Truss Rejects Downing Street’s “Kangaroo Court” Privileges Committee Claims

Following the Privileges Committee’s investigation launch, this morning the Telegraph splashes with Downing Street’s pushback operation, claiming Boris faces a “kangaroo court” under Harman’s biased leadership of the probe. Something Guido’s had his doubts about as well…

No such doubts for the Foreign Secretary though. Appearing on the Today Programme, Liz Truss insisted she trusts the Committee “implicitly“, and rejected claims Harriet Harman’s involvement would prejudice the investigation:

“I believe that I trust the Privileges Committee to look at the evidence properly and make the judgement appropriately. And we need to allow that process to continue… I trust implicitly my parliamentary colleagues to listen properly to the evidence and make the right decision.”

Asked directly on Sky News if Harman’s leadership was an issue, Truss simply said she “doesn’t see a problem” with it…

mdi-timer 30 June 2022 @ 09:07 30 Jun 2022 @ 09:07 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Durham Police Have Issued Over Hundred Retrospective Fines

What originally seemed like a safe bet for Sir Keir is now looking like an increasingly high stakes gamble. Yesterday the Mail on Sunday revealed Durham Constabulary, the police force currently investigating Starmer over Beergate, have handed out over 100 Covid fines retrospectively, with 90 handed out at least a week after the breaches were discovered, and another dozen or so meted out over a month later. One of the reasons Sir Keir felt safe in pledging to resign was his belief that Durham Constabulary don’t hand out retrospective penalties – it turns out they did…

The FoI requests published in the MoS also reveal the Constabulary issued fines for gatherings far smaller than Sir Keir’s – and in the same month Beergate took place. Six fines were handed out for gatherings of just three people, with another for a meeting of just five. There’s no definitive attendee figure for Sir Keir’s bash, because the story keeps changing, although it’s now assumed to be between 15 and 30 people…

One woman even received a £10,000 retrospective fine for organising a memorial for her father-in-law who died of Covid. She only had it reduced to £500 on appeal in April 2021, a week before the Beergate gathering. Not long to go now before the investigation concludes. No wonder contingency planning for the ‘worst case scenario’ is ramping up

mdi-timer 27 June 2022 @ 10:30 27 Jun 2022 @ 10:30 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Boris Reveals Downing Street’s Seuss-Inspired Motto, Says Partygate has “Been a Totally Miserable Experience”

A frank interview from Boris this afternoon as he sat down in No.10 with Mumsnet to answer questions from the site’s users on everything from Partygate and leadership, to his own parenting skills and favourite children’s books. From the sounds of it, mums have soured on Boris in the months since they rallied behind him over his sensible stance on trans women in sport. According to Roberts, the overall mood on the site is that Boris is “a habitual liar” and should step down. A conclusion Boris naturally disagreed with…

Aside from the expected questions on Partygate – he claims it’s “been a totally miserable experience for people in government” and “we’ve got to learn from it [and] move forward” – Boris also responded to questions on his own parenting skills by claiming he’s “doing a lot” at the moment with very quick nappy changes. He also claims his favourite children’s books are by Dr. Seuss:

“I’m doing a lot. All I would say is that I’m doing a lot at the moment… I say that without any inhibition or fear of contradiction. I can tell you I’ve changed a lot of nappies… I’m very fast by the way… This was no time for playing. This was no time for fun. This was no time for games. There was work to be done… which is our motto in Number 10.”

He also said it would be not be “responsible” to “abandon the project” and resign over Partygate. Guido imagines his advisors are pretty upset, as he also reviewed their lockdown-breaking surprise birthday party as “a miserable event”…

mdi-timer 1 June 2022 @ 14:13 1 Jun 2022 @ 14:13 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Shadow Minister: Fined Starmer Wouldn’t Quit and then Stand Again

 

Shadow Scottish Secretary Ian Murray finally gave into questioning from Nick Robinson this morning, and said Sir Keir resigning in the wake of a Beergate fine and then standing in the subsequent leadership election is “not under consideration”. After a few evasive answers he implied Starmer would not try the disingenuous tactic. The questions came after former Chief Whip Nick Brown floated the idea at the weekend.

“I don’t anyone’s ever thought about this, that’s why I’m saying it’s not under consideration… when you put it in the context of ‘has this been discussed? Is this part of the overall strategy?’ there’s no strategy here… The reason I’m saying it’s not under consideration is because I don’t think anyone’s ever thought about this. Nick Brown has said it as an off-the-cuff remark and it’s now become part of the story.”

Last night a Labour Spokesperson confirmed to Guido that both Starmer and Rayner have now received police questionnaires over their beer and curry night. While the exact content and wording of Durham Police’s questionnaires isn’t yet known, those sent by the Met to the Prime Minister stated recipients “do not have to say anything but it may harm your defence if you do not mention we questioned something which you later rely on in court”. In other words, a police caution. Something Angela Rayner described as “frankly a national embarrassment” at the time…

mdi-timer 1 June 2022 @ 08:45 1 Jun 2022 @ 08:45 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Paul Holmes Resigns as Priti’s PPS over “Toxic Culture” in Number 10

Paul Holmes has stepped down as Priti Patel’s PPS this afternoon following the publication of the Sue Gray report and the “toxic culture” in Downing Street. In a statement released on his website, Holmes said:

“Revelations from the Sue Gray report that staff and cleaners were not treated properly is both disappointing and unacceptable, it is right that the Prime Minister apologised to staff. It clearly showed a culture in Number 10 that was distasteful, and I am glad that there have been several reforms that Sue Gray has welcomed.

It is clear to me that a deep mistrust in both the Government and the Conservative Party has been created by these events, something that pains me personally as someone who always tries to represent Eastleigh and its people with integrity. Whether that is taking up your issues in Parliament or helping people with their problems closer to home, since 2019 we have completed over 12,000 pieces of constituency casework. It is distressing to me that this work on your behalf has been tarnished by the toxic culture that seemed to have permeated Number 10.

Over the last few weeks this distress has led me to conclude that I want to continue to focus solely on my efforts in being your Member of Parliament and the campaigns that are important to you. That is why I have now resigned from my governmental responsibilities as a Parliamentary Private Secretary at the Home Office.”

The MP was dripping wet Stephen Hammond’s old researcher and a May-era SpAd. He appears to stop short of saying PM should go, so far, though don’t be surprised if he does at a difficult moment. Consequently Guido hasn’t added him to his rolling list of MPs calling for the PM to go… yet. “I have resigned to focus on my constituency. This is not about letters for me” he says. Cryptic…

mdi-timer 27 May 2022 @ 12:57 27 May 2022 @ 12:57 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Labour to Appoint FPN-Loving Harman to Lead Investigation into Boris

Labour is set to appoint ex-Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman to chair Parliament’s Privileges Committee investigation into whether the PM misled the Commons over Partygate. The vacancy was created when Chris Bryant stepped down because he didn’t want the investigation to look biased. Guido’s not sure whether any Tory in the country is going to accept Harman’s judgements as politically neutral…

If Labour goes ahead with the bizarre appointment, not only will the PM be judged by someone equally as biased as Bryant, having called for the PM to quit, it’ll be one of the few Labour MPs who’s racked up more Fixed Penalty Notices than Boris. As Guido pointed out when Harman accused the PM of breaking the laws he made, she was charged with three speeding offences during her time as a minister…

It may not matter either way: the Telegraph reports some believe even if found guilty the PM could avoid a by-election, given the 2015 legislation only applies to suspensions handed out by the Standards Committee – not the Privileges Committee. The greased piglet won’t stop wriggling…

mdi-timer 26 May 2022 @ 17:14 26 May 2022 @ 17:14 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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