If there’s one person who knows a thing or two about stories involving Chinese spies, it’s “Beijing Barry”. Appearing on Politics Live this afternoon, the Labour MP slammed the security services for allowing the spy on the premises:
“What is going on with our security services? First of all, that these people are able to get in there in the first place… this was somebody that had a parliamentary pass, who was actually working, known to be working, on an area of sensitivity about China! […] Why is it that the security services arrested somebody in March, and now in September we are finding out about it? … on the day the story broke about Christine Lee, I went straight onto the media, I spoke about it, I answered questions from the public about it!”
In Barry’s defence, this is true: he was all over the media the day the Christine Lee story broke. Although Gardiner did also claim Lee’s son – who worked as his researcher – “wasn’t aware” of his mother’s alleged “illegal activity“. Just as well, because he had access to the parliamentary estate mere hours before the news went public…
Once again, the BBC has failed to accurately provide viewers with sufficient information to judge on the credentials of its guests. On Monday’s episode of Politics Live, Covid campaigner Saleyha Ahsan was introduced simply as a representative of the “Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group”, before she launched a stinging criticism of the government’s approach to the Covid inquiry. Of course, she is more than a non-partisan healthcare campaigner…
Saleyha has a long track record of partisan activism. In 2019 she stood for Parliament for the Liberal Democrats in Milton Keynes South, and then for the European Parliament under the UK European Union Party’s banner. One party is a political irrelevance with a rabid pro-EU perspective, the other is the UK European Union Party.
Ahsan’s activism doesn’t end there: in addition to regular gigs on Jeremy Vine on 5 and documentaries for Channel 4, she also shares her questionable views on Twitter. These extend to calling Boris Johnson a liar, sharing articles comparing “racist” Israel to the KKK and, of course, tweeting support for Jeremy Corbyn…
As always, Saleyha is entitled to her platform – viewers just need to be given sufficient context to make up their own minds.
Just seconds after claiming Labour’s “enormous discipline” means its spending commitments “have all been costed“, Shadow Attorney General Emily Thornberry forgot what her party’s tax policies actually are. Appearing on Politics Live this afternoon alongside Tory MP Kevin Hollinrake, Thornberry insisted Labour “don’t make an announcement without being able to show where the money comes from” – only to then admit she “can’t remember” where they’ll find £22 billion for small businesses…
Thornberry: “The idea is that we redistribute taxation from the larger businesses to the smaller businesses, so what we’re going to do, we’re going to stick with the taxes for the larger companies…”
Hollinrake: “Which taxes?”
Thornberry: “… I can’t remember exactly which ones it is now. I think it’s the highest… higher business taxes, and so businesses of a certain size will continue to be able to pay that higher amount, and that money will be transferred to smaller businesses…”
She then claimed Hollinrake “really needed to pay more attention“. Apparently Labour are committing to higher businesses taxes now. Does Rachel Reeves know about this, or does she need to pay more attention as well?
Here is former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, chairwoman of The Jo Cox Foundation, appearing on Politics Live today ahead of the launch of her own foundation’s Civility Commission. Surely the day to lead by example…
Not so much. Instead, Smith told her fellow panellist Isabel Oakeshott to “shut up” in a row over Brexit, with Jo Coburn herself forced to return some civility to the debate, adding: “Let’s not descend into insults.” Eventually, Smith apologised:
I apologised to Isabel because I was wrong to say shut up.— Jacqui Smith (@Jacqui_Smith1) February 28, 2023
“I was wrong to say shut up…” Jacqui finally apologised.
Tory MP Tim Loughton talking sense this afternoon on Politics Live over the ludicrous sums wasted on diversity and inclusion officers across Whitehall:
“At a time when taxes are historically at a very high level, we are spending £427 million on equality, diversity, and inclusiveness staff. Some of whom I’m sure are doing a really good job. But the rest of them, are they really essential, are they really a priority, when we need more nurses, more train drivers… that’s what we are questioning.”
Conservative Way Forward have published a report on their investigation, although co-conspirators will already be familiar with the number of these roles that crop up every ten minutes in the public sector. Loughton is one of 40 MPs to have signed a letter to Chancellor Jeremy Hunt this morning calling for this waste to be rooted out once and for all. Inevitably, Zarah Sultana had to pretend scrapping this sort of thing was “classic Tory ‘divide and conquer.”
Read the full letter below:
Wendy Morton has finally spoken publicly about that fateful night in the division lobby the night before Liz resigned, when both she and then-Deputy Chief Whip announced they’d resigned then un-resigned in the space of about ten seconds, and the government fell apart for the second time in three months. It might feel like a lifetime ago. It’s actually only been a month.
Appearing on Politics Live, Morton relived the carnage in full, explaining that she had offered her resignation after Number 10 “interfered” in the vote at the eleventh hour by insisting it wasn’t a confidence motion, despite Morton insisting it was:
“It was one of those nights that I’ll probably never forget… it was a confidence vote… we were expecting colleagues to be in the lobby with us, so when the exchange came at the despatch box that it wasn’t [a confidence vote], you can see what ensued, which was chaos… I offered my resignation on the basis that Number 10 were interfering and I feel so strongly about the integrity of the Chief Whip and the red lines that I have. But the Prime Minister would not accept my resignation, so I continued…”
She didn’t mention that there was an outside chance of losing a confidence vote on the issue of fracking and causing a general election – an odd risk for a chief whip to take, for no observable gain
She then claimed to have somewhat mended her relationship with Truss – they’re getting on “fine” – and insisted Liz was dealt a rough hand from the start of her premiership.
The performance of the Whips office at a critical point in that premiership certainly didn’t make it any smoother.