The Lords Who Voted to Frustrate Brexit Process

Even most Remainers can surely see that the Lords voting down the government last night was about frustrating the process rather than helping either EU migrants or the Brexit deal. Goes without saying that tacking this amendment onto the Brexit bill oversteps the constitutional role of the second chamber. Below are the Lords that voted to delay the process. How many have you heard of?

Aberdare, L.
Adams of Craigielea, B.
Addington, L.
Adonis, L.
Ahmed, L.
Allan of Hallam, L.
Allen of Kensington, L.
Altmann, B.
Alton of Liverpool, L.
Anderson of Swansea, L.
Andrews, B.
Armstrong of Hill Top, B.
Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon, L.
Bach, L.
Bakewell, B.
Bakewell of Hardington Mandeville, B.
Barker, B.

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Letwin Calls For Debate on Abolition of Lords

A “government source” in this morning’s papers threatened the Lords with abolition if they obstruct Brexit, now Oliver Letwin has asked for a debate if they do hold up the process. Instead of implausibly threatening to abolish the Lords they should promise to cut daily their expenses from £300 to £0. Focus the peers’ minds…

Carswell Baits Labour Over 68% Short Money Increase

Douglas Carswell was busy baiting the Labour Party over Short Money, which the chancellor has cut by 19%. Short Money is the taxpayer subsidy doled out to opposition parties – it is fundamentally undemocratic and really ought to be abolished entirely. As it stands by the end of this parliament Short Money is expected to rise by a whopping 68% since 2010!

short-money-forecast

The government has asked parliamentary parties for their views on how to proceed with the Short Money review. No taxpayers have been asked for their views. Sinn Fein gets a representative grant and doesn’t even sit in parliament!

Realistically Short Money could be phased out over the next 4 years. Political parties should be funded by their supporters, not out of general taxation….

Osborne Jokes About Abolishing Lords

Sadly Osborne was probably joking about the suggestion of saving the taxpayer millions by abolishing the Lords. This does deviate from Tory party policy though:

“That is a very decent proposal for the Autumn Statement which we will give proper consideration to… My view is clear, we should have an elected House of Lords.”

Peerless banter.

House of Lords Hypocrites

“Very proud of LibDem Lords,” crowed Tim Farron after Osborne was defeated in the Lords last night, adding: “We have sent a clear signal… Tonight’s vote gives people hope”. Yet what did Farron say about the second chamber just a few months ago?

“a system which is rotten to the core and allows unelected, unaccountable people to think they are above the law… Nothing will be achieved until Parliamentarians vote in favour of abolition”

What was it about the LibDem wipeout in democratic elections that caused Farron to change his mind about the “rotten, unelected, unaccountable” second chamber?

What about John McDonnell? Last night he praised the “huge blow in the House of Lords“, claiming the vote showed “people are waking up to what Labour has been warning“. That is the same John McDonnell who voted to abolish the Lords entirely in 2003. 

“Only the Labour Lords motion could deliver the results needed,” said Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign team last night. That’s despite Corbyn vowing just two months ago to block new peers in a bid to increase pressure in favour of abolition. 

Sadiq Khan said “I welcome” the vote, despite previously insisting that the current make up of the Lords had “no role in a modern democracy”. Turns out these principled parliamentary reformers are big fans of the Lords when it helps them score a win…

Burnham’s Peerless Flip-Flopping

Guido could easily have made Andy Burnham’s increasingly ridiculous flip flops a daily feature during this leadership contest. Not only does Burnham think it’s great that former Labour MP Dave Watts has been made a peer, he also reckons “the Lords is now a national embarrassment. We should scrap it”.

If you’re going to directly contradict yourself, try not to do it in the space of two tweets…

H/T @rhodri

Hain Gravy Train Hypocrisy

On 3 November 2014, not even twelve months ago, Peter Hain told his constituents he believed the second chamber should be elected:

“The Lords are an archaic anomaly which fuels disillusionment with British politics. It exists purely on a democratic deficit which has been allowed to evolve unchecked for centuries… the fact is that people are fed up with an out-of-touch political class and the growing sense that Westminster is failing us all.”

Yesterday, he became Lord Hain of Neath, writing in the Guardian that “it wasn’t an easy decision“, it had required “considerable thought“, but he concluded that “more peers in favour of reform are crucially important“.

What was it about the £300-a-day attendance allowance that changed his mind?

Moat Cleaning Expenses Scandal MP Awarded Peerage

Douglas Hogg, the disgraced Tory minister who infamously had his moat cleaned on expenses, has been made a Lord. Hogg charged the taxpayer for having his moat cleared, piano tuned and stable lights fixed at his country manor house. He’ll fit in well in our second chamber.

Other upstanding names on the list include Peter Hain, who had to resign and faced a police investigation after he failed to declare 20 donations to his deputy leadership campaign worth a total of over £100,000.

Also there is bonking David Blunkett and a very long list of Downing Street SpAds.

A proud day for parliament…

Sweet: Candy Crush Revelation Investigation Called Off

sweet-candy-crush

The Sergeant at Arms has quite rightly decided that “no further action will be taken” concerning the filming of Nigel Mills wasting taxpayers money playing playing Candy Crush on his taxpayer funded iPad when he should have been doing his taxpayer funded job. There should never have been a suggestion that the whistleblower was anything less than a hero…

Roll Call of Shame: Names of Every MP Who Voted Against Real Recall

The MPs listed below don’t trust their voters:

Abrahams, Debbie

Ainsworth, rh Mr Bob

Aldous, Peter

Alexander, rh Mr Douglas

Alexander, Heidi

Ali, Rushanara

Allen, Mr Graham

Arbuthnot, rh Mr James

Bacon, Mr Richard

Bailey, Mr Adrian

Bain, Mr William

Baker, rh Norman

Baldry, rh Sir Tony

Baldwin, Harriett

Balls, rh Ed

Barker, rh Gregory

Barwell, Gavin

Beckett, rh Margaret

Beith, rh Sir Alan

Benn, rh Hilary

Beresford, Sir Paul

Berger, Luciana

Berry, Jake

Betts, Mr Clive

Blackman-Woods, Roberta

Blenkinsop, Tom

Blomfield, Paul

Blunkett, rh Mr David

Blunt, Crispin

Bradley, Karen

Brady, Mr Graham

Brake, rh Tom

Brazier, Mr Julian

Brennan, Kevin

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MPs Debate Recall

recall

The recall debate is bringing forth the most self-serving blatantly anti-democratic arguments. Liberal Democrat David Heath being one of those arguing that voters should not be able to sack MPs. Sitting next to him (still on the LibDem benches) is Mike Hancock, thrown out of his party as an embarrassment after admitting sexual impropriety with a vulnerable constituent who has mental health issues. Yet the voters can’t throw him out even if his party can expel him. He just shamelessly sits there counting the money until election day…

Mike Hancock opposes real recall for MPs. Of course he does… 

90% of MPs Don’t Support Real Recall

Parliament will debate Nick Clegg’s Recall fudge this afternoon. A clear choice for MPs to choose between Clegg’s Bill, which only lets the public boot out corrupt politicians if their fellow politicians agree, or Zac Goldsmith’s Real Recall amendment, which actually gives the public a say. Imagine Guido’s surprise that 90% of MPs are not supporting giving voters the power to sack them without their approval… 

Clegg Faces Recall Rebellion

Nick Clegg is facing a rebellion over his Recall fudge denying voters the chance to sack disgraced MPs unless the Commons or the law agrees. Chief opponent Zac Goldsmith has dissected yesterday’s Bill:

“As before, it is a weak pretence at reform. If the Govt’s Recall Bill goes through as drafted, voters will be no more empowered to hold MPs to account than they are today. At the very first scandal, people will realise they’ve been duped, and the resulting anger will do our democracy harm. A [very] serious mistake.”

The Sun reports Michael Gove will give Tories a “free hand” to rebel against Clegg’s government proposals, with 70 MPs from all parties signing Goldsmith’s rebel motion, which you can read here. The David Ruffley case shows exactly why we need a proper Recall Bill which gives the public a say; local voters in Bury St Edmunds are and would be prevented from booting Ruffley out immediately under Clegg’s proposals. A Recall Bill which only lets the public act when an MP has been sent to jail or suspended by his colleagues is no Recall Bill at all…

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…

Clegg’s Recall Porkies

Fair to say the Tory backbenchers who have campaigned for a genuine recall bill didn’t take too kindly to Nick Clegg telling LBC that the Queen’s Speech fudge was all their fault. Zac Goldsmith offers Guido his thoughts:

“Clegg told listeners that he and I are ‘at one’ on the issue of Recall, that he supports ‘radical’ Recall but has had to compromise because of the Conservative backbenchers. I wish that were true, but it is the opposite of the truth. I have debated the issue with him many times, and until very recently, he was vehement in his opposition to a proper Recall system.

Nick Clegg is the architect of the current Recall Bill. It is a disgrace even by the standards of modern politics – and it will be rejected by Parliament, as it has been rejected by every single democracy campaign group in the UK. It is nothing more and nothing less than a con. Bottom line is that even after his ‘Recall’ is introduced, it would still be possible for an MP to join the BNP, fail to show up in Parliament, fail to speak to constituents, break all promises, even take a 5-year holiday without qualifying for Recall.”

Douglas Carswell is even less forgiving:

“If I can be blunt, it’s bullsh*t and he knows it. It’s straightforward deceit and he has said this simply for effect. The truth is that on the Conservative backbenches there is strong support. Where there is kickback it’s coming from people holding red boxes and people in the Cabinet Office. I wouldn’t hold it against Clegg if he opposed he idea, but what’s absolutely unforgivable is that he opposed it but pretends to be in favour.”

Who do you believe?

Clegg Passes Buck for Recall Fudge

No. 10 last night confirmed that the Recall measures mentioned in the Queen’s Speech would mean it is MPs on the Standards Committee and not local voters who will decide whether shamed MPs should be booted out. The reforms will change nothing, MPs are still marking their own homework. 

Zac Goldsmith has been one of the main proponents of a genuine Recall Bill to give power to constituents. He called up Nick Clegg on LBC this morning to let him know what he thought of the government’s impotent proposals. Clegg said it was all the fault of Tory backbenchers:

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Clegg says that “Zac and I are completely at one”. Which doesn’t exactly have the ring of truth about it given Zac tweeted this a few months ago:

Wonder what he thinks of Clegg today…

UPDATE: Zac responds.

Totalled Recall

The Coalition agreement could not have been clearer:

“We will bring forward early legislation to introduce a power of recall, allowing voters to force a by-election where an MP is found to have engaged in serious wrongdoing and having had a petition calling for a by-election signed by 10% of his or her constituents.”

This morning, recall is dead. The Indy is blaming Cameron and Osborne, reporting that Clegg was all for it but it was vetoed by the Tories. In truth, in spite of the rhetoric from all three party leaders, there has been no appetite to let voters have the chance to boot out corrupt MPs. Last year Clegg himself flip flopped when put on the spot by Zac Goldsmith, refusing to give any sort of time frame or specifics on when he would be pushing for recall:

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Zac ain’t impressed:

Given their record for dealing with their own disgraced MPs, the LibDems pretending they are “furious” today is rather lame…

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…

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.
[…] Read the rest

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Alan Sugar on Jeremy Corbyn:

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