Rarest of PMQs: Corbyn Wins, Speaker Cheered

A white peacock, Shakespeare’s signature in manuscript, the transition of Venus, pure platinum, the albino humpback whale, a Wagyu steak Big Mac, the first-contact of a lost tribe, a blue moon, the philosopher’s stone, blood type AB minus, the St. Francis Satyr butterfly, a complete copy of The Gutenberg Bible, the element astatine, a jeroboam of Château Mouton-Rothschild 1945, a twin tornado ripping across a golden plain of orchids illuminated by a double rainbow: all of them among the rarest occurrences or items found on this mad, spinning, Tory-run sphere we call home. Yet one phenomenon is rarer still…

It has been valued by Christie’s experts as beyond the sum of all currency currently in circulation – globally. It has been verified by the most expert lapidarists as less common than the rarest known gem. NASA scientists have placed it beyond technological understanding. A panel of the top surgeons concurred it lies beyond medical explanation. Philosophers and mystics place it beyond the reckoning of all human comprehension, beyond knowledge obtainable by the essence of the soul itself. What ever can it be? Jeremy Bernard Corbyn winning six nil at Prime Minister’s Questions, of course…

Continue reading

MPs Cry For “More” Lindsay Hoyle

Let Bercow be in no doubt as to what the Commons thinks of him: MPs cried “more” as Deputy Speaker Lindsay Hoyle stepped in for today’s PMQs. 43 days ’til Bercow promised to stand down…

Now Vaz Reports Bridgen to Standards Commissioner (Again)

Keith Vaz has reported Tory MP Andrew Bridgen to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards – again. Bridgen first complained to the Commissioner about Vaz’s conduct in September 2016 after the Labour grandee was the subject of an infamous newspaper expose. The Commissioner opened an inquiry which was suspended for months due to ‘health reasons’. Almost two years after the coke and rent boys shenanigans, Vaz is in the House the Commissioner’s probe is back on

At the time Vaz retaliated, complaining about Bridgen to the same watchdog, arguing that any investigation into his conduct was outside the Commissioner’s scope. The Commissioner rejected Vaz’s complaint…

Now Vaz has complained yet again, this time on the grounds that Bridgen has commented on Vaz’s case to the media. Bridgen tells Guido:

“Mr Vaz is clearly somewhat rattled.”

How long will it take the Commissioner to dismiss this one…

PMQs: Who’s Asking the Questions?

Oral Questions to the Prime Minister

Q1 Drew Hendry (Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey) If she will list her official engagements for Wednesday 9 May.

Q2 Deidre Brock (Edinburgh North and Leith)

Q3 Hannah Bardell (Livingston)

Q4 Matt Western (Warwick and Leamington)

Q5 Matthew Pennycook (Greenwich and Woolwich)

Q6 Jeff Smith (Manchester, Withington)

Q7 Maria Caulfield (Lewes)

Q8 Bill Esterson (Sefton Central)

Q9 Holly Lynch (Halifax)

Q10 Jeremy Quin (Horsham)

Q11 Julian Sturdy (York Outer)

Q12 Chi Onwurah (Newcastle upon Tyne Central)

Q13 Chris Ruane (Vale of Clwyd)

Q14 Mr Alistair Carmichael (Orkney and Shetland)

Q15 Melanie Onn (Great Grimsby)

Comments in the comments…

Bercow Welcomes Vaz Back From Illness

Good news for those concerned about the health of Keith Vaz, who has been missing from parliament after being declared ill, delaying the investigation into his coke and rent boys mishap indefinitely. Vazeline is back at work today. “It’s very good to welcome him back to the Chamber,” said his old friend and protector John Bercow…

Critiquing the Corbyn Clip Crap

Regular observers will have grown used to Jeremy Corbyn losing his marbles at Prime Minister’s Question Time – but never before have those marbles scattered so wildly across the chamber as they did today. Like a deranged late-career performance artist, Jezza wildly changed-up his style: no more the cunning ‘forget to ask the question entirely’ ploy, or that genius googly where he sits down mid-sentence. Today was altogether more cavemanlike, frankly more berserk – and more raw, more terrifying. Jezza used the good ol’ ‘flick and stick’: throw enough paint at the wall and some of it will cling…

‘But he’s doing it for the clips, it’s all for social media!’ says you, an in-the-know political insider. Save that fool-talk for your pathetic and ill-informed dinner parties. It’s quite straightforward: if you took an enormous sh*t-filled fire hose and sprayed its contents all over a blank canvas, you wouldn’t suddenly have the Mona Lisa just by videoing the mess and sticking it on YouTube, would you? Jezza’s Jackson Pollock approach to the art of PMQs meant we were lectured on Windrush, the NHS, schools funding, police funding, Amber Rudd, child poverty, and the macroeconomic situation – all within minutes. Dizzying, ineffective and risible. One feared Jezza was on the cusp of attacking Theresa May over Gulf I, allotments and the lack of publicly-funded raspberry jam… Continue reading

Bercow Calls Patsy Julian Lewis to Praise His Treatment of Staff

Absurd spectacle in the Commons as John Bercow calls his pal Julian Lewis to make a patsy point of order asking the Speaker to confirm just how much his staff love him. Bercow takes the opportunity to say the “great majority” of his former staff left on good terms. As he and Lewis know, that isn’t the point. How many of Bercow’s former staff did not leave on good terms? And why? This is not the behaviour of an innocent man…

PMQs: Who’s Asking the Questions?

Oral questions to the Prime Minister

Q1 Wera Hobhouse (Bath) If she will list her official engagements for Wednesday 2 May.

Q2 Martin Docherty-Hughes (West Dunbartonshire)

Q3 Rehman Chishti (Gillingham and Rainham)

Q4 Hywel Williams (Arfon)

Q5 Joanna Cherry (Edinburgh South West)

Q6 Jo Stevens (Cardiff Central)

Q7 Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough)

Q8 Mrs Kemi Badenoch (Saffron Walden)

Q9 John Stevenson (Carlisle)

Q10 Ms Karen Buck (Westminster North)

Q11 Paula Sherriff (Dewsbury)

Q12 Helen Jones (Warrington North)

Q13 Chris Stephens (Glasgow South West)

Q14 Matt Warman (Boston and Skegness)

Q15 Chris Law (Dundee West)

Comments in the comments…

Remain Peer: This Amendment Can Stop Brexit

There it is: Lord Bilimoria lets the cat out of the bag in the Lords and admits “It is parliament thanks to this amendment that will have the ability to stop the train crash that is Brexit”. 

Jenny Jones responds to the Remainiac Lords by telling them their bonkers speeches have put her off voting for their amendment:

Remain Lords not covering themselves in glory today.

Via via Hugh Bennett

LibDem Peer Compares May to Hitler

Latest from the Lords, where the disgraced moat-cleaner Douglas Hogg and friends are tabling an amendment to stop Brexit. LibDem peer Lord Roberts has just compared Theresa May to Hitler:

“My mind went back to Berlin in March 1933, when the Enabling Bill was passed in the Reichstag. That Enabling Bill transferred democratic rights of the parliament into the hands of one man, that was the Chancellor. His name was Adolf Hitler. Perhaps I’m seeing threats that do not exist, but they are there, they are possible. Who’d have said before the 1930s that Germany, this cultured country, would involve itself in such a terrible war.”

This is the standard of argument from Remain peers.

Vid via Darren Grimes.

Lord Moat: Brexit Only an Interim Decision

Douglas Hogg, the disgraced former Tory minister who filed a £2,000 expenses claim to have his moat cleaned, has tabled his “Stop Brexit” motion in the Lords this afternoon. The amendment, backed by Labour and LibDem Remainers, seeks to allow parliament to control the negotiations, including extending the negotiating process and potentially keeping us in the EU indefinitely. It is a naked attempt by Hogg and other Remain peers to reverse Brexit. As he told the Lords: “At the very best Brexit was only an interim decision”. Left the Commons in disgrace as the poster boy for the expenses scandal, then tried to stop Brexit from the Lords. What a contribution to public life.

Jeremy Corbyn and the Theory of Human Sexual Response

In the 1960s Masters and Johnson formulated their theory of human sexual response: they defined that divine crescendo as moving from excitement, through plateau, and on finally to the bliss of climax. This model is curiously applicable to parliamentary performance, in particular, to PMQs…

Jezza began promisingly, quickening the pulse of the House by leading on Windrush. We have come to expect Corbyn – labouring under a misbegotten impression of his own political creativity and genius – to question the government on the least (rather than most) pressing issue of the day. Were, for example, the nation to be overwhelmed by a robotic Tory killer army, literally stringing up the homeless from lamposts and throwing benefits claimants off buildings, Corbyn would use that week’s PMQs to lead on the abstruse calculus of the schools funding formula. As such, Corbyn usually fails to reach even the excitement stage. Diane, is that you sighing knowingly? Continue reading

PMQs: Who’s Asking the Questions?

Oral Questions to the Prime Minister

Q1 Gavin Robinson (Belfast East) If she will list her official engagements for Wednesday 25 April.
Q2 Neil Gray (Airdrie and Shotts)
Q3 Douglas Chapman (Dunfermline and West Fife)
Q4 Andrew Bowie (West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine)
Q5 Liz McInnes (Heywood and Middleton)
Q6 Alison Thewliss (Glasgow Central)
Q7 John Lamont (Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk)
Q8 Colleen Fletcher (Coventry North East)
Q9 Dr Andrew Murrison (South West Wiltshire)
Q10 Lucy Powell (Manchester Central)
Q11 Dan Carden (Liverpool, Walton)
Q12 Richard Drax (South Dorset)
Q13 David Tredinnick (Bosworth)

Comments in the comments…

Parliament’s Bullying Inquiry Won’t Investigate Bercow

Who could possibly have predicted that parliament’s bullying inquiry would be a toothless whitewash that lets John Bercow off the hook? Dame Laura Cox, the independent former judge brought in following the allegations about the Speaker, has confirmed she will not be investigating him. Cox says she:

“will not conduct an investigation into any individual complaints or reopen past cases”

So what’s the point? A stitch up to save the Speaker and an insult to bullying victims…

Cross-Party MPs Question Bully Bercow’s “Medicament” Slurs

The talk of the tearoom during and after the Syria debate was John Bercow’s repeated order to unruly MPs to take a “medicament” to calm them down. Tory MPs say this is another example of his bullying tone – watch his bad-tempered, finger-wagging treatment of Alec Shelbrooke above. Labour MPs have queried whether it is a mental health slur, noting that the word traditionally referred to a substance used to control patients during therapy. Guido has had a look through Hansard and Bercow seems obsessed with the phrase:

To Alec Shelbrooke on 17 April 2018: “Stop it… you are over-excitable and you need to contain yourself. If it requires you to take some medicament, then so be it.”

To Guy Opperman and Ronnie Campbell on 26 March 2018: “It is very unseemly and very unfair on the cerebral Minister at the Dispatch Box. Mr Opperman, Mr Campbell: calm yourselves. Take some sort of soothing medicament and you will feel better.”

To David Davis on 17 December 2017: “I will not take points of order in the middle of Question Time, but I gently say to the Secretary of State that I understand his predicament. A soothing medicament may assist him.”

To the whole House on 13 September 2017: “We have some very excitable denizens of the House today. They ought to take some sort of medicament and calm down.”

To the whole House on 19 July 2017: “Members are shouting, and shouting excessively. They must calm themselves. Take some sort of soothing medicament.”

To Jon Ashworth on 10 July 2017: “Mr Ashworth, you are a cheeky and rather over-excitable whippersnapper. Calm yourself and, as I say, take some sort of soothing medicament.”

To Khalid Mahmood on 5 July 2017: “I noticed earlier, Mr Mahmood, that you seemed to be in a very hyper condition today. I recommend that you take some sort of soothing medicament or go and lie down for a little while. You will feel better at the end of it.”

To David Morris on 19 April 2017: “You are a very restrained individual, bordering on the cerebral, but you have become rather over-excited. Calm yourself. Take some sort of soothing medicament; it will have a beneficial impact upon you.”

Certainly seems a bit hypocritical given the modernising Speaker’s claims to care passionately about mental health issues. Also just very odd…

Government Loses Lords Customs Union Vote

As expected the government has lost the vote in the Lords on the customs union by 348-225. This will be spun up as a huge win for Remainers that means we are likely to stay in the customs union. That is not the case. Even Remainers Guido has spoken to today agree that is an exaggeration – the vote only requires the government to make a statement outlining its position. The problem is it provides room in the Commons for Remainers to toughen up their amendment there, causing potential problems down the line. No10 must hold firm – staying in a customs union is not Brexit…

Mission Accomplished: Targeted Strike on Corbyn

We may draw the following conclusions from today’s Prime Minister’s Question time: under a Corbyn government, Napoleon would have won at Waterloo, Roger Bannister would have tripped in the third minute of his four minute mile and Germany would have stuck away three goals in extra time of the 1966 World Cup final. If Jeremy Corbyn ever runs this country, at the very moment he takes office, the fabric of the universe will mysteriously and instantly reverse itself at the molecular level. Time will begin to run backwards. Fate will become only the constant advent of ever more impossible outcomes. To Orwell’s dreadful triad (‘War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength’) Corbyn will add the final term. Victory is defeat…

Imagine the Windrush scandal as a killer robot manufactured in the secret basement of Momentum HQ to destroy the Home Secretary and directly implicate Theresa May in arguably racist deportations. This monolith to the government’s incompetence, insensitivity and – yes – bigotry, loomed on a collision orbit over Downing Street last night, a political Death Star of unique power. Moreover, Windrush isn’t just an attack line: for the opposition it has the additional benefit of being a real-life scandal, rather than the usual confected fare. Wielded by Jeremy Corbyn, this philosopher’s stone of rare power was instantly denuded so as to become as effective as a marzipan machine gun. Was there ever a man in British political history who could be more relied upon to fire a blank than he? Continue reading

May: Labour Took Decision to Destroy Windrush Landing Cards in 2009

Corbyn unable to think on his feet as May delivers this blow. Bercow comes to his help. Jezza somehow manages to miss this own goal in one of the government’s worst weeks…

PMQs: Who’s Asking the Questions?

Oral Questions to the Prime Minister
Q1 Neil o’Brien (Harborough) If she will list her official engagements for Wednesday 18 April.
Q2 Dr Philippa Whitford (Central Ayrshire)
Q3 Derek Twigg (Halton)
Q4 Jeff Smith (Manchester, Withington)
Q5 John Spellar (Warley)
Q6 John Stevenson (Carlisle)
Q7 Scott Mann (North Cornwall)
Q8 David Tredinnick (Bosworth)
Q9 Chris Davies (Brecon and Radnorshire)
Q10 Ellie Reeves (Lewisham West and Penge)
Q11 Stephen Kerr (Stirling)
Q12 Afzal Khan (Manchester, Gorton)
Q13 Mr Virendra Sharma (Ealing, Southall)
Q14 Ben Lake (Ceredigion)

Q15 Frank Field (Birkenhead)

Comments in the comments…

Ruth Smeeth Reads Anti-Semitic Abuse She’s Received From Corbynistas

Most powerful moment of the anti-Semitism debate: Ruth Smeeth reading the anti-Semitic abuse she has received from Corbyn supporters. Remarkable that Corbyn was not there to hear it.[…] Read the rest

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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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