PMQs: Trick or Treat?

Theresa nervously twitched the curtains. Would it be trick or treat for her today? Kids these days were getting awfully greedy, although Phil had given her a large stash of sweets earlier this week. Hopefully that would be enough to keep them happy. There came a knock at the door. She cautiously opened it up. It was Mark from the Forest of Dean. Nice Mark just wanted to tell her how delicious Phil’s sweets were. She agreed, they certainly were! Hopefully everyone else will be just as polite, she thought…

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Corbyn Walks Right Into PMQs Trap

Jeremy Corbyn has got somewhat better at PMQs compared to his early attempts back in those heady days of 2015, but his improvement didn’t stretch to spotting the obvious trap of mentioning Hammond’s tax cuts. May was well prepared to hit back at the Labour Party’s flip flopping on the issue. Amateur hour…

Prime Minister’s Saucy Banter

“The Member for Wellingborough might well like the hot English Brexit sauce to put on his breakfast sausages”

PMQs: Who’s Asking the Questions?

Oral Questions to the Prime Minister

Q1 Alan Brown (Kilmarnock and Loudoun) (SNP) If she will list her official engagements for Wednesday 31 October.
Q2 Teresa Pearce (Erith and Thamesmead) (Labour)
Q3 Lilian Greenwood (Nottingham South) (Labour)
Q4 Mr Mark Harper (Forest of Dean) (Conservative)
Q5 Christian Matheson (City of Chester) (Labour)
Q6 Chris Ruane (Vale of Clwyd) (Labour)
Q7 Paula Sherriff (Dewsbury) (Labour)
Q8 Stewart Hosie (Dundee East) (SNP)
Q9 Albert Owen (Ynys Môn) (Labour)
Q10 Robert Halfon (Harlow) (Conservative)
Q11 Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Conservative)
Q12 Steve Double (St Austell and Newquay) (Conservative)
Q13 Sir David Crausby (Bolton North East) (Labour)
Q14 Martyn Day (Linlithgow and East Falkirk) (SNP)
Q15 Mary Glindon (North Tyneside) (Labour)

Comments in the comments…

Commons Clerk Torpedoes Remainers’ Brexit Sabotage Hopes

Commons Clerk David Natzler has torpedoed the wishful thinking of Dominic Grieve and others that they will be able to use motions in the House of Commons to force the Government into any particular course of action on Brexit, be it preventing no deal, extending Article 50 or forcing a second referendum. Natzler confirmed that the Government would have no legal obligation to follow any such motions. Remainers can pass as many motions as they like but none of them will stop Brexit…

As ever, the Government can only be bound by statute – although this does mean the Government is still vulnerable to amendments to primary legislation. Natzler also didn’t have a view on what would happen if the Meaningful Vote motion itself was amended, saying it would be a question for the lawyers. Brexit not entirely out of the woods yet…

Nokes Gets Narky With Cooper

It’s fair to say that Immigration Minister Caroline Noakes was less than impressed with her Home Affairs Select Committee appearance overrunning by 45 minutes, leading to a tetchy exchange with chair Yvette Cooper. Stephen Doughty chipping in with “tough luck, Minister” probably didn’t help the mood either…

McDonnell v Corbyn on Tax Cuts


Labour haven’t quite worked out what their line is on the perennially popular idea of letting people keep more of their own money.

“We wouldn’t reverse” versus “ideological tax cuts.”

Corbyn didn’t really know how to respond yesterday and just blurted out his usual slogans and soundbites…

Liz’s Lap Dance

The Commons erupts with cheers as Liz Truss can’t find a seat on the front bench for the Budget Statement and ends up sitting on Sajid Javid’s knee. Not the first time she’s sat on another MP’s lap…

PMQs: Jeremy’s Book Club

Jeremy was in a bad mood. He hadn’t had enough sleep, and Seumas had forced him to spend all morning reading something about Derby Council. Worst of all, it was Theresa’s turn to choose the book this week. She had probably picked some boring self-help book about leadership. He really just wanted to read through the latest copy of Allotment Gardeners Monthly and yet he was forced to turn up and pretend to be interested in other people’s books every week.

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Calamity Karen’s Cup Kerfuffle

Northern Ireland Secretary Calamity Karen had a spot of bother spilling her glass of water across the table. Thankfully Shadow Northern Ireland Minister Stephen Pound was on hand with a tissue to squeeze spilled water back into the glass. Yum. Water calamity! 

“She Doesn’t Know If She’s Going to be PM Next Week”

Clwyd South MP Susan Elan Jones delivered a cutting prelude to her PMQ today.

“The Prime Minister has already said she doesn’t know what’s in next week’s budget, although she doesn’t know if she’s going to be Prime Minister next week perhaps that’s not a surprise…”

After the jibe it looks like the PM has to ask the Chancellor why everyone is laughing and raucous. When he tells her she makes a dismissive face. Ouch.

PMQs: Who’s Asking the Questions?

Oral Questions to the Prime Minister

Q1 Mr Paul Sweeney (Glasgow North East) (Labour) If she will list her official engagements for Wednesday 24 October.
Q2 Sir David Amess (Southend West) (Conservative)
Q3 Alex Chalk (Cheltenham) (Conservative)
Q4 Gordon Marsden (Blackpool South) (Labour)
Q5 Patrick Grady (Glasgow North) (SNP)
Q6 Jess Phillips (Birmingham, Yardley) (Labour)
Q7 Richard Graham (Gloucester) (Conservative)
Q8 Mhairi Black (Paisley and Renfrewshire South) (SNP)
Q9 Christine Jardine (Edinburgh West) (Lib Dem)
Q10 Paul Masterton (East Renfrewshire) (Conservative)
Q11 David T. C. Davies (Monmouth) (Conservative)
Q12 Judith Cummins (Bradford South) (Labour)
Q13 Tonia Antoniazzi (Gower) (Labour)
Q14 Susan Elan Jones (Clwyd South) (Labour)

Comments in the comments…

Kinnock’s Insurance Slip Up

Labour’s Stephen Kinnock made himself look a bit silly in the Commons yesterday, as he implied he had never taken out an insurance policy before.

Kinnock: The backstop is an insurance policy. Can the Prime Minister give us an example of any insurance policy she has ever seen or signed up to that was based on an expiry date?

PM TM: I do not know what insurance policies the hon. Gentleman takes out, but most insurance policies have a renewal date.

Being the son of a Labour leader and EU Commissioner, as well as the husband of a former Danish Prime Minister, Guido suspects that Kinnock Jr. doesn’t worry about menial tasks such as insurance policies. Awkward.

Bercow Has No Intention of Resigning Next year

Watch the reaction when Sky reporter Aubrey Allegretti asked John Bercow to clear up if he’s definitely resigning as Speaker next summer. He didn’t answer and instead his aide aggressively shoved the reporter away. This is revealing on a number of levels.

Firstly, the video reveals that he condones this kind of unnecessarily aggressive behaviour from his staff. Secondly it confirms that Bercow is unwilling to give an on the record confirmation of when he intends to step down. It has been widely reported that “John Bercow has told friends he intends to stand down as Commons Speaker next summer”. The use of “friends” by political journalists often means the subject himself is giving an unattributable comment or he has authorised someone the comment on his behalf. By avoiding giving an on the record commitment to go he will be able to say next year that he gave no such commitment, despite it being widely reported this week.

Bercow’s ruse is intended to merely take the heat out of the moment following publication of the Cox report and leading parliamentarians calling for him to go. Not the usual awkward squad, people like Maria Miller. By letting it be known without personally committing that he intends to go soon, he discourages MPs from making a move against him. A push against the Speaker requires substantial effort and involves the risk of retribution or a loss of preferment. The Speaker enjoys almost monarchical powers in parliament, he is the prince of the Palace of Westminster. Wounding him without removing him means he will be able to exact revenge and that is very much within his bullying nature. Unless there is a concerted and organised cross-party effort Bercow will stay in office for as many years as he can. He has no intention of stepping down whatever his “friends” tell the press.

PMQs: Special Delivery

“Ding dong!” That was odd, thought Theresa. Who could it be at this time? She didn’t remember ordering anything. Bemused, she pottered over to the door and cautiously opened it up. A wispy old man dressed strangely like a delivery boy was shuffling from foot to foot on the doorstep. “What is it?” she asked. “Err, I’ve got a pizza for Theresa,” he mumbled, nervously reading from a piece of paper. “To share with Esther and Penny?” How very strange, Theresa puzzled. She had invited Esther and Penny over to play checkers, but both of them had turned her down, muttering something about “being dead”. They had been doing rather a lot of socialising this week, she supposed…

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Bercow Unmoved by Commons Harassment

Watch this to the moment when Labour’s Teresa Pearce told the House that her constituent who was a victim of abuse by her employer. Her employer being “this House”. You could hear a pin drop in the chamber. Bercow couldn’t bring himself to look at Pearce. He just stares resolutely down at his order paper…

Corbyn’s PMQs Pizza Gag

A reasonably well-executed gag about pizza from Corbyn after grilling the PM on whether Chequers is dead or not…

PMQs: Who’s Asking the Questions?

Oral Questions to the Prime Minister

Q1 Mrs Sheryll Murray (South East Cornwall) (Conservative) If she will list her official engagements for Wednesday 17 October.
Q2 Steve McCabe (Birmingham, Selly Oak) (Labour)
Q3 Alex Norris (Nottingham North) (Labour)
Q4 Ian C. Lucas (Wrexham) (Labour)
Q5 Tim Loughton (East Worthing and Shoreham) (Conservative)
Q6 Mr Alistair Carmichael (Orkney and Shetland) (Lib Dem)
Q7 Pete Wishart (Perth and North Perthshire) (SNP)
Q8 Sir Patrick McLoughlin (Derbyshire Dales) (Conservative)
Q9 Steve Double (St Austell and Newquay) (Conservative)
Q10 Siobhain McDonagh (Mitcham and Morden) (Labour)
Q11 Kevin Hollinrake (Thirsk and Malton) (Conservative)
Q12 Jamie Stone (Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross) (Lib Dem)
Q13 Simon Hoare (North Dorset) (Conservative)
Q14 Mrs Kemi Badenoch (Saffron Walden) (Conservative)
Q15 Alan Mak (Havant) (Conservative)

Comments in the comments…

Duddridge Launches Guided Missile at Bercow


James Duddridge walloped the Speaker with a stinging question that homed in on its target with flawless accuracy:

“This a disturbing report which identifies a number of unacceptable behaviours… taunting, mocking, mimicking, deliberately belittling in front of other members, making offensive comments about appearances, belittling someone’s junior status, making lengthy and humiliating tirades of criticism of abuse in front of colleagues.

How can we encourage Mr Speaker to stop this behaviour?”

Bercow laughs…

Maria Miller Tells Bercow to Quit

Equalities Committee Chair Maria Miller has directly told Bercow to quit in the wake of the Casey Report into Parliamentary bullying. Miller said:

“The report is clear that there needs to be a complete change in leadership at the most senior level, including you Mr Speaker…”

Meanwhile the likes of Emily Thornberry are continuing to insist that it is “not the time” to change Speaker because of Brexit…[…] Read the rest “Maria Miller Tells Bercow to Quit”

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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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