Category Archives: Cabinet

Bethell sacked – for destroying evidence in ‘government by personal email’ scandal?

Lord Bethell: he previously claimed he never used his private accounts for official business. Now he has been sacked by the Tory Government – as This Site suggested. Is he about to face court action too?

Before we start, it should be made clear that Boris Johnson has given no reason for sacking Lord Bethell as a health minister in his Cabinet reshuffle.

That being said, Bethell is a key figure in a major – ongoing – scandal in which government decisions may have been made using personal email and/or WhatsApp accounts in order to avoid public scrutiny.

Bethell had claimed that he never used his private email or telephone accounts for official business – but then replaced his mobile phone before it could be searched for information relevant to £85m of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) deals that are subject to a legal challenge.

The government is expected to disclose Bethell’s correspondence on those matters – by email, WhatsApp and SMS – as part of legal proceedings issued by the Good Law Project.

The Health Secretary has a responsibility to preserve and search documents for information relevant to the case from the point at which judicial review proceedings were issued in late 2020, under the government’s “duty of candour” – and the phone was replaced in early 2021.

The government has admitted it made no effort to issue Bethell with a preservation notice requiring him to save documents, claiming that ministers’ official correspondence was routinely saved as a matter of course. However, this did not cover government business conducted by private means.

It seems Bethell has not reactivated his WhatsApp, SMS and private email accounts from that phone, although there is nothing to stop him from doing so. Efforts are being made to recover information in those accounts from his mobile phone provider.

I wonder if those efforts have borne fruit and Bethell’s departure from government is happening ahead of more serious proceedings in the courts.

Whatever happens there, this development indicates that Boris Johnson’s government is not as immune to public scrutiny as he has previously tried to suggest.

The prime minister has often shrugged off criticism after serious complaints were made about his own misbehaviour and that of his ministers, but at least three of the worst offenders – Gavin Williamson, Robert Jenrick and now Bethell – have been ejected in the reshuffle.

Is Johnson going for plausible deniability – putting distance between himself and Bethell so he won’t be caught in the backlash if serious wrongdoing is exposed?

A quick note about Liz Truss

Liz Truss: the queen of cheese may prove even more clueless than Raab.

You may have heard a lot of commentary from broadcasters you trust, claiming that Liz Truss’s promotion from Trade to the Foreign Office shows she is a capable politician, a rising star and a possible Tory leadership contender.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The reason she was promoted has nothing to do with her abilities. It happened because the tiny readership of Tory blog ConservativeHome have voted her as their favourite Tory Cabinet member in a regular poll.

I mean to say: do you really think she got it for doing a trade deal in which she’ll send cheese to lactose-intolerant Japan?

Or, for that matter, for this:

Still, the comedy value should be terrific because we’ll get to watch the mouse-brained Queen of Cheese kick up a stink across the world. Just try not to take it personally when people from foreign countries point at you and laugh.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Raab’s move from Foreign Office to Justice is a DEMOTION

And quite right too – although he should have been kicked onto the backbenches to go back to his lazy old ways.

Remember: Dominic Raab came to public attention as a co-author of the book Britannia Unchained, which alleged that British workers were among the laziest in the world. It was then revealed that he was one of the laziest MPs in the House of Commons.

And let’s face it he’s been absolutely rubbish as Foreign Secretary:

We knew he was on his way out after the debacle that was the UK’s withdrawal from Afghanistan. He actually admitted that the intelligence agencies of both the UK and USA were outsmarted by a gang of desert-dwelling Taliban terrorists (but were they? Or was he just too stupid to pay attention to what they were saying, and did he think the Taliban would abide by what he decided to do? That was Joe Biden’s mistake).

He had only just got back from holiday, although he claimed he had been working – there – from the moment he had been told of the emergency. He denied claims that he had been seen sunning himself on the beach by claiming that “The sea was closed.”

His pathetic performance was highlighted by the resurfacing of an image of him posing with a woman wearing a sign saying, “He has no idea what he is doing” (above).

Trouble is, his role as prime minister Boris Johnson’s official stand-in has been confirmed with Raab named Deputy Prime Minister in this week’s Cabinet reshuffle. But his record in this respect is no cause for pride:

Covid-19 safety rules told us not to touch objects when we don’t know where they’ve been, and then lick our fingers. Raab did it while standing in for Johnson at a Covid-19 press conference.

He still has this job. In fact, it has been given a title for the first time.

Perhaps that’s the reason he has said he is delighted with the change.

Because going from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to the Ministry of Justice is, in no uncertain terms, a demotion. Raab is out of favour, and rightly so. He is a disgrace to UK politics.

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Bent Bob Jenrick won’t be making any more dodgy decisions on housing developments

Jenrick and Johnson: both had personal connections with property developer Richard Desmond. It has been suggested that Jenrick only stayed in his post after the Westferry scandal broke because Johnson also had a hand in the decision.

Robert Jenrick, the Tory Housing Secretary best-known for fiddling an inner-London development in order to deprive the local council of a huge fee, has been kicked out of Boris Johnson’s Cabinet – and not a moment too soon.

Not only did he override both the local planning authority and the Independent Planning Inspectorate to grant planning permission for Richard Desmond’s controversial Westferry development, despite it having been found not to meet acceptable planning standards…

… but he did it to allow the developer to avoid paying a £45 million levy to Tower Hamlets Council that he had decided should not apply – and then used that as his reason for granting the application.

Text messages between Desmond and Jenrick show the former Express newspaper owner and pornographer pressured the minister to grant planning permission, saying: “We don’t want to give Marxists loads of doe [sic] for nothing!”

He broke Covid-19 lockdown rules to travel between his three homes – and then insisted that young people should adhere to restricts, even though there was no evidence to suggest they did not.

He corruptly induced a fellow MP to approve a grant for his constituency totalling £237 per person recently – but negotiated Covid-19 support for the people of Manchester down to £7.95 per person.

So it is undoubtedly good that Boris Johnson has finally had the guts to kick Jenrick out of the Cabinet.

The only question is, why did it take so long?

Was it because Johnson himself was also involved in helping Desmond? I guess we may never know.

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Buckland judged unworthy – but plan to put government above the law lives on

Robert Buckland: he had one job – to put Boris Johnson above the law.

Robert Buckland has become the second Cabinet member to be sacked in Boris Johnson’s reshuffle.

If you can’t place the name, he used to be Justice Secretary and has been behind the plan to ensure the courts will not be able to stop Johnson’s Tory Government from breaking the law in the future.

The idea is to restrict the courts’ powers of judicial review to prevent them from examining government legislation and deciding whether it conforms with the law – or breaks it.

It would give Johnson the ability to do anything he wants – by making sure the rest of us have no legal power to stop him.

Johnson was deeply embarrassed by judicial reviews that overturned his decisions to mismanage Brexit and to prorogue Parliament, back in 2019, and it seems this is the entirely selfish motivation behind the proposed law.

MPs from every party apart from the Conservatives have pointed out that the plan is based on a lie by Johnson and his government that a panel led by Lord Faulks QC had found that courts in judicial review cases had become more prone “to edge away from a strictly supervisory jurisdiction”.

Faulks himself has contradicted this Tory lie. He said his panel did not identify any such “trend” and “was not ultimately convinced that judicial review needed radical reform”.

The plan to put the government above the law has been condemned by the  Bar Council, Law Society, Constitutional and Administrative Law Association, Liberty, Justice and the Public Law Project for the same reason.

The Ministry of Justice – and therefore Buckland, as the Secretary of State, responded: “We made a manifesto commitment to ensure the judicial review process is not open to abuse or delay, or used to conduct politics by another means.” Fine words that are not borne out by the substance of the plan.

So we are losing a Justice Secretary who wanted to put injustice at the heart of Tory government decision-making. But is Johnson only replacing one such character with somebody worse?

ADDITIONAL: As I was typing this story, it was announced that Dominic Raab has been demoted from Foreign Secretary to Justice Secretary. It seems likely to This Writer that this is in order to push through the plan to put Johnson above the law more quickly.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Good riddance, Gavin! Williamson sacked as Education Secretary

Ooh, don’t have a Betty: Gavin Williamson was dubbed the Frank Spencer of Boris Johnson’s Cabinet due to his ineptitude and lack of intelligence. Worse still, he didn’t have the heart that Michael Crawford gave his comedy character. In fact, let’s face it – Williamson has no redeeming features at all.

England’s education system is (momentarily) stronger with the announcement that Gavin Williamson has been sacked from his post as the minister in charge, as part of a Cabinet reshuffle by Boris Johnson.

His two-year tenure stands as testament to the fact that having no Education Secretary is better than having him in the role.

Incompetent Williamson’s failures are fast becoming the stuff of legend, with the headline disasters well-known to all of us:

In 2020, when A-level students could not take their exams because of Covid-19, he used a algorithm to allocate marks – that was rigged to make it seem that privately-educated pupils were more intelligent than the riff-raff from the state system that he ran.

He later tried to force disadvantaged, black and minority ethnic children in England to take exams when other kids didn’t have to, claiming that they respond better to examination conditions. It seemed clear racism – an attempt to put these children down with duff results.

He made it clear that the government expected all schools to open as normal in January this year – then closed them after just one day because prime minister Boris Johnson ordered a new lockdown and he was unaware of it.

He decided to foist Latin as a subject onto state school pupils, rather than anything useful. At the time I wrote: “Having killed the economy with Brexit and enormous numbers of the population with Covid-19, the Tories now want us all to learn a dead language.”

He scrapped dozens of legal rights for children.

He also wanted a clampdown on indiscipline in schools after the return from Covid-19 lockdown – but provided no evidence whatsoever to support his wild claim that our children had gone feral.

Before Boris Johnson gave him the bullet, it was suggested that Williamson would blame school pupils and parents if Covid-19 infections spike after the start of the school term.

It’s still too early to tell whether that has happened but we will be able to judge his successor by whether they choose to follow the same cowardly strategy.

If Johnson continues to follow his “Cabinet of all the idiots” strategy (he thinks it makes him look like the intelligent one) then our children’s education may be in for an even worse battering.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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