Natalie Bennett Lands New Job as Junior Parliamentary Staffer

BENNET PARLIAMENT 1

Natalie Bennett finished behind Labour and the Tories in Holborn yet she has still managed to make it to parliament – by pretending to be a junior member of staff.

Bennett was spotted last week swanning down the corridors of power with a researcher’s pass around her neck, and indeed official records show she has been given a staff pass by Green peer Jenny Jones, allowing her unlimited access to the parliamentary estate. Amusingly, this ‘researcher’ declares her other gainful occupation as “Leader, Green Party”.

Not only dishonest but hypocritical too: during the election ‘nutty Natalie’ called for a “peaceful political revolution”. Including abolishing the House of Lords as we know it…

Dave Creates Six New Tory Peers

The Queen has been pleased to signify Her intention of conferring a peerage of the United Kingdom for Life on the following:

  • Rt Hon Francis Maude

  • Ros Altmann CBE

  • George Bridges

  • Andrew Dunlop

  • Jim O’Neill

  • David Prior

Two former aides Bridges and Dunlop. Maude not a surprise to Guido readers….

Warsi’s Bitter Welcome for New Female Muslim Tory Peers

Baroness Warsi used her punchy Sunday interviews to imply that “public school” Tories around the PM had it in for her because she is a “a brown, working-class woman” who they saw as “not good enough” to serve in office. Two bits of information might influence how we view that claim – the names of the two new Muslim women appointed by those same nasty Tories as peers on Friday, the impressive women being businesswoman Nosheena Mobarik and popular former Hague SpAd Arminka Helic.

Those less kind than Guido might suggest that Warsi’s very public discovery of principles might have something to do with the two impressive new female Muslim Tory peers threatening her uniqueness as a female Muslim and her therefore being at the centre of attention.  Guido understands she got wind of the appointments just prior to her resignation…

LibDem Losers in the Lords

Hats off to the LibDems for managing to choose the six most boring people they could find to go to the Lords today. The only really interesting thing about them is that they are perennial losers – five of the six tried to become MPs and failed. First, Barbara Janke failed to be elected as the Lib Dem candidate for Surbiton in 1992. Then Chris Fox failed in Windsor in 1997. Kath Pinnock lost in Batley & Spen in 1997 and 2001, and Paul Scriven got beaten in Sheffield Central in 2010. Poor old Julie Smith tried to become the candidate for Cambridge in 2010, but didn’t even get selected. Rejected by the voters, the only hope these failed politicians ever had of making it to Westminster was in the Lords…

Donors, Aides, Cronies: New Peers in Full

Conservative Party

  • Karren Brady CBE – Vice-Chairman of West Ham FC; Senior Non-Executive Director of the Syco and Arcadia Brands; Small Business Ambassador for the Conservative Party; and member of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s Women in Sport Advisory Board
  • Martin Callanan – former Conservative Member of the European Parliament for the North East of England; former Leader of the Conservative MEPs and of the European Conservatives and Reformists group
  • Carlyn Chisholm – senior volunteer in the Conservative Party; Co-Chairman of the Conservative Candidates Committee; former nurse
  • Andrew Cooper – former Director of Political Operations to the Conservative Party; founder and Board Director of Populus
  • Natalie Evans – Director of New Schools Network, an independent educational charity established to provide free advice and support for groups wanting to set up free schools
  • Michael Farmer – Founding Partner of RK Mine Finance Group; Trustee of the Kingham Hill Trust; Treasurer of the Conservative Party
  • Dido Harding – Chief Executive of TalkTalk Telecom Group PLC
  • Arminka Helic – government special adviser to William Hague; leading adviser to government on preventing sexual violence in conflict
  • Nosheena Mobarik CBE – businesswoman; former Chairman of CBI Scotland; founder and convener of the Scotland Pakistan Network; Chairman of the Pakistan Britain Trade and Investment Forum
  • Sir Stuart Rose – former Chief Executive and Chairman of Marks and Spencer PLC
  • Joanna Shields OBE – leading technology industry executive and entrepreneur; the Prime Minister’s Digital Adviser; Chair of Tech City UK; and Non-Executive Director of the London Stock Exchange
  • Ranbir Suri – businessman; former General Secretary of the Board of British Sikhs

Labour Party

  • Michael Cashman CBE – Member of the European Parliament for the West Midlands constituency; equality rights campaigner; former actor
  • Chris Lennie – political strategist; former Deputy Secretary General of the Labour Party
  • Dame Gail Rebuck – businesswoman, publisher, chairman of Penguin Random House UK

Liberal Democrat Party

  • Chris Fox – Director of Group Communications for GKN; former Chief Executive of the Liberal Democrats
  • Cllr David Goddard – elected Member of Stockport Metropolitan Council; former Leader of Stockport Council; former Member of the Greater Manchester Police Authority; former Non-Executive Director of Manchester International Airport
  • Cllr Barbara Janke – elected Member and former Leader of Bristol City Council; former teacher
  • Cllr Kath Pinnock – elected Member and former Leader of Kirklees Council
  • Paul Scriven – managing partner for Scriven Consulting; former elected Member and Leader of Sheffield City Council; former senior NHS manager
  • Cllr Dr Julie Smith – elected Member of Newnham City Council; Senior Lecturer in International Relations in the Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS) at Cambridge University; Fellow of Robinson College

There are now over 850 peers in the House of Lords…

Lord Hill: Unelected, Unheard Of, Ultimate Political Insider

After denouncing Juncker as “someone no one has heard of”, Cameron has nominated Jonathan Hill for European Commissioner. Who he?

Hill worked at the Conservative Research Department in 1985 before becoming a SpAd to Ken Clarke.

In 1991 he joined the No.10 policy unit and became political secretary to Major in 1992, going on to lobby for Bell Pottinger and Quiller before moving to the Lords in 2010.

Asked by ConHome in June whether he was would want to be European Commissioner, Hill replied “non, non, non”.

As an ultimate political insider, who has never been elected to anything, he will fit right in in Brussels…

Ken Breaks Pledge Not to Become Peer

Following his defeat in 2012 Ken Livingstone promised us he would leave public life for good, specifically that he would not become a peer. Asked by the BBC at the time if he would consider joining the House of Lords, Ken replied:

“Oh God no. For the first time in my life I’ve got a week without any meetings planned. It’s quite remarkable.”

Even out of office Ken is failing to keep his promises. Speaking to Total Politics this week, he has now u-turned on that pledge and signalled he would accept a peerage:

“That’s a question you need to put to Ed. I’ve always said to him, this is the last chance in my lifetime of getting a Labour government that works, I will do anything to help you get there. You can’t turn down your party leader if they ask you to do something — how could you?”

Arise Lord Livingstone of Silveta

UPDATE: Some, er, less than helpful words for Ed later on in the interview too:

“Ed is much more normal than I am. He’s actually interested in detail and facts. Ed does not give a damn about what he’s wearing, his hairstyle – I’m sure he’s surrounded by people telling him he needs to do this and that but he really doesn’t care any more than I did, and therefore he will change Britain.

Ed is like me, he doesn’t want to be there, he wants to do something. He will hate all the trivial crap. People have always thought I’m weird – I collected reptiles for god’s sake, I make Ed look normal Everybody thought I was weird – and with my voice, and my lack of any fashion sense.”

Lords Kill EU Referendum Bill

Wrecking amendment after wrecking amendment laid down in the Lords today, with George “Fatty” Foulkes trying every trick in the book to stop the public from getting a say on Europe. The Tories are accusing Labour and the LibDems of organising an unofficial whipped vote against the Bill, with Bill Cash now saying it is dead. Tellingly, in a barely literate press release, Foulkes says of the filibuster amendments that he himself tabled:

“most amendments do not represtent Lord Foulkes’ [sic] opinions/wishes.”

The Tories blocking Lords reform doesn’t seem so clever now…

Lords EU Referendum Debate Running Order

Main business

European Union (Referendum) Bill – Second Reading – Lord Dobbs

Speakers:

L Dobbs

L Liddle

L Strathclyde

B Falkner of Margravine

L Hannay of Chiswick

L Crickhowell

L Radice

L Roper

L Kakkar

L MacGregor of Pulham Market

L Mandelson

L Taverne

L Howell of Guildford

L Turnbull

L Garel-Jones

L Grocott

L Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay

L Owen

L King of Bridgwater

L Kinnock

L Shipley

M Lothian

L Willoughby de Broke

L Finkelstein

B Quin

L Bichard

L Vinson

L Monks

L Tugendhat

B Liddell of Coatdyke

L Hennessy of Nympsfield

L Wakeham

L Anderson of Swansea

L Crisp

B Oppenheim-Barnes

L Giddens

L Wigley

L Balfe

L Foulkes of Cumnock

B Suttie

B Hooper

L Whitty

L Jay of Ewelme

L Inglewood

L Tomlinson

L Armstrong of Ilminster

B Browning

L Harrison

L Stoddart of Swindon

L Spicer

B Goudie

L Watson of Richmond

L Cormack

L Davies of Stamford

L Bowness

L Lea of Crondall

L Selsdon

L Grenfell

L Kerr of Kinlochard

E Dundee

L Berkeley

L Thomas of Swynnerton

L Howe of Aberavon

B Farrington of Ribbleton

L Teverson

L Lawson of Blaby

L Triesman

B Warsi

L Dobbs

WATCH: Lord Hanningfield Doorstepped

“All 600 sometimes go in just to clock in. All 600.”

Lord Hanningfield making the case for the abolition of the House of Lords…

Via @liarpoliticians.

Mirror Clocks On to 'Clocking In'

Regular readers will not be surprised by this morning’s Mirror splash that shows Tory crook Lord Hanningfield clocking in and out of the House of Lords in under an hour to collect his daily £300 expenses. Guido has been warning of this scandal for years. In June 2010 he wrote:

s0OYczBh“There is also a very obvious flaw in this which Guido likes to call the “Rennard Model”. There will be nothing to stop Lords turning up in the morning to collect their £300 and then disappearing off for the rest of the day – it is going to be an honour system – something that is very lacking in Westminster.  If these changes haven’t been properly thought through then the this system is looking just as prone to abuse as the last set up.”

Time for Hanningfield to name and shame ‘at least fifty other peers’ he claims are up to the same trick.

That Tory Opposition to Lords Reform in Full

Guido cannot help but notice the irony of the very same Tory MPs who voted against Lords reform now complaining that peers should not be allowed to derail the EU referendum bill because they are unelected and unaccountable. Not only has the Tories destroying Lords reform resulted in the death of the boundary review, severely hindering their chances in 2015, but it also damages their chances of actually getting an EU referendum as well. Slow clap.

Lord Strathclyde Resigns: Westminster Reaction

Whatever the reasons behind the departure, Downing Street can’t be that annoyed. “The Queen has been pleased to appoint the Rt Hon the Lord Strathclyde to the Order of the Companions of Honour.” Suggests a friendly exit…

Parliament Invites Lords to “Speed Date” Teenagers

Spectacularly badly timed:

Dear Lord ███████

Political Speed Dating Event – Thursday 22nd November

As part of Parliament Week 2012 we are holding a ‘Political Speed Dating’ event where a group of 13-16 year olds will have the rare opportunity to chat in small groups with current Parliamentarians.

The session will run at 10.30am to 11.45am in the Macmillan Room in Portcullis House, and it would be wonderful for the students if you were available to participate. We are inviting Members of both Houses from all parties and the event will involve up to 10 Members. We have extended the invitation to several members and I hope that you are able to participate.

Please contact me if I can provide any further information about the session, I hope to hear from you soon.

Yours sincerely,

Dawn Hatch

Education Visits Officer
Education Service
Houses of Parliament

Well that was pretty poorly worded given the current climate.

Greedy Lords Demand More For Your Money

Member of the House of Lords have slammed taxpayer-funded bars and restaurants in Westminster…for not being posh enough. They might be pocketing a huge £1.4 million from the taxpayer each year to fund their luxury eateries, but apparently our generosity has gone unappreciated. The Sun investigated after backing Guido’s campaign against the Commons subsidy, finding that the list of peers’ moans includes:

“Sandwiches cut into triangles, more mash for their bangers, porridge too runny, chips too salty, pork and bacon overcooked, flavourless cappuccinos”. 

Did someone say Lords reform?

Scrounging Lords Take Break Until October

Fresh from having the debate on their survival kicked into the long grass, the 765 peers sitting in the House of Lords will celebrate by taking a 10-week summer holiday this evening.

The House rises until October 8th, meaning that its members will have to wait to enjoy the £175,000 of taxpayers’ money they have just spent on revamping the decor in their parliamentary offices. Our dosh has been spent on dozens of new pieces of art and statues, including a bust of Prince Philip and a painting of the Jubilee procession. Come back Nick, all is forgiven…

The Eight Tories Who Chickened Out on Lords Reform

There is one interesting side note from the Tory Lords rebellion that has yet to receive much attention in the bubble. Of the 70 Tory MPs who signed the letter opposing the government’s Lords reform proposals, eight went on to have cold feet by merely abstaining when it came to the crunch. The Conservative chickens are: James Arbuthnot, Paul Beresford, Robert Buckland, Aidan Burley, Oliver Heald, Pauline Latham, Neil Parish and Priti Patel. Perhaps those soon-to-be-vacant PPS posts provided too much of a temptation…

UPDATE: The other side of the coin apparently being that once the programme motion vote was cancelled there was no point in sticking about. Guido is sceptical…

Conor Burns Ready to Resign as PPS Over Lords Reform Burns' Letter to Chief Whip In Full

Tory rebel Conor Burns is ready to resign as Owen Paterson’s PPS after informing his chief whip that he will vote against the government on Lords reform. Burns has left the final decision up to Dave, it appears he could be out of a job tomorrow evening: “It would seem that my position is incompatible with membership of the Government. I deeply regret the government have put us in a position where a long-held and mainstream view means I cannot continue to serve as a PPS“. Guido is sure it won’t be the least we hear from Conor.

Sky’s Sophie Ridge confirms:

Guido has just asked Conor if he had; proffered his resignation if asked or simply thrown himself at the mercy of the Prime Minister? To which he replied: “Sort of both!” Burns is now leading the heckling of Nick Clegg and co. in the Commons. They said it would be bloody…

UPDATE: Here is Burns’ letter in full:

Patrick,

Further to our conversation in your office I wanted to formally write to put my position as PPS to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland at yours and the Prime Minister’s disposal. I have long held views on reform of the House of Lords and cannot support the Bill tomorrow or the programme motion. It would appear that my position is incompatible with membership of the Government. I am a keen supporter of the Government and deeply regret that the Government have put us in the position where a long held and mainstream view within the Conservative Party means that I cannot continue to serve as Owen’s PPS. If by voting against the Bill tomorrow means I have to resign I will of course continue to support the Government and the Prime Minister from the backbenches.

Conor

Via @SophyRidge

Where Are the Whips?

Conor Burns might be fearing for his job when he votes against the government over Lords reform tomorrow, but Guido is starting to suspect that Tory whips’ hearts aren’t really in it. For 70 Conservative backbenchers to voice such open dissent – including loyalists that still actually harbour career ambitions – there is clearly little anxiety over the consequences of rebelling. And as for those LibDem boundary review threats… 

Peter Lilley has gone on the record saying that no whip has got in touch with him, while Jacob Rees-Mogg told the BBC: “I speak to the whips regularly but I haven’t come under any pressure“. Tories have been briefing the Lobby that their party capos have been nowhere to be seen:

Dave ordered a three-line whip on Lords reform, but neither his backbenchers nor his whips seem to care. The power now lies with Ed…

Exclusive: That Letter Signed by MPs Opposing Lords Reform Named Signatories Includes Not Usual Suspects

+ READ MORE +



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