind)
  • Kevin Barron (Lab)
  • Rosie Cooper (Lab)
  • Frank Field (Ind)
  • Jim Fitzpatrick (Lab)
  • Caroline Flint (Lab)
  • Lady Hermon (Ind)
  • Stephen Lloyd (Ind)
  • John Mann (Lab)

34 Tories rebelled the other way and held out against May’s deal – 28 Leavers and 6 Remainers:

  • Adam Afriyie
  • Steve Baker
  • John Baron
  • Guto Bebb (REMAIN)
  • Peter Bone
  • Suella Braverman
  • Andrew Bridgen
  • Bill Cash
  • Christopher Chope
  • James Duddridge
  • Mark Francois
  • Marcus Fysh
  • Justine Greening (REMAIN)
  • Dominic Grieve (REMAIN)
  • Sam Gyimah (REMAIN)
  • Philip Hollobone
  • Adam Holloway
  • Ranil Jayawardena
  • Bernard Jenkin
  • Andrea Jenkyns
  • Jo Johnson (REMAIN)
  • David Jones
  • Phillip Lee (REMAIN)
  • Julian Lewis
  • Julia Lopez
  • Craig Mackinlay
  • Anne Marie Morris
  • Priti Patel
  • Owen Paterson
  • John Redwood
  • Laurence Robertson
  • Andrew Rosindell
  • Lee Rowley
  • Theresa Villiers

The rest voted all followed their party whips, including the 10 crucial DUP MPs who all rejected the deal again…

Soubry Confused About Her Party’s Name

Soubry just told parliament she is in the “change dot org” party. Which is unfortunate because the Change.org petition site is lawyering up over the name use.

They say: “It’s said that imitation is a form of flattery… We are seeking guidance on the proposed use of our brand name by those reported to be setting up a new political party.”

Soubry getting it mixed up won’t help in court if Chuka’s party claims the name isn’t confusing…

Raab: I Will Vote For The Motion

“I will vote for the motion. I will do so without prejudice to my position on the Section 13 Meaningful Vote, to achieve two essential outcomes. To stave off a longer extension and prevent European Elections in May, and I hope the Government can more vigorously pursue the reassurances we need on the Withdrawal Agreement and the Political Declaration to make the deal more acceptable to this House.”

He tweeted out the following explanation:

I spoke today in the latest Brexit debate. We need to proceed with realism. The choice now is between the risk of the EU trapping us in the Backstop for a period, and a significant risk of losing Brexit altogether. Neither are palatable. On that basis, I will vote for today’s motion: – to stave off a longer extension and prevent MEP elections being held in the UK – in the hope that the Government can more vigorously pursue the reassurances required to make this deal acceptable. This is without prejudice to my position on the third Meaningful Vote which will have to return to the House of Commons – the government will have time before then to secure those reassurances.

There was a market in the Tory membership for a no compromise leadership candidate, clearly Raab calculated that there was no such opportunity in the parliamnetary party that chooses the two candidates. He might be right, however what is his leadership USP now?

MPs Indicative Options

MPs are voting on whether to again seize control from the elected Government on Monday 1st April, before moving on to the much touted ‘indicative votes.’ Sixteen options were proposed by MPs to be voted on at 7pm this evening, but the speaker stripped this down to eight. The options to be voted on this evening now are…

  • B (John Baron): Calls on the Government to leave the EU without a deal on April 12.
  • D (Nick Boles): Endorses ‘Common Market 2.0’ (Norway with a customs union tacked on).
  • H (George Eustice): EEA membership, without an added customs union.
  • J (Ken Clarke): Endorses leaving the EU with a customs union.
  • K (Jeremy Corbyn): Backs Labour’s ‘deal’, a customs union and future regulatory alignment with the EU.
  • L (Joanna Cherry): To revoke Article 50 in the event of no deal.
  • M (Margaret Beckett): Any withdrawal agreement must be put to a second referendum.
  • O (Marcus Fysh): Malthouse Compromise Plan B. Seeks a transitional agreement with the EU while negotiating trade deal in exchange for £39 billion.

The Speaker stripped out Bill Cash’s amendment to stop the House manipulating standing orders again, Nicky Morgan’s Malthouse Plan A amendment, and Will Quince’s amendment reaffirming that Britain must leave the EU.

The Cabinet are boycotting this whole farce. Brexiteer MPs should too…

Cabinet to Abstain on Indicative Votes

Whips have confirmed to MPs that this evening’s votes will not be whipped, and the Cabinet will abstaining. A strong hint for non-Cabinet MPs themselves to abstain…

Meanwhile Labour have announced they will whip to support Margaret Beckett’s pro-second referendum amendment and Gareth Snell’s pro-customs union amendment, although they have hinted rebel frontbenchers won’t face sanctions. Brexiteer MPs should boycott this whole farce…

Bercow: “I Positively Salivated” Over Meeting School Children

Weird phrasing…

May’s Response to Resignation Question Sparks Resignation Speculation

Lobby hacks sense something in May’s tone today at PMQs:

We’ll find out tonight when she speaks to the 1922 Committee…

PMQs: Who’s Asking the Questions?

Q1 Stewart Hosie (Dundee East) (SNP)
Q2 Andrew Bridgen (North West Leicestershire) (Con)
Q3 Maggie Throup (Erewash) (Lab)
Q4 Bill Wiggin (North Herefordshire) (Con)
Q5 Jack Lopresti (Filton and Bradley Stoke) (Con)
Q6 Chris Elmore (Ogmore) (Lab)
Q7 Stephen Lloyd (Eastbourne) (Ind) (fmr LD)
Q8 Carol Monaghan (Glasgow North West) (SNP)
Q9 Jamie Stone (Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross) (LD)
Q10 Diana Johnson (Kingston upon Hull North) (Lab)
Q11 Chi Onwurah (Newcastle upon Tyne Central) (Lab)
Q12 Anne-Marie Trevelyan (Berwick-upon-Tweed) (Con)
Q13 Sir Peter Bottomley (Worthing West) (Con)
Q14 Afzal Khan (Manchester, Gorton) (Lab)
Q15 Jim Shannon (Strangford) (DUP)

Could it be May’s last PMQs before announcing her resignation tonight?

MPs Will Debate Article 50 Petition on April Fool’s Day

The Government have responded to the viral Revoke Article 50 petition, putting out a strongly worded statement confirming that they will not be revoking Article 50 as it would “undermine both our democracy and the trust that millions of voters have placed in the Government”. Guido received the update to the email address he used to sign as Jean-Claude Juncker from Iran, which tells you all you need to know about the veracity of all the signatures…

Despite the chaos engulfing it, the Government have mustered enough of a sense of humour to put the debate on April Fool’s Day next Monday in Westminster Hall. It will be competing with Hilary Benn’s extended coup, Remainers are spoiled for choice…

Read the Government’s full response below:

Continue reading

Hilary Benn Extends Parliamentary Coup Into Next Week

Fresh from tasting blood with a 27-vote majority in last night’s vote on their amendment to hijack Parliament, Hilary Benn and Oliver Letwin have now published their business motion to hold indicative votes tomorrow – as expected it’s their comrade-in-arms Bercow who will be deciding exact what MPs are allowed to express their “preferences” for tomorrow. Now the motion reveals reveals that Benn and Letwin will also be taking over Parliament next Monday as well.

It will not be the last time this happens. An unelected shadow Government of backbench MPs breaks the thread of democratic accountability with the public, they cannot be called to account at the Despatch Box in Parliament, they do not have to respond questions, FoI requests, and they cannot be held accountable as a coherent entity at the ballot box. The Remainer coup has begun…

Crispin Blunt Accuses May of “Most Shameful Surrender by a British Leader” Since 1942

May might have been expecting a hard time from the DUP, nothing will have prepared her for this rocket from normally soft-spoken Tory MP Crispin Blunt. Former Foreign Affairs Committee chair Blunt says she has put the “final torpedo” in her deal by taking no deal off the table and accuses her of the “most shameful surrender by a British leader since Singapore in 1942”.[…] Read the rest

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Sketch Round-Up

WHO IS BACKING WHO? WHO IS BACKING WHO?