Tag Archives: Andrea Leadsom

Is Cleverly for the chop in coming Cabinet reshuffle – along with a lot of ladies?

James Cleverly: He was once described as “the Tories’ go-to eejit when they need someone to tweet absolute nonsense or defend the indefensible”. It seems they no longer feel the need to defend themselves in that way.

It seems James Cleverly’s time at the top is finally running out – and it can’t end soon enough, in This Writer’s view.

Mr Cleverly simply isn’t smart enough to hold a top job in government. Besides, with Boris Johnson as prime minister, we don’t need two idiots with their feet in their mouths at the same time.

Apparently, some think this is harsh treatment after Cleverly presided over a heavy defeat for the Labour Party – but that had very little to do with him.

It seems he’ll be replaced by expenses cheat Maria Miller, who disgraced herself in the Department for Work and Pensions before she disgraced herself over money. It may be that she has learned her lessons in the nearly-six-years since that happened; draw your own conclusions.

Also for the chop, it seems, are many of the women Johnson appointed to make himself look like an equal-opportunities boss, in the run-up to the election.

Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom, International Trade Secretary Liz Truss and welfare boss Therese Coffey (who made a fool of herself by saying food banks were a perfect way to deal with poverty) are apparently on the way out, with sexism apparently on the way back in.

It seems the only way Johnson can be described as supporting equal opportunities is negative:

Members of his own government are just as likely to get the bum’s rush as the rest of us. 

Source: Boris Johnson expected to oust Tory chairman James Cleverly in reshuffle – Mirror Online

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#BackBercow campaign takes off as Tories bid to oust Commons Speaker at election

Adversaries: Andrea Leadsom and John Bercow.

Isn’t it hilarious that Tory Andrea Leadsom is accusing Commons Speaker John Bercow of breaking Parliamentary rules when her government has been doing worse than he could imagine?

And isn’t it ironic that, claiming to be standing up for democracy, they are happy to break an ancient democratic convention?

How hypocritical.

Ms Leadsom reckons Mr Bercow has committed a “flagrant abuse” of process by allowing Parliament to take control of Commons business and table a Bill to stop the government from shafting us all with a “no deal” Brexit.

But he – together with Opposition MPs – was well within his rights to use a recognised procedure against Boris Johnson’s underhand attempt to deny UK citizens their right to democratic representation by proroguing Parliament for five weeks, at a crucial point in the run-up to Brexit.

Here’s how the BBC is reporting the matter:

The Conservative Party plans to stand a candidate against Speaker John Bercow for his role in allowing MPs to take control of the Commons agenda.

Breaching convention, the party plans to oppose Mr Bercow in his Buckingham constituency at the next election.

Formerly a Tory, Mr Bercow gave up his party affiliation when he took on the impartial role.

As the highest authority in the House of Commons, the Speaker chairs MPs’ debates.

In order to be impartial, the Speaker resigns from their party, and – while they still stand in general elections – they are usually unopposed by the main parties, and they do not campaign on political issues.

This latest attempt to silence democracy – and impartiality, if Ms Leadsom plans to put a Tory yes-man in Mr Bercow’s place – has sparked a backlash on the social media, under the hashtag #BackBercow .

Source: Tories bid to depose Speaker Bercow after Commons revolt – BBC News

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Is it really a boost for Boris Johnson that he’s now supported by leadership failure Leadsom?

Mutual support: Boris Johnson endorsed Andrea Leadsom’s bid to be Tory leader in 2016. Now she has been defeated again, she has come out for him.

Tory leadership favourite Boris Johnson must be just glowing after he won the support of Andrea Leadsom, the former rival who fell out of the contest at the first hurdle.

Ms Leadsom gave “two key reasons” for backing Mr Johnson:

“One is I think he is the best placed to get us out of the EU at the end of October. His view and mine are closely aligned there.

“Secondly, I do believe he is an election winner. He is someone who can bring the country and the party back together and take us forward in a positive way.

“And the third thing which is more nuanced really is that he and I share a scepticism about the HS2 project on the grounds of value for money.

“But he, at the same time, has a big commitment to improving infrastructure in the country to a pro-business agenda that will really get our ecomony to be motoring, which is essential in a post-Brexit world.”

The first thing we should notice about that is, Ms Leadsom can’t count – those are four reasons.

Next, let’s all remember that she is a hardline Brexiter who wants out and doesn’t care if it’s without a deal. So she’s making Mr Johnson the “no-deal” candidate (which may upset Dominic Raab’s plans somewhat).

Moving on, she’s saying she doesn’t care if he wrecks the Tory claim of “fiscal responsibility” (which is a myth in any case).

Finally, let’s look at what she didn’t say – but should have.

Mr Johnson endorsed Ms Leadsom’s candidacy in 2016, saying she had the “zip, drive and determination” to be prime minister. One might say it was only fair that she return the favour – once she was knocked out of the race again, of course.

The rest is summed up in a comment to This Site that I saw today:

“I fear that Boris could do something either spectacularly immoral, like cheating on a wife or girlfriend, or abandoning a partner and child, or helping a friend get a journalist beaten up, or making blatant racist remarks, or else do something spectacularly inept like wasting millions of taxpayer pounds on London water cannon that have to then be scrapped or planning a Garden Bridge that never got built, or denouncing Tory donors by saying “F**k business”, and he would still be the Tory voter’s favourite.”

And has he not done those things already?

Here’s Chris Patten, putting it a different way:

This is the kind of man Ms Leadsom thinks should be prime minister.

It seems clear that knocking her out of the leadership race early was a wise decision.

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POLL: Does anybody care about all these Tory leadership hopefuls and their druggie pasts?

Andrea Leadsom: She’s the fourth Tory leadership candidate to admit having smoked “weed”.

Can somebody please tell me how having taken drugs in the past makes someone a better candidate to be the leader of the Conservative Party – let alone prime minister?

Jeremy Hunt was the first; he admitted taking a cannabis lassi (it’s a kind of drink made in India).

Then Rory Stewart said he took opium at a wedding in Iran, prompting speculation in some quarters that he was pre-empting a revelation – possibly by a rival.

And then the floodgates opened.

Boris Johnson took cocaine and cannabis at college. Can anybody say they’re surprised?

Dominic Raab has had cannabis, and so has Andrea Leadsom.

And Michael Gove took cocaine. In his confession, he went on at length about the drug’s harmful effects (“drugs damage lives”) and about his feelings on the subject now (“it is something I deeply regret”). This caused more rancour than the straight confessions of the others.

Green MP Caroline Lucas said it was “rank hypocrisy” to admit to “mistakes” while “backing policies that perpetuate harm”.

Crispin Blunt, chairman of the all-party parliamentary group for drug policy reform, said: “Michael has delivered a politically-crafted and deeply unconvincing hand-wringing statement of regret for committing a victimless crime. He should have used the opportunity to join a vital and urgent policy debate.”

Ex-Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron pointed out that all six “continue to back policies that send less fortunate folk to prison for the same thing. It’s disgusting”.

And current Lib Dem leadership hopeful Ed Davey observed: “They might all be historical confessions but the way this Tory leadership is going it’s like they’re all off their heads.”

That certainly appears to be the conclusion of the satirists, who have been having great fun concocting fictional pasts for other MPs. I particularly enjoyed the idea of Jacob Rees-Mogg having used camphorated tincture of laudanum with his nanny in 1899.

And apparently Larry the Downing Street Cat has admitted a continuing fondness for catnip. Well, why not?

In the interests of full disclosure, This Writer is happy to admit a long history of substance abuse including cocktails of diesel, metal polish and (when I can get it) Uranium-239. We journalists run on heavy fuel!

But there is a serious question here.

The issue of illegal drugs has been a major political football for decades. Remember the “war on drugs”? The lives of millions of people have been affected – many ruined – by organised drug-pushers; Michael Gove wasn’t wrong about that. And many people have been punished – sometimes jailed – simply for possession of certain substances.

And the hypocrisy of the mass media should also be taken into account. Remember the thunderous furore after Diane Abbott drank a mojito on a train? In comparison, we get hardly a whimper after people who may become prime minister confessed to serious historical crimes.

Against this background, it is right to question the attitude of these confessors. Let’s have a poll:

Source: Tory leadership hopeful Andrea Leadsom becomes 6th candidate to admit drugs past – Mirror Online

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May reprieved until Friday – but Leadsom quits

Happier times: But Ms Leadsom still has cause to smile as she is out of Theresa May’s shambolic excuse for a government.

Theresa May’s premiership is enjoying a stay of execution, it seems, despite the resignation of Andrea Leadsom as Leader of the House of Commons.

Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the Tory backbench 1922 Committee, will meet Mrs May on Friday – after the European Parliament elections – most probably to discuss the manner of her departure.

The committee met earlier this evening (May 22) to decide whether to change party rules in order to make a new vote of “no confidence” possible.

The chairman had been scheduled to meet Mrs May after the second reading of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, on June 7. There was a question over whether she would publish the Bill on Friday, as intended but it seems that is still going ahead.

The two issues – Mrs May’s resignation and the Withdrawal Agreement Bill – are linked because she previously said she would arrange a timetable for her resignation after the Bill’s second reading.

So reporters are suggesting that the meeting on Friday is an opportunity for her to go before she is pushed, and that she may announce her resignation in the fortnight between May 24 and June 7.

Tories would be keen for an early leadership contest, to give the new leader time to establish a new direction on Brexit before the end of October – the UK’s latest date of departure from the EU.

Here’s someone who has already announced her departure: Andrea Leadsom. And what a time she chose to do it!

Worse still than the fact that she increased Mrs May’s instability by quitting on the eve of the EU election and in the midst of a leadership crisis were the reasons for her departure, as given in her resignation letter:

Particularly interesting to me are items 3. and 4. – that government processes have broken down to a point that Brexit-related legislation has not been scrutinised properly or approved by Cabinet members, and that tolerance for Cabinet members who oppose the Government’s policy position has led to a “complete breakdown” of collective responsibility.

Damning.

Commentators have been quick to point out the possible irony in the resignation of a woman who stepped aside to allow Theresa May’s coronation in 2016 leading (possibly) to Mrs May’s downfall.

Reactions to the resignation have been interesting – especially on the Labour side.

What exactly did Labour deputy leader Tom Watson think he was doing when he attacked Ms Leadsom over her timing?

He tweeted: “I accept that she may want to go but to do it the night before an election looks odd.

“It’s also a slap in the face to Tory party members who are working hard to get their candidates elected tomorrow.”

That’s none of his concern!

He should be pleased that the Conservative Party is deeply de-stabilised and Ms Leadsom’s resignation is a part of that. Perhaps his behaviour may be explained by his continued uncertainty over whether he wants a Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn to capitalise from it.

Labour Party chairman Ian Lavery had the right idea. His comment: “The Prime Minister’s authority is shot and her time is up. While the Tories are ripping themselves apart, our country is in crisis. The government has made a catastrophic mess of the Brexit negotiations, our steel industry is under threat and universal credit is pushing people into poverty. For the sake of the country, Theresa May needs to go, and we need an immediate general election.”

Probably most damaging to Mrs May is this tweet from Tory MP Craig Tracey (who?) as follows:

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Andrea Leadsom wants to be Tory leader. Does she really think that’s a good idea?

Oh dear. Another Tory blunderer wants to make a bid for the top spot in politics.

Andrea Leadsom actually ran for the Conservative Party leadership – and to be prime minister of the UK – back in 2016, but withdrew in order to allow the coronation of Theresa May to happen unopposed. We all know how that turned out!

Now, according to some political commentators, she fancies her chances again. Here‘s the Huffington Post:

“Asked if she would run this time, Leadsom said:  “Yes, I am seriously considering standing. I’m disgusted at the fact that nearly three years on and still we haven’t left the EU.”

Is it a good idea? Well, let’s consider some of the things Ms Leadsom has said in the past:

That seems conclusive; she appears to be a female Boris Johnson.

And of course there is also the question of whether she is a homophobic bigot:

Just think: What Mr Johnson did for the Conservative Party’s race relations, Ms Leadsom could do for relationships… It doesn’t bear thinking about, does it?

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Government to publish full legal advice on Brexit deal after MPs find it in contempt of Parliament

As one commentator noted, there really isn’t enough popcorn in the world for the festivities taking place in the House of Commons today (December 4) – starting with the government’s humiliation at being found in contempt of Parliament.

MPs voted to find the government in contempt by a margin of 311 votes to 293.

Theresa May and her advisers must now deliver all legal advice they received before agreeing their Brexit deal with the EU to Parliament – or face the possibility of further sanction.

The Tory government had been in turmoil, desperately trying to defend against the motion that Attorney-General Geoffrey Cox committed the contempt by refusing to provide MPs with the information as demanded by the Commons in a Humble Motion that was approved unanimously on November 13.

Satirists had a field day –

– but the serious issue behind it is that Mrs May and her cronies have defied the rule of law. Parliament has supremacy over the government and the government may not ignore Parliament’s will.

Here’s a quick summary of the issue:

Sir Keir Starmer, Labour’s Shadow Brexit Secretary, opened the debate by demanding that Parliament rule the government to be in contempt.

He said the issue was whether the government had complied with a binding order of the House to release the Attorney-General’s legal advice.

The government is wilfully refusing to comply with a binding motion of the House and is therefore in contempt, he said.

The House of Commons is a higher authority than the government, he said. Parliament is sovereign, not the executive.

He pointed out that the government was making “a plea of mitigation”, not a defence.

And he pointed out that “for months the government has ignored opposition day motions and now that tactic has got them in very deep water indeed”.

Then Andrea Leadsom, Leader of the Commons, presented a government amendment – that the matter should be referred to the Commons’ privileges committee. This is normal procedure, but Opposition parties and the DUP have demanded that the matter be handled by Parliament because it refers to a vote that is happening next week.

In his speech, Sir Keir Starmer had addressed this claim: “The short point is this: there is nothing to refer. A binding order was made and the government is refusing to comply with it. The government is simply playing for time, hoping this is in the long grass until the vote has gone.”

Ms Leadsom called on MPs to “act with caution” in the contempt vote. She said the government had put up the A-G for two hours of “frank” questions and published a 48-page legal position paper in lieu of full advice.

That is exactly the point – the government put forward what it wanted to provide, rather than what it was ordered to provide. She was as good as admitting the contempt Sir Keir Starmer had alleged.

Then she made a point that became a subject for humour:

https://twitter.com/owenjbennett/status/1069941739291586560

After that, the debate got bogged down in technicalities and nit-picking.

Notable in the midst of this was Jacob Rees-Mogg’s magnificent attempt to face in both directions at once. He said the government could not refuse to honour a Humble Address, claiming the national interest, because “the government interest and the national interest are different things”. Therefore the demand for the full legal advice on the Brexit deal must be honoured. But he said he would be supporting the government’s amendment – because he did not think the motion went far enough and should have identified the culprit and suggested a punishment.

More seriously: One MP after another stood up to suggest that publishing the papers would not be in the national interest because it may prejudice future relationships with others. This was misleading Parliament – and the country.

The Humble Address did not demand publication of the legal papers; it did not suggest that they should be made available to the general public – it called for them to be “laid before Parliament”. The only people who would see them would be MPs, and only in order to inform their opinions and debate on the Brexit agreement. So arguments about harming the national interest were nonsense.

The government’s amendment was first to be tested – and fell by just four votes, with 307 in favour and 311 against.

The government must now publish the Attorney-General’s final legal advice in full – and has committed to do so tomorrow (December 5).

Six Tory ministers are members of a secret group supporting Brexit for their own reasons

Suella Fernandez: She chairs a secret group of Brexit-supporting MPs [Image: Rex].

People who still argue fervently for the UK’s departure from the European Union still haven’t got to grips with this simple fact:

The leaders of the biggest ‘Leave’ campaigns didn’t want to free the UK from EU interference; they simply want all the power for themselves.

All their talk about freeing us from an undemocratic power bloc is nonsense.

They want to reduce our access to democracy still further, ensuring that they make all the decisions and the rest of us have no choice but to do as we are told – without recourse to the international checks and balances offered by the EU.

Hence the proposal by Michael Gove – a member of the group – to strip UK workers of the protections offered by the European Working Time Directive.

It should be no surprise that Suella Fernandez, who wrote a ridiculous propaganda piece on Brexit in The Independent which This Writer rubbished last week, chairs this secretive organisation.

They want to distract us with inconsequentialities like the colour of our passports.

Go on believing that this nonsense matters, if you want.

Alternatively, wake up and recognise your oppressors.

Six leading members of Theresa May’s cabinet are paid-up subscribers of the secretive European Research Group, the hard-line anti-EU caucus of Conservative MPs who have serially refused to publish their membership list.

Michael Gove, the environment secretary, Penny Mordaunt, the newly-promoted defence secretary, David Gauke, the work and pensions secretary, Sajid Javid, the communities and local government secretary, Andrea Leadsom, the Leader of the House of Commons, and Chris Grayling, the transport secretary, have all used official expenses claims to pay for “ERG subscriptions” over the last 12 months.

Stewart Jackson, who lost his Peterborough seat in June’s general election, and is now chief of staff to David Davis at the Department for Exiting the European Union, also used his official expenses to pay for ERG services during the last years.

Five other subscriptions from former Tory cabinet ministers and whips, plus the current chair of the ERG, means this group alone have claimed more than £32,000 from the public purse.

Source: Six of Theresa May’s cabinet are paid up “members” of secret group demanding a total break from the European Union | openDemocracy


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Will Andrea Leadsom backstab Theresa May, after other leadership contenders tripped over their own tongues?

The only problem with this fabulous cartoon from the Daily Mirror is that Theresa May is being compared to Julius Caesar, who was a far greater leader than her.

Andrea Leadsom is probably relying on people having a poor memory.

It is more than a year, after all, since she managed to derail her own leadership ambitions with a tasteless comment about Theresa May’s childlessness.

But this is the era of Tories overstepping the bounds of good taste.

Look at the many imbecilities of Boris Johnson.

Look at David Davis – a man who, it seems, “can swagger sitting down”, and whose reputation should have been burned after he insulted (and assaulted, in This Writer’s opinion) Diane Abbott in a House of Commons bar.

Even if enough time has passed for Tories to forget Ms Leadsom’s familial faux pas, it seems unlikely she’ll be able to prevent herself from sticking her foot in her mouth again.

Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson told Andrew Marr this morning (October 8) that Mrs May was “the best prime minister we’ve got” – a foolish comment as Mrs May is the only prime minister we’ve got.

The Tories’ problem is that – and let us all hope this is a prophecy that comes true – with the kind of candidates we’re seeing on display, she’s probably the last prime minister they’ll ever have.

It is not David Davis or Boris Johnson that Theresa May fears the most. It’s her old rival Andrea Leadsom.

The PM knows what DD and Boris are up to. The Brexit Secretary and Foreign Secretary want her job and make no secret of it.

Mrs Leadsom is a stealth fighter. If she is gathering support to launch a second bid to oust her in a leadership contest, she is going about it quietly.

So quietly, Mrs May’s early warning system in the Tory whips office is struggling to pick it up on their radar.

A top Tory source told the Sunday People the Commons leader has not given up on her Number 10 ambitions.

Mrs Leadsom [has] the chance to wave her strong Brexit credentials and come through the middle as a compromise candidate.

Mrs Leadsom, 54, received the support of 66 MPs and came second to Mrs May in the first round of voting in the July 2016 leadership battle.

But after widespread revulsion at comments made by the mother of three about Mrs May being childless, her campaign imploded.

Source: Andrea Leadsom emerges as new contender to knife Theresa May in stealth plot


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Are Tory MPs illegally using taxpayers’ cash to fund a secretive hard-Brexit group?

“The people have spoken” but apparently some Tories don’t want to listen [Image: Avaaz].

If you don’t know about the Tories who are funding a pressure group to force Theresa May into delivering ‘hard’ Brexit no matter what the people want, then you must read this.

Here’s Open Democracy:

Senior MPs including Liam Fox, Andrea Leadsom and Jacob Rees-Mogg have used their expenses to fund a ‘party within a party’ inside Westminster – effectively holding the government hostage over its negotiations with the EU.

Taxpayers’ money is being used to fund an influential group of hard-line pro-Brexit Conservative MPs who are increasingly operating as a “party-within-a-party”.

Despite expenses rules stating that MPs cannot claim for research or work “done for, or on behalf of, a political party”, the European Research Group has received over a quarter of a million pounds from MPs who claimed the public cash through their official expenses.

The ERG, according to its current chair, MP Suella Fernandes, exists to ensure that Brexit will not be rendered “meaningless”. The group, regarded as an 80-strong private Tory caucus, wants Britain out of the EU single market and customs union. Its previous head, Steve Baker, now a minister in the Department for Exiting the European Union, said his group aimed to end EU’s “despotism” and give Britain back its borders.

Forty MPs have paid money to the ERG and claimed it back as ‘research’ over the period covering the David Cameron and Theresa May governments. These include current ministers and members of May’s cabinet.

But the true number could be higher. Other MPs regarded as ERG members have claimed expenses for “research services” on European issues without specifying the ERG.

Source: Revealed: The Tory MPs using taxpayers’ cash to fund a secretive hard-Brexit group | openDemocracy


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