Cheers as Sports Back Open

Thirsty parliamentary researchers are breathing a sigh of relief today: Parliament’s Sports and Social Club bar re-opened as of 12 midday. Puritanical MPs had sought to punish young Sports devotees for their own indiscretions during the Pestminster scandal. Can we just have no Nats allowed in please.

Parliament Full of Parasites

Parliament is infested… with bed bugs. They are being spread outside the parliamentary estate by MPs and staff who are taking the little critters back home. A probe by pest controllers found numerous cases of infestation could be traced back to the Palace of Westminster. We warned you…

UPDATE: A Parliamentary spokesman said:

“An occurrence of bed bugs was reported in July 2017 in a limited number of areas of the Parliamentary Estate. Investigations revealed that the outbreak was brought in from outside and did not originate in Parliament. Appropriate action took place to resolve the issue successfully.”

Where Are the Dirty Dozen’s Promised Reports, Investigations and Decisions?

The Brexit noise is helpfully letting both the government and the Labour Party sit on the promised reports, investigations and decisions which followed the recent string of Westminster scandals. Here’s Guido’s run-down of the unfinished business from the past few weeks (and earlier)…

Jared O’Mara: Jared hasn’t been seen in Westminster since the scandal around him erupted in October and he hasn’t voted in the months since. He – or more likely, his whip – is submitting a number of very general written questions and signing the odd EDM to give the impression things are still ticking over. Jared is still under investigation after losing the Labour whip. He’s been off for weeks…

Keith Vaz: An investigation into Vaz by the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner is somehow still ongoing after a complaint was made about his rent boys and coke binge in September 2016 (Kathryn Hudson better hurry-up, she’s due to step-down by the end of this year). Vaz hasn’t voted since 18 October, though he did speak in the House last week. He is currently rumoured to be on a trip to the Middle East…

Damian Green: Westminster was on tenterhooks awaiting the release of Sue Gray’s report last week, but it didn’t materialise. It was rumoured to be on the agenda again yesterday but failed to appear. Putting off the inevitable seems to be distracting Damian from his job liaising with the DUP…

Mark Garnier: Remains under Cabinet Office investigation after the Mail on Sunday reported allegations in October that he sent an aide to buy sex toys and called her “sugar tits“. What on earth are they doing, interrogating the sex shop owner?

Kelvin Hopkins: Former Shadow Culture Secretary Kelvin Hopkins lost the Labour whip in November. The party is still investigating a complaint that Hopkins sent inappropriate text messages and made inappropriate physical contact at a student event in 2014. He is voting in line with Labour but hasn’t spoken since 25 October. No update from Labour…

Ivan LewisLabour is still investigating a complaint against Lewis, who denied allegations of sexual harassment after a woman said he touched her leg and invited her to his house when she was 19. He hasn’t voted since 31 October or spoken in the chamber since 25 October. No update…

Dan Poulter: MPs say they haven’t seen Dr Dan around Westminster since the Sunday Times reported allegations against him on 5 November. His office told the BBC he’s “on sick leave”. He last voted on 31 October and hasn’t spoken in the chamber since 11 July. The new Conservative Party disciplinary committee is yet to report its findings… 

Charlie Elphicke: Elphicke’s friends say is still unaware of what allegations have been made against him. He was told in November that allegations had been passed to the police, but there has been no news of any action. In the meantime, Elphicke is still without the whip. The chairman of his association recently backed him…

Stephen CrabbThe former Welsh Secretary is still under investigation by the Conservative Party for allegedly sexting a 19-year-old who applied for a job in his office in 2013. No update…

Chris Pincher: He resigned as a government whip after allegations in the Mail on Sunday that he had un-tucked the shirt of a male Tory. Pincher referred himself to the police. No news as to the outcome…

Daniel KawczynskiReferred to the Tories new disciplinary committee in November following allegations that he pressured a young researcher to go on a date with a businessman ‘older than her father’. Nothing heard yet…

Jack LoprestiA former staff member complained about Lopresti’s behaviour and a probe was launched last week. The complaint came via the Tories’ new code of conduct hotline…

What do Sue Gray, Kathryn Hudson and the Tory and Labour party internal inquiries get up to all day?

Victory! Parliament’s Lego Lord Nelson Restored

When parliament’s Lego Lord Nelson went missing from the top of his model column, Guido immediately launched an investigation to solve the mystery. Today, we can report that Nelson has been restored to his rightful place.

A senior parliamentary source said:

“Thankfully a Tory staffer has replaced the stolen Nelson in a patriotic act of goodwill. Efforts will be made to observe this Nelson to ensure he doesn’t go walkabouts again. Justice.”

Parliament Week saved…

Who Nicked Nelson? Parliament’s Lego Mystery

How are the parliamentary authorities marking UK Parliament Week? By setting up a big Lego model of the Palace of Westminster, Tower Bridge and Trafalgar Square, of course. But there’s something (or someone) missing from the diorama currently on display in Portcullis House. On Nelson’s column, there’s no Lord Nelson…

There are conflicting accounts as to when Nelson disappeared. One researcher pointed the finger at “leftists”, alleging that the model Nelson may be absent due to the controversy over the real statue’s supposed connotations. Guido hears excited staff are now plotting to replace the missing Nelson with their favourite little Lego men and women. If you have seen Nelson, get in touch anonymously…

Churchill Statue Vandalised Outside Parliament, Man Arrested

A man was arrested last night after a statue of Winston Churchill in Parliament Square was graffitied. A co-conspirator told Guido:

 “A lefty loon was arrested defacing the Churchill statue in Parliament Square. He was swiftly dealt with by police from parliament.”

A warden in Parliament Square said the graffiti – which was daubed on the statue’s stone plinth – said “something racist” and that police are examining CCTV footage of the incident. A Met Police spokesman told Guido:

“At around 21:45hrs on Tuesday, 24 October, officers arrested a man in Parliament Square, Westminster SW1 on suspicion of criminal damage. 

“He was taken to a central London police station.”

The graffiti on the statue has now been covered:

Heads Up: Parliament Tells MPs It’s Too Windy To Inspect Falling Masonry

Yesterday a chunk of stone as big as a football fell from a height off Norman Shaw North and shattered the windscreen of Michael Ellis’s car. It was only by luck that no one was injured, or worse…

Today it emerges that an urgent inspection of the masonry on Norman Shaw cannot take place due to “high winds”. An email to MPs from parliamentary authorities states that a “specialist stonemason” cannot inspect the building until after the weekend. The entrance to Norman Shaw will remain closed. In the meantime, it’s too dangerous for specialists to make safe a clearly dangerous building. Heads up everyone…

Car Windscreen Smashed Inside Parliament

This is the scene on the Parliamentary Estate where an object described as a “huge chunk of stone” has smashed through a car windscreen. It’s unclear exactly what happened, but a co-conspirator tells Guido that within the last 30 minutes a “huge chunk of stone fell off Norman Shaw North”. Fortunately, there are no reports of any injuries. Leader of the House Andrea Leadsom has been spotted on scene along with police and parliamentary authorities. The car is rumored to belong to Northampton North MP Michael Ellis. Very dangerous… 

UPDATE 13.30: More pics coming in from the scene:

UPDATE 14.17: A parliamentary spokesperson said:

“The main entrance to Norman Shaw North has been closed for health and safety reasons until further notice. The incident is being investigated by parliamentary authorities as a matter of urgency.”

Internet Down on Parliamentary Estate

MPs and staff are unable to get online on their first day back at work as an internet outage appears to be affecting the Parliamentary Estate. One bag carrier moaned:

“Can’t get online at all, should have worked from home.”

Not much work getting done this morning…

UPDATE: Relieved staffers get in touch to say their connections are now restored. Back to work…

UPDATE II: The fall out continued this lunchtime in the Portcullis House canteen. The tills and card readers have been struggling to get online all day, which when coupled with the cafeteria serving up Jerk Chicken – a favourite dish among MPs and staffers alike – as a back-to-school treat, led to long delays and queues flowing out the door. One old hand, fresh back from their summer holidays, comments: “It’s like Heathrow passport control down here”.

Islamist Preacher Who Called for Destruction of Britain Coming to Parliament

Heads up Special Branch – a notorious Islamist hate preacher who called for Britain to be “destroyed” is due to meet MPs in parliament this month. Sheikh Ekrima Sabri, a former Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and current Imam of the city’s Al-Aqsa Mosque, will visit Britain as part of a delegation organised by pro-Palestinian group EuroPal. Provided he isn’t stopped at Heathrow…

Sabri stated in a 2001 radio sermon: “Allah, destroy the U.S., its helpers and its agents. Allah, destroy Britain, its helpers and its agents. Allah, prepare those who will unite the Muslims and march in the steps of Saladin.” Furthermore, Sabri:

  • Denied the number of Jews murdered in the Holocaust, telling Italian newspaper La Repubblica in 2000: “Six million Jews dead? No way, they were much fewer. Let’s stop with this fairytale exploited by Israel to capture international solidarity.”
  • Praised child martyrdom, saying in a 2001 sermon: “The younger the martyr – the greater and the more I respect him… They [mothers of martyrs] willingly sacrifice their offspring for the sake of freedom.”
  • Was removed by from office by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas because of his extremist views
  • Was banned from entering France by the French government in 2012
  • Said in a New York Times Magazine interview: “If the Jews want peace, they will stay away from Al Aksa…This is a decree from Allah. The Haram al-Sharif belongs to the Muslim. But we know the Jew is planning on destroying the Haram. The Jew will get the Christian to do his work for him. This is the way of the Jews. This is the way Satan manifests himself. The majority of the Jews want to destroy the mosque. They are preparing this as we speak.”

An email sent to MPs announced the details of Sabri’s visit and offered meetings in parliament with the EuroPal delegation between Monday 11th and Friday 15th September. Cup of tea with Jezza?

Government Spokesman on S**t SpAds

Concerned by a no doubt crucial health issue, Lord Hunt of Kings Heath tabled this written question on May 18th:

“To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking to ensure that NICE guidance is followed in the use of faecal microbiota transplants in the treatment of recurrent Clostridium difficile.”
Yesterday he received an unexpected written answer from the government spokesman:
“The standards of conduct expected of all civil servants, including Special Advisers are set out in the relevant Codes of Conduct. These Codes make clear what Special Advisers can and cannot do in their roles.”
Bit harsh…

Hungry Hacks Mourn Moncrieff’s

Receipt-watching editors are breathing a sigh of relief today as journalists tuck into their final lunch at Moncfieff’s cafe bar, the hack’s boozer inside parliament. A 2012 FOI request revealed a glass of sauvignon blanc set scribblers back just £2.35, a pint was just £3.30 and you could get a plate of roasted half spring chicken with stuffing for £2.95 – excellent prices for expensive SW1. No more Moncrieff’s, where taxpayer-subsidised booze flowed freely, lubricating the minds of the nation’s political experts. Journos can still drink in many of parliament’s other taxpayer-subsidised bars…

Parliament Destroys Bercow’s Despot Bills

The House of Commons has apparently disposed of financial records relating to visits made by the Indonesian President and the Emir of Kuwait in 2012.

Asked by Guido to provide a breakdown of the costs involved in the visits, the authorities responded:

“This information is not held by the House of Commons. In accordance with Parliament’s records disposal policy, financial records are held for three years, plus the current financial year. Therefore we only hold information for the 2013/14, 2014/15, 2015/16, 2016/17 financial years.”

 Convenient…

Leavers United, Remainers Divided

Leave MPs are united on what they want from Brexit while Remainers are hopelessly divided and cannot agree a line. Not just the conclusion of anyone who watched yesterday’s Commons debate, this is the finding of a new survey by Queen Mary University. While there is a near consensus among Leavers on the importance of controlling immigration, Remainers are split on whether to prioritise the single market (47%) or border controls (31%). On paying into the EU budget, again there is a near consensus against among Leavers, while Remainers are divided. As Professor Anand Menon says: “Remainers are much more divided over what to prioritise – which may well make them less able to shape the debate”. A brief look at the varying positions of Anna Soubry, Chuka Umunna, Owen Smith, Ed Miliband, Jeremy Corbyn and the two LibDem factions tells you much the same.

Another titbit in Philip Cowley’s survey: 70% of Labour MPs say they are now less supportive of referenda:

That’s democracy for ya…

Look Inside Slug-On-Thames

slug-6

Guido brings you an update on the radical design for a floating temporary parliament during renovation work at Westminster. Gensler, the firm vying for a £160 million contract to build the structure have revealed images showing inside the slug. The Commons and Lords chambers would be exactly the same dimensions as their original but it would house a different Royal Gallery and Central Lobby.

slug on thames

The building would allow parliament to be renovated in only six years without working around politicians – the “full decant” option. It could be built in time for the vote on the third runway to be held within…

Slug-On-Thames Could Save Taxpayer £1.8 Billion

slug-on-thames

The firm that built GCHQ and the US Embassy in London reckons it could save the taxpayer more than £1.8 billion if it was given a contract to re-house MPs. The proposed building would also allow parliament to be renovated in only six years without working around politicians.

middle

The architectural firm Gensler plan to create a floating structure right next to the Palace where both houses could sit at the same time and committee rooms could meet. Initial cost of what Guido is dubbing the “Slug-on-Thames” is £160 million and it would be assembled by boats and dismantled when the Palace of Westminster is restored. Who knows, we might even keep it…

Parliamentary Crime Scene

members-only

A co-conspirator calls Guido with shocking news:

“The Members Only gents on the Library corridor is ‘a crime scene’ and closed. Somebody has graffitied ‘Vaz loves man bum’ in a cubicle. They are cleaning it off.”

In the MPs-only posh toilets?

Mosley’s Money Funding Watson’s Expanded Team

WATSON WANTS YOU

Tom Watson is spending most of his £200,000 from fellow free-press hater Max Mosley on four new staff members. The fan of German-themed parties with prostitutes is generously bolstering Watson’s operation…

watson-job-ads

Labour’s deputy leader is recruiting a new political advisor, writer, head of policy, and correspondence assistant, with salaries ranging from £24,522 for the latter role to undisclosed figures for the top jobs. The four new hires will put Watson’s team in Parliament at a strength of 11 – in comparison the Chancellor, Foreign Secretary and Defence Secretary have 9 SpAds combined. Famous Labour donor’s children need apply…

5,000,000 Signatures: Few Policy Changes

Government Petitions

Parliament’s petition website is one year old today. The site, aimed at encouraging ordinary members of the British public to have a say in the workings of Parliament, has received 19,018 petitions since it’s inception. Of these 258 have reached the 10,000 signatures required to trigger a response from the government (1.36% ). Just 30 have reached the required 100,000 signatures or more to be debated in Parliament (after approval from the Petitions Committee, who blocked votes of no confidence in David Cameron and a debate to hold a 2016 General Election).

Of these 30, Guido Data can reveal that just four could be said arguably to have been followed by policies, of which only two can be said to have actually effected the government’s decision. Of these two are a petition to allow more refugees into the UK (this followed the shocking images of a drowned migrant child last summer, arguably receiving wider popular support), and another to hold a debate on a vote of no confidence in Jeremy Hunt – something the petition automatically achieved by gaining over 100,000 signatures. In other words, just 0.01% of all petitions lodged can actually be said to have affected the government’s policy. So much for direct democracy…

Dave and Gove on the Backbenches

BACKBENCH DAVID CAMERON MICHAEL GOVE

Michael Gove, flanked by his campaign chief Nick Boles, making interventions from the backbenches this afternoon. No going on holiday or Gordon Brown disappearing act from Dave, who sat three rows back from the new Prime Minister. His attention wavered briefly when he started playing with his phone.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Tory MP Nick Boles says what everyone thinks…

“There is a timidity and lack of ambition about Mrs May’s Government which means it constantly disappoints. Time to raise your game, Prime Minister.”

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