‘Lager Lout’ Farrelly’s History of Commons Brawls

Accused alongside Speaker John Bercow in the Commons staff bullying scandal is “lager lout” Labour MP Paul Farrelly. The rugby playing Newcastle-Under-Lyme MP has been implicated in a string of well-publicised scrapes and scraps. Last November Labour said they would investigate claims Farrelly “launched a foul-mouthed tirade” at colleague James Frith MP in one of the voting lobbies. Farrelly denied the allegations. It was claimed Farrelly was also involved in an angry confrontation with fellow Labour MPs Gareth Snell and Ruth Smeeth. A Labour spokesman said: “These are being investigated in line with the standing orders of the Parliamentary Labour Party.” What was the outcome? We’ve never heard back…

In 2010 Farrelly admitted wrestling a member of the public to the ground in a bar brawl on the parliamentary estate. He said he acted in self-defence when it was claimed he punched newspaper vendor Bjorn Hurrell above the eye in the incident outside parliament’s notorious Sports and Social bar. At the time Farrelly was a vocal critic of anti-social behaviour and claimed on his website: “Decent people should not see their lives blighted by nuisance and anti-social behaviour.”

Last night’s allegations concern Farrelly’s treatment of former clerk Emily Commander while she worked on the Culture, Media and Sport committee. An internal Commons report obtained by Newsnight shows the clerk told managers:

“I have been anxious about encountering Mr Farrelly… I have repeated nightmares about going on Committee visits with Mr Farrelly and being criticised by him for having neglected tiny details… After particularly unpleasant meetings I have lost my appetite and have on several occasions been physically sick.”

Further allegations surround a Committee trip to Italy in 2014. One participant on that trip claimed:

“He was a complete and utter bully. He wound her up like a screw and reduced her to tears. The more he upset her, the more he enjoyed it, the more he kept turning the screw. He was very aggressive. It felt like no one had the ability or authority to intervene. Everybody knew it was wrong.”

Farrelly told Newsnight: “In 2012 allegations were made about me having bullied a clerk to the Committee during the compilation of the phone hacking report. These allegations were investigated and not upheld.” If Labour are consistent they will suspend him…

A Bloody Difficult Woman Hung The Absolute Boy Out To Dry

A bloody difficult woman just rinsed the absolute boy. Completely, stunningly, beautifully hung him out to dry. And there was no doubt in the Chamber of the House of Commons this was a girl’s job well done.

The true strength of Theresa May’s killer line – that Corbyn had “mansplained” to her about International Women’s Day – wasn’t just in the delivery (though to the Prime Minister’s credit she nailed it; the House loved the funniest, best-targeted and pithiest one-liner she has ever used at PMQs – and perhaps her single most memorable). Those leopard-print kitten heels would have roared if they could.

The great joy of Theresa May’s set-piece salvo on Jeremy Bernard Corbyn’s sexism was even more simple. It worked so well because it is true.

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Corbyn Accuses British Military Advisers of “Directing” Yemen War

This is a quite astonishing claim which Jezza is surely going to have to justify…

May on Corbyn’s Mansplaining

One of May’s best ever slapdowns of Jezza…

PMQs: Who’s Asking the Questions?

Oral Questions to the Prime Minister

Q1 Simon Hoare (North Dorset) If she will list her official engagements for Wednesday 7 March.
Q2 Andrew Bridgen (North West Leicestershire)
Q3 Mrs Louise Ellman (Liverpool, Riverside)
Q4 Stewart Malcolm McDonald (Glasgow South)
Q5 Kirstene Hair (Angus)
Q6 Lilian Greenwood (Nottingham South)
Q7 Rachael Maskell (York Central)
Q8 Mr Alistair Carmichael (Orkney and Shetland)
Q9 Neil Parish (Tiverton and Honiton)
Q10 Emma Reynolds (Wolverhampton North East)
Q11 Mhairi Black (Paisley and Renfrewshire South)

Q12 Colin Clark (Gordon)

Q13 Marsha De Cordova (Battersea)
Q14 Dr Philippa Whitford (Central Ayrshire)
Q15 Glyn Davies (Montgomeryshire)
Comments in the comments…

Rees-Mogg Slams Impress and Mosley In Commons

These are the highlights of a rousing speech in defence of press freedom given by Jacob Rees-Mogg during last night’s Data Protection Bill debate:

“Mr Mosley was the authoriser of a leaflet… What did this leaflet say? As I say, this is so appalling that I am reluctant to read it out in Parliament. Under a heading of “Protect your health”, it said: “There is no medical check on immigration. Tuberculosis, VD and other terrible diseases like leprosy are on the increase. Coloured immigration threatens your children’s health.”

That is the view of the funder of IMPRESS. It is little wonder that our free press does not want to be associated with such a man. It is little wonder that, to its credit, the Labour party has now refused to take any further funding from this man, but IMPRESS has not. IMPRESS has not condemned this man. It has not said it will refuse further funding from the charitable trust he set up purely and specifically to keep IMPRESS running. IMPRESS has done nothing of this kind. It has a reputation of its own, and there is a certain irony in this; its chief executive is a man called Jonathan Heawood, and he tweeted, of all things, that the Daily Mail was “a neo-fascist rag”. Dare I say that he might know a good deal more about neo-fascists than one had thought when that tweet was originally circulated?”

Read Guido’s Impress File here. The Mogg’s not Impressed…

Watson Only Senior Labour Figure to Publicly Stand By Mosley

Tom Watson backed Max Mosley in the Commons earlier, making him the only Labour figure to continue to support the disgraced former fascist:

“If I thought for one moment he held those views contained in that leaflet 57 years ago, I would not have given him the time of day. He is a man though, who in the face of great family tragedy and overwhelming media intimidation, chose to use his limited resources to support the weak against the strong.”

As Guido noted yesterday, Watson is ignoring Mosley’s continuing dodgy views, including his insistence to Cathy Newman this week that he still believes infamous racist and fascist Walter Hesketh is a “very decent person”. Imagine what Watson would be saying if this was a Tory, or indeed anyone who hadn’t given him half a million quid.

Give Jezza the (High Tariff) Boot

Two centimetres of snow in Westminster provided excuse enough for Jeremy Corbyn, leader of Her Majesty’s loyal opposition, to arrive at the set piece event of the political week (watched by millions around the globe, the premium export of British democracy) in hiking boots. Yes, he actually wore a pair of grey, rubber soled hiking boots on the frontbench. Ugg boots and an ‘El Gato’ onesie next week? Spats? Clown shoes? Bowling sneakers? Summer’s on its way: sombrero? Why not get into the spirit of the upcoming World Cup and pitch up in full Venezuela strip? Or how about a mackintosh, trilby hat, sunglasses and a newspaper with eye-holes cut out? 

Your correspondent retraced the route from Corbyn’s office on the Parliamentary Estate to the Chamber of the House of Commons. 99% of that route is inside, under cover, in halls carpeted and heated at your expense. Snow-booted Jez took around five steps exposed to the elements in the course of passing from one palatial building to another – but it’s a path, not a Himalayan pass strewn with the fallen corpses and discarded oxygen bottles of weather-beaten climbers. And unlike the glacial pavements the rest of us have to contend with (despite ever rising council tax), Parliament’s outdoor walkways are cleared of snow by a gang of lackeys (also at your expense). We wouldn’t want any of our beloved politicians to slip over, God forbid! Moreover, it is worth pointing out – not to labour the obvious – that even the most apocalyptic of snowmageddons is yet to bring that white stuff actually inside House of Commons chamber. Why? The place has a roof. As a certain former Prime Minister almost put it, put some proper shoes on, you absolute scruff-bag, the way you dress is now nothing less than a matter of national disgrace. 

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May: No UK PM Could Accept EU Draft Text on Northern Ireland

Try again, Michel…

May: Conceding Control of Laws, Borders and Money Would Be a “Betrayal”

Leavers will be filing this clip away for the future… very difficult for May to backslide now she’s said doing so would be a “betrayal”…

Paw Law

Yesterday in Parliament (Hansard)

Rosie Duffield Labour, Canterbury
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has assessed the potential merits of introducing a new criminal offence of theft of a pet.

George Eustice, The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Theft of a pet is already a criminal offence under the Theft Act 1968. The maximum penalty is 7 years imprisonment. The Sentencing Council updated its guidelines in relation to sentencing for theft offences in February 2016. The guidelines take account of the emotional distress and therefore harm that theft of personal items such as a pet can have on the victim and accordingly recommends higher penalties for such offences.

Barking mad…

MPs Told: ‘Don’t Tell People Your Passwords’

The Information Commissioner’s office has written to MPs to remind them not to share their usernames and passwords with others. Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham wrote to all MPs this week:

“My office observed reports from social media in early December 2017 in which a number of Members openly revealed their practice of sharing their login details and passwords. I was concerned by these reports and have decided to write to all Members to highlight the importance of following good practice in respect of password management and information security.”

During the Damian Green scandal press reports noted the practice of MPs sharing their passwords with staff. Sharing passwords could give MPs plausible deniability over their online actions…

The letter from the ICO came to MPs in the notoriously impregnable form of a Microsoft Word document. The properties tab in Word revealed the username of the document’s author and members of ICO staff who had edited it. Some way to go to achieve max info sec…

Boris on Corbyn’s “B*llocks”

Doesn’t take a lip reader to work out what BoJo thought of that Corbyn question…

Terror Cops Probe “White Powder” Sent to Parliament

The Met Police Counter Terrorism Command are investigating after a letter containing “white powder” was sent to Amber Rudd’s office in Parliament. A Met Police spokesman said:

“At approximately 1136hrs on Tuesday, 13 February, police were informed of a suspicious package that had been delivered to an office within the Palace of Westminster. Police are at the scene and dealing.

“The letter contained a white powder which is currently being assessed by specialists. The office remains closed at this time, but the rest of the Palace of Westminster is open.

“Detectives from the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command have been informed and are investigating.”

A House of Commons spokesman said the powder is “non-harmful”:

“Today the Metropolitan Police investigated a small package containing white powder on the Parliamentary Estate. The powder was found to be non-harmful.”

Parliament is in recess so most MPs are absent from Westminster, though their staff are still working on the Parliamentary Estate. The building was not put into lock-down.

Get in touch if you have any info on this developing story…

May Brought Statistics to a Knife Fight

Armed and dangerous they roam the dingy streets of London at night, drink fuelled and deadly, with nothing less than murderous intent. Increasingly they are the talk of Britain: in newspaper headlines their threats are made with malice, this is an outbreak, a veritable epidemic, some have said, a wave, little less than a plague. Yes, Theresa May’s Cabinet presents a knife crime threat like no other London gang, and as Jeremy Corbyn tried and failed to slam the PM to rights over law and order it was her own front bench that sat sharpening their weapons. As the pair traded barbs over crime numbers – recorded or otherwise –  it was the unknown, secret statistic that increasingly played on the Prime Minister’s mind. The precise number of letters of no confidence in Graham Brady’s safe… 

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Corbyn: ‘Crime is Wrong’


Corbyn confirmed his strong grasp of basic law and order policy at PMQs:

“I am very clear that crime is of course wrong.”

In an exchange about knife crime he went on to suggest “rehabilitation” and “community service orders.” Jail?

PMQs: Watch Live

PMQs: Who’s Asking the Questions?

Oral Questions to the Prime Minister

Q1 Liz McInnes (Heywood and Middleton) If she will list her official engagements for Wednesday 7 February.

Q2 Craig Mackinlay (South Thanet)

Q3 Rehman Chishti (Gillingham and Rainham)

Q4 Jenny Chapman (Darlington)

Q5 Philip Davies (Shipley)

Q6 Mr Dennis Skinner (Bolsover)

Q7 Dr Andrew Murrison (South West Wiltshire)

Q8 Ged Killen (Rutherglen and Hamilton West)

Q9 Alberto Costa (South Leicestershire)

Q10 Alec Shelbrooke (Elmet and Rothwell)

Q11 Derek Thomas (St Ives)

Q12 Stephen Morgan (Portsmouth South)

Q13 Layla Moran (Oxford West and Abingdon)

Q14 Thelma Walker (Colne Valley)

Comments in the comments…

Peers Brand “Self-Serving, Petulant” Adonis a ‘Moon Loon’

Last night the Lords gave a unanimous second reading to the EU Withdrawal Bill and it’s now in committee (that’s where the real battles will be fought). Remainiac-in-chief Lord Adonis withdrew his prized amendment calling for a ‘motion of regret’ that there will not be a second referendum. Adonis’s fellow peers took the mickey out of him throughout the debate.

Lord Cavendish described Adonis’s resignation letter as “long winded, self-serving and petulant”. Lord Forsyth suggested Adonis was suffering from lunar-induced madness on the occasion of the super ‘blue blood’ moon. Adonis was branded a moon loon.

Meanwhile, in an interview with Owen Jones, staunch Blair ally Adonis lavished praise on Jeremy Corbyn and announced he is ready to serve in a Corbyn government. Adonis said:

“I knew Jeremy well when I lived in Islington, he was my MP… I think he’s done a phenomenal job of putting Labour back on the map… if there was a Labour government formed by Jeremy Corbyn I would definitely serve… I’d want to be transport secretary… I could get HS2 opened two years earlier than at the moment.”

In a breathless exchange Adonis also laid it on thick with Jones, telling him:

“I missed one key player Owen – you. When it comes to the campaign to stay in the European Union on behalf of the working people of Britain… alongside Jeremy and Ruth Davidson there will need to be Owen Jones. You will mobilise the under 35s. They will come out as never before. Everywhere I go, I speak at a lot of university meetings and they tell me ‘do you know that Owen Jones and what we can do to get him to come and speak here?'”

That moon sure was powerful…

Big Chief Thornberry Fails to Land a Blow

“YABBADABBADOO” screams Emily Thornberry, beating her fists against her plenteous chest like a gorilla as she dances around the Corbynista totem pole while dawn breaks over the plain. It’s only Lidders today, a mere sliver of a chap, no match for our club-swinging, man-eating Big Chief Thorners, 2018’s Boudica.[…] Read the rest

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No prizes for guessing who Andrea Leadsom is talking about:

“As you said last week, Mr Speaker, we have a responsibility to safeguard the rights of this House and as Leader of the House I seek to do exactly that, treating all members of parliament with courtesy and respect. I hope and expect all Honourable and Right Honourable members to do likewise.”

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