Category Archives: Parliament

Incredible sulk: and Johnson will have a lot to sulk about if MPs tighten rules on lying

Temper, temper: Boris Johnson lost his rag in PMQs over repeated accusations of dishonesty and sleaze. Trouble is, his outburst contained at least one more false claim.

It had to happen at a Prime Minister’s Questions that This Writer didn’t see.

For once, Labour leader Keir Starmer had a good week – but then, with the kind of ammunition he has been provided over the last few days, he could hardly go wrong.

He spent most of his time on the financing of renovations to Boris Johnson’s Downing Street flat. Questions over the origin of £60,000 of funding were asked months ago and not answered.

Now, Starmer asked directly whether the money – now pegged at £58,000 – was put up by Lord Brownlow – and Johnson failed to answer directly.

Rather than saying whether Brownlow had any involvement, he simply asserted – repeatedly – that he himself had “covered the cost”.

It would be entirely possible for Johnson to have “covered the cost” after receiving the money from a third party – and the fact that he did not flatly deny any involvement by Brownlow means his claim is meaningless.

But it may be Starmer’s first question that turns out to have been the bigger bear-trap. He asked whether it was true that Johnson had said he would rather have “bodies piled high” than implement another lockdown.

Johnson answered with a categorical “no”, coupled with a demand for Starmer to bring forward any evidence he had.

That may seem fairly straightforward.

But then Starmer said he would follow up on his question in the future.

And then the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford waded into the fray. Acknowledging that MPs aren’t allowed to directly accuse each other of dishonesty, he simply asked Johnson to say whether he is a liar or not.

And Johnson wouldn’t:

As you can see from the clip, first he tried to worm out of answering by querying whether the question was in order – it was.

Then he (again) questioned the evidence of him having done as Blackford (and Starmer) had suggested.

And then he responded that he had not said those words (leading us all to conclude that they may be a close paraphrase of whatever he really said).

Under this kind of pressure, perhaps it should come as no surprise that, while responding to Starmer’s claim that he was “Major Sleaze”*, Johnson underwent what might be described as a “sulk-out” – a two-minute rant that failed to address what he had been asked…

… including another false claim – that Starmer had voted against the Tory government’s Brexit deal.

And this is important, because…

As a result of all these accusations of dishonesty, Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle has supported a plan to enforce the rules on misleading Parliament.

Amid a fresh row over the prime minister’s “lies” to MPs, Lindsay Hoyle supported a proposal for the cross-party Commons Procedure Committee to look into “how perceived inaccuracies could be corrected” as quickly as possible.

This could create serious difficulties for Johnson, whose serial lies were mentioned on This Site very recently.

You see, Starmer is right – any minister who knowingly misleads Parliament – including the Prime Minister – is expected to offer their resignation.

If the Procedure Committee puts this expectation on a more formal basis – and Starmer produced the evidence that Johnson did make a comment to the effect that he would rather see multiple deaths than impose a lockdown – then that would signal the end of his premiership.

And it wouldn’t be a day too soon.

*That should be Major Corruption, as reported a few days ago by This Site (and others) – but perhaps Starmer was restricted from saying as much by Parliamentary rules (again).

Source: Boris Johnson Facing Tough New Rules To Force Him To Correct ‘Lies’ To Parliament | HuffPost UK

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Tories vote down plan to register stalkers and domestic abusers – because of how it would affect them?

Priti Patel: she initially said she would support a register of stalkers and domestic abusers, but reneged on that promise when it came to a vote. Was it because it wouldn’t directly target immigrants?

Boris Johnson’s government is showing us in increasingly blatant ways that Tories only ever make law for their own profit.

David Cameron’s Greensill scandal came about because it seems he designed his law to register lobbyists specifically to ignore the lobbyists who would employ him in the future – to quote just one example.

So what are we to make of this?

The government is facing growing anger after voting against putting serial stalkers and domestic abusers on a national register, despite briefing they were likely to support the measures following the death of Sarah Everard.

Conservative MPs voted against amendments to the domestic abuse bill on Thursday that would have placed serial domestic abusers and stalkers on the current Violent and Sex Offender Register (Visor).

MPs also voted down House of Lords-supported amendments that would have given family court judges training on sexual abuse and provided greater protection to migrant victims of domestic violence.

Why would a Tory government reject a change in the law that would make people safer?

Is it because they don’t think it would affect them?

Or is it because they do? Think about it.

Source: Anger as Tory MPs vote against register for stalkers and domestic abusers | Domestic violence | The Guardian

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Tory corruption is here to stay, judging by the people involved in the Greensill scandal

Snout in the trough (all right – bucket): perhaps the Conservatives should rename themselves the Corruption Party?

A lobbyist is running the Tory government’s inquiry into the Greensill scandal.

A lobbyist is running Parliament’s watchdog on lobbying.

And more people in public life are being identified as employees of the collapsed finance firm Greensill Capital, meaning their loyalties were divided between working for the public good and making profits for this private company. And this is just one firm. How many other MPs, former MPs and people in charge of other public organisations are also enmired in this corruption?

Consider this:

For those who can’t read images well, it says the government review of lobbying is being headed by Nigel Boardman, a consultant with law firm Slaughter & May – which lobbied against tightening lobbying laws.

It seems clear that the ‘fix’ is in – anyone who works for a firm that wants more freedom to lobby the government won’t find any corruption in David Cameron’s activities for Greensill, right?

Now let’s look at how Parliament got into a position where a former prime minister was able to insinuate himself into the corridors of power on behalf of his new employer and influence current ministers to provide Greensill with huge amounts of public money. Why didn’t the lobbying watchdog spot it and put a stop to it?

Here‘s iNews:

A senior member of the Government’s own lobbying watchdog runs his own firm advertising his access to ministers at the highest echelons of power.

Andrew Cumpsty sits on the Government’s Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (Acoba), and boasts of his access to Cabinet ministers.

Do you think that might have something to do with how the rot has set in so far?

And then there’s this:

Hogan-Howe – now a Lord, and therefore well-placed to put in a good word for his employers – has only been discovered because of the focus on Greensill.

But how many other firms have their fingers in government pies via members of Parliament they just happen to have in their pockets?

And how much are our MPs and former MPs earning from second (or third, or fourth, or however many) jobs with these organisations?

Yes, there’s a Parliamentary inquiry happening, independently of Boris Johnson’s Slaughter & May-led whitewash, but that won’t go far enough either.

We need a full investigation into the current employment situations of all former MPs. Do they work for firms that have government contracts and, if so, how were those contracts secured?

Let’s find out how deep the rot has set in.

Because if we don’t – and if we don’t then clear it all out – then we may as well accept that Tory corruption is here to stay; it isn’t only part of the fabric of political life – it is the heart of the UK’s politics.

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Greensill: civil servants told to declare unauthorised second jobs while independent inquiry move is rejected

David Cameron: he could almost be saying, “Don’t look at me! There’s a civil servant over there who stacks shelves at a supermarket because I froze her pay in 2011!”

The latest developments in the Greensill scandal show typical Tory attitudes – one rule for them and a different rule for the ‘help’.

So – as predicted by This Site – Conservative MPs have rejected a Labour plan for a full Parliamentary inquiry into lobbying by former MPs on behalf of their current employers. Instead, the government has commissioned a review, to be run by a friend of the Tories. It will be a whitewash.

Meanwhile, civil servants are being ordered to declare second jobs they have that “might conflict” with their rules. This is after repeated assertions that former procurement chief Bill Crothers’s second job with Greensill was thoroughly vetted and above-board.

It seems to This Writer that Boris Johnson is looking for someone to blame; trying to take the heat off his school chum and former colleague, David Cameron.

Of course, civil servants shouldn’t have second jobs at all, let alone second jobs that may create a conflict of interests with their duties in the interests of the nation.

But I wonder how anyone has the time. And it also seems to me that if they have managed to get away with this, then we still have to question the behaviour of government ministers who devised the rules on outside employment.

So if any civil servants – especially those in top jobs – are found to have broken the rules… and if serious conflicts of interest are discovered… then Boris Johnson is still going to have a lot of explaining to do.

Source: Greensill row: Civil servants ordered to declare second jobs – BBC News

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Here’s what we learned last week about the way the Tories are changing the UK. What can we do about it?

Dictator Johnson: like all fascists, the only rights that interest Boris Johnson are his own – which is why he has announced he intends to abolish yours – and stop the courts from ruling that anything he does is illegal.

The last week in UK politics was seismic – in terms of the changes it announced.

Boris Johnson is using the Tories huge Parliamentary majority to change our way of life, fundamentally.

Here’s what they have started. But what can you do about it?

1. The Conservatives are ending your right to protest.

And they announced it at precisely the wrong moment. After a vigil for a woman who had been kidnapped and murdered – allegedly by a policeman – turned into a riot when policemen started attacking the female participants, Home Secretary Priti Patel introduced a new law that allows police to arrest anybody for making a demonstration that is noticed by anybody else.

There’s no point in protesting if you’re not allowed to make enough noise for other people to notice it, of course.

The move has been interpreted – correctly – as an attempt to head off protests against the Conservatives’ planned political changes that will alter the UK from democracy (albeit a not-very-progressive one) into a full-blown dictatorship.

2. The Tories are giving the police huge new powers of oppression

The example I used was the new power to arrest travellers – not for committing a crime, but on suspicion that they might do so in the future. This comes with a power to confiscate their homes.

Priti Patel’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill is full of similar increases of oppression, against people in all parts of the UK’s society, we’re told.

3. The Conservatives are continuing to turn a blind eye to crimes against women – especially if they are committed by the police

Hate crime is the trademark of Conservative governments in the UK since 2010. They have stirred up hatred against migrant workers; they’ve stirred it up against people with long-term illnesses and disabilities. Their new Police Bill will stir up more hate against minorities, while failing to protect more than half the population from crime.

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill sets the penalty for attacking a statue at 10 years imprisonment. That is twice as long a term as the starting-point sentence for rape.

We discovered this in the same week that a serving police officer walked free from a court after admitting assaulting a woman who was just walking home at night, using his police training to try to wrestle her to the ground while flinging misogynistic verbal abuse at her. His colleagues had tried to ignore her complaint when she first filed it.

Oh, and after we were told the Metropolitan Police had learned its lessons from an incident when two of its officers published WhatsApp posts of them posing with the dead bodies of two murdered women, another Met officer was alleged to have sent a “vile” post about Sarah Everard, while guarding her body.

4. The Conservative government thinks giving £2.6 million to a firm based in a country that is hostile to the UK – for communications equipment (think about it) – is money better-spent than giving nurse’s an above-inflation pay rise in reward for their work against Covid-19.

5. The Tories are hoping to strike trade deals with nations across the word that violate the human rights of their citizens.

Like is attracted to like, it seems; the Tory government is ripping up the human rights of UK citizens.

6. The Conservatives have announced that they will spend billions of pounds adding 65 warheads to the UK’s arsenal of nuclear weapons.

The UK does not have the facilities needed to fire all of these missiles and in any case it would be madness to do so, as it would certainly lead to the destruction of the entire nation in a retaliatory nuclear inferno.

7. The Conservatives have announced an attack on democracy with a plan to change the voting system at local elections to favour them.

They are using the result of a 2011 referendum – about a different subject – to justify changing the system by which Combined Authority mayors, the mayor of London and police and crime commissioners are elected from a form of proportional representation by which those elected must be supported by more than half of the electorate to the old FPTP (First Past The Post) system by which the candidate with the most votes wins, even if supported by a tiny minority of the electorate.

8. The Tories are following through on their threat to end the separation of powers that prevents the UK from falling into dictatorship, by curbing the courts’ ability to rule government actions illegal.

Boris Johnson was caught breaking the law over Brexit and the prorogation of Parliament in 2019 – when he actually misled the Queen in order to get her to end a Parliamentary session early – and he’s butt-hurt about it.

As a result, he intends to ensure that the courts will not be able to stop him from doing anything he likes in the future – no matter how many laws he breaks.

These are just the highlights – of which the worst must be Boris Johnson’s plan to put himself and his government above the law while subjecting the rest of us to increasing oppression.

The big question now is: what are you going to do about it?

We know that a quarter of the UK’s population is 100 per cent behind Johnson because they voted for him and his party – right? Granted, a small number of them might be wavering now because of the extremism of the changes listed above – and remember, they are only events that happened last week – but there remains a significant rump of Tory support.

About a third of those who are left are children who are too young to have their opinions taken seriously by the political elite.

That leaves around half the UK’s population to stand up for democracy.

But the question remains: How do you protect your freedoms when your right to do so is being taken away?

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Priti Patel wants to stop protests against male violence on women. Will YOU help stop her?


The government’s reaction to protests like that on Clapham Common last night (March 13), when male police officers arrested many women who had gathered to protest at the kidnap and murder of a woman, apparently by a male police officer, is simple: it will stop us from protesting.

Do you think that is reasonable?

Priti Patel is pushing through new legislation to ensure that police can step in to prevent any protests, rallies, or other public demonstrations tomorrow (March 15).

Her new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will expand on powers to restrict demonstrations in the Public Order Act 1986 that allowed them to be restricted if there was a risk of “serious public disorder, serious damage to property or serious disruption to the life of the community”.

The new Bill increases the scope to allow restrictions on the basis of noise: Patel means to literally silence protest in the UK.

If it is enacted as it stands, then police will be able to stop protests that “may result in serious disruption to the activities of an organisation” – for instance by distracting employees in a nearby office.

This also applies if the event disturbs passers-by – if the noise of the protest could have “a relevant impact on persons in the vicinity of the procession”.

The threshold is minimal: if just one person could be caused “serious unease, alarm or distress”, the rozzers would be allowed to move in and get busy with their truncheons.

This is fascism – and it makes a mockery of the false hand-wringing the Bill’s author, Priti Patel, was exhibiting on Twitter yesterday:

We should have known this was coming, though. She made her position clear when she told LBC’s Nick Ferrari “I don’t support protest”:

The horrendous scenes on Clapham Common last night were a direct consquence of Patel’s ideology. Remember, she controls the Metropolitan Police:

It seems the new Bill will contradict the Human Rights Act and the European Convention on Human Rights, which enshrines our right to protest in law:

This Writer therefore called for all right-thinking people to make a stand against Patel’s fascism:

I am glad to report that there will indeed be such an event:

So there it is. If you want to protest against Priti Patel’s (and by extension, Boris Johnson’s) plan to silence protest against male violence on women* then be at Parliament Square in London from 5pm tomorrow – Monday, March 15.

*Yes, she wants to stop all forms of protest but this is what she is stopping right now, and people need to be aware of what it means. If you want to complain about my choice of words, your priorities are as wrong as if you wanted to complain about my characterisation of “male” violence in a previous article.

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Boris Johnson misleads Parliament AGAIN. Why did the UK ask for a liar to be prime minister?

Every day when I wake up and remember that Boris Johnson is prime minister, I wonder what went wrong.

It was bad enough when David Cameron was in charge, with his backwards ideas about benefits and the economy, and his concern for the Conservative Party above the nation that led to the EU referendum.

Then it got worse when Theresa May took over and proved incapable of doing anything apart from victimising people of minority ethnic origin.

Now we have Johnson, who appears to be incapable of uttering a factual accuracy and whose government is therefore – not unsurprisingly – marinating itself in corruption.

Today’s howler was his claim, in Prime Minister’s Questions, that Keir Starmer had voted against a promise of a 2.1 per cent pay rise for nurses – that his own government is breaking.

The plan was in the NHS Funding Bill last year – which passed without a formal vote because all the main parties supported it. Starmer didn’t need to vote, but if he had, he would have supported the Bill.

It will be interesting to see how Downing Street mangles the English language in order to pretend his claim is accurate.

After he said there would be no funding cut for the body tasked with improving transport in the north (he’s taking away 40 per cent of its funding), Downing Street tried to suggest he had been talking about transport generally for the north of England.

And after he claimed all Covid-19 contracts had been published and were “on the record” – only to be contradicted by the High Court – a minister said all CANs – Contract Award Notices – had been published. They are not the same thing.

This time, he has declared – on television – that the leader of the Opposition took part in a vote that did not take place, and in doing so, voted against a Bill he supported.

I’d wish Johnson’s Downing Street advisors the best of luck finding a way out of that – but I want them, and him, to fall flat on their faces.

Source: Boris Johnson accused of misleading Parliament for third time in three weeks – Mirror Online

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Budget response by the Leader of the Opposition to the Tory Government

Here it is.

It is particularly enlightening where it refers to the Member for Hayes & Harlington:

You didn’t really expect this to be a video of Keir Starmer, did you?

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ANYBODY could have predicted that Dido Harding would be wrong on Covid-19 mutation. Here are some of the funniest responses

Useless: Tory money pit and expertise vacuum Dido Harding.

Brace yourself because this is a doozy: Dido Harding, the wife of the Tory anti-corruption minister who was corruptly appointed to head the government’s Covid-19 test and trace organisation has just explained exactly why she should never have been allowed anywhere near it.

In front of a Commons select committee, she said, “Nobody could have predicted that the virus would mutate.”

This is a fact that is taught to seven-year-old children:

Doctors and scientists have been tracking Covid-19 variations since last spring – before Harding was appointed to run Test and Trace:

Her comment has created a torrent of hilarity:

This one is particularly pertinent:

And of course there is only one conclusion to be drawn:

She won’t because she doesn’t have to. No Tory ministers have been harmed by her stupidity.

Although, considering their own mentality, would they even understand it if they were?

But you and I need to know that imbeciles like this are responsible for our Covid-19 response and that is why the UK is the laughing stock of the world.

If the long-awaited Environment Bill has to be delayed, why not use the time to make it useful?

Pollution: the Bill will contain provisions to improve air quality – but not in the immediate future, and the watchdog body it will set up is unlikely to have any teeth.

Do you think it’s bizarre that our government(s) tell us constantly that their actions are for the good of the country, but they always seem to postpone anything for the good of the planet?

The case in point is the decision to postpone, yet again, an Environment Bill that has been waiting for a reading in the House of Commons since 2018.

Campaigners say the delay will harm action to lessen air pollution and improve water quality.

Ministers say the delay is necessary because of the amount of time being taken up by the Covid-19 crisis.

Dispassionate onlookers might say this discussion seems pointless anyway, as Boris Johnson’s government has resoundingly failed to cope with the pandemic on any meaningful level.

The Bill sets out a framework by which ministers can impose new targets on vital issues like air pollution and water quality, waste, resource use and biodiversity, which were previously regulated under EU directives.

But the bill as it stands makes these into long-term targets, meaning direct efforts to cut pollution may be left in limbo.

If passed into law, the legislation will create a new Office for Environmental Protection – a watchdog body that campaigners fear will not be sufficiently independent or powerful under the current bill.

The bill also includes measures to ensure consumers in the UK no longer contribute to the destruction of vast swaths of forested land overseas, through new rules intended to stop the import of goods to the UK from areas of illegally deforested land. UK businesses will need to show that the products they source that could come from at-risk areas – wood, but also soy, palm oil, beef, leather and other key commodities – are from supply chains free from deforestation. Breaches of the rules will incur fines.

So all in all, the Bill looks like reducing, rather than increasing, environmental protections.

It seems to This Writer that, if it must be delayed, then this is an opportunity to do some background work.

I remember hearing that US president Lyndon Johnson used to do much of his work in the backrooms of Congress, persuading (I won’t speculate on his methods) Congresspeople to support his laws – or finding ways to make them acceptable.

Perhaps if the Tories currently working on the Environment Bill – Rebecca Pow is named in the Guardian report – spend the spring and summer polishing it up to ensure that there are quantifiable short- and medium-term targets, and their new Office for Environmental Protection actually has the clout to live up to its name, then the amount of discussion time in Parliament could be cut down, the Bill could sail through and everybody will be (belatedly) happy.

But that may be too much like common sense.

Source: Fury as long-awaited UK environment bill is delayed for third time | Environment | The Guardian

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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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook