Tag Archives: Brandon Lewis

More Question Time bias as Fiona Bruce pats Brandon Lewis: ‘I’m just teasing you’

Cute: But would she show such consideration to Diane Abbott?

What the actual …?

If there was ever an example of BBC bias towards the Conservatives, it’s this:

Asked a difficult question by a BBC Question Time audience member, former Tory Party chairman Brandon Lewis struggled to answer.

So presenter/chair Fiona Bruce patted his arm and said, “I’m just teasing you.”

Where’s the impartiality in that?

Where’s the responsibility to hold those in power to account?

We have seen this on BBCQT before, and the Corporation might legitimately say it’s bias by the programme-maker Mentorn.

But then, the BBC gave Mentorn the contract to make it, so ultimate responsibility lies with Auntie. Doesn’t it?

There’s a full story on Skwawkbox: Video: Tory MP struggles with BBCQT question. Presenter pats his arm, “It’s ok, I’m teasing you” and moves on | The SKWAWKBOX

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Ministers line their pockets as landlords while claiming public money to pay their own rent

Eight of Boris Johnson’s cabinet ministers are leeching money from the public to pay their own rent while acting as landlords themselves, renting out properties to others.

Last year they claimed a total of £145,838 back from taxpayers for ­properties they live in while in London.

While there is nothing illegal in what these people are doing, let us remember that they belong to a party that has consistently filibustered attempts to reform the private accommodation rental sector.

So, for example, Tories talked out a private members’ bill to prevent so-called “revenge” evictions (and the MPs doing the talking were themselves landlords).

And the same landlords also blocked plans to force landlords to ensure their properties are fit for human habitation.

So the following people are living it up, having co-operated in forcing tenants across the country to put up with substandard living conditions or be evicted.

Here’s the list:

Defence secretary Ben Wallace claimed £27,550 for rent in 2018/19 but lets out a flat in south-west London.

Minister without portfolio and Tory Party chairman James Cleverly billed taxpayers £14,400 while letting out a house in Lewisham, south-east London – just seven miles from Westminster.

Northern Powerhouse minister Jake Berry claimed £13,050 for rent while getting income from three houses in Anglesey.

Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns claimed £18,900 for rent but let a ­property in Cardiff to tenants.

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack claimed £11,310 while earning income from two cottages in his Dumfries and Galloway constituency.

Security Minister Brandon Lewis charged £21,795 while renting out his home in Essex.

Attorney General Geoffrey Cox charged £22,680 while letting a property in London and farmland in west Devon.

And Chief Whip Mark Spencer claimed £16,153 for hotels while pocketing rent on a farm.

On top of their £79,468 MPs’ salaries, ministers receive at least £31,680 for extra responsibilities.

Source: Eight ministers in Boris Johnson’s cabinet lining their pockets as landlords – Mirror Online

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Tories reinstate suspended councillors – confirming that the Conservative Party is institutionally Islamophobic

Unacceptable: Cllr Andrew Bowles was readmitted to the party after a 13-day suspension for retweeting a post describing the far-right leader Tommy Robinson as a patriot, according to The Guardian.

Typical Tories:

More than a dozen Conservative councillors who were suspended over posting Islamophobic or racist content online – with some describing Saudis as “sand peasants” and sharing material comparing Asian people to dogs – have had their membership quietly reinstated, a Guardian investigation has found.

The chairman of the Conservative Muslim Forum, Mohammed Amin, called on the party to publish a set of formal disciplinary processes after the Guardian found 15 examples of politicians who posted content that was deemed objectionable.

The findings come amid growing concerns over the Conservative party’s attitude to reports of Islamophobia in a febrile wider climate, with the number of hate crimes against Muslims reported to have risen by 593% in the week after the attack on two New Zealand mosques.

The official Tory line, as published in The Guardian, appears to be that the members concerned had been punished appropriately.

Some disagree:

https://twitter.com/Ollie4TheMany/status/1109908333362900993

“Sand peasants”? “Dogs”? There are Conservative Party members who are Muslims. No wonder Baroness Warsi has been campaigning to highlight the institutional Islamophobia of her own party for so long.

Here she is, noting the latest development – along with Tom London, asking a pertinent question of our public service broadcaster, the BBC (Ofcom please note):

(Mind you, the Tories have a strategy to deal with Baroness Warsi – it is to attack her integrity. Consider Tim Montgomerie’s tweet – and Aleesha’s response:

Clearly, it is a strategy that has failed; we’ve all seen through it.)

David Schneider tweeted: “This is why we’ll take no lectures on antisemitism from the party of the hostile environment, Windrush scandal, Go Home vans, of cosying up to Orban and Zac Goldsmith’s mayoral campaign, a party that turns a blind eye to islamophobia.”

Rachel Swindon asked the Tory chairman: “Sorry to disturb your Chequers gathering – but did you think this will just get buried under your ongoing Brexit crisis?”

She added: “It is beyond any reasonable doubt is a monstrous failure of a politician. His arrogance and ignorance is being exposed for all to see. He has no control of this crisis.”

And Tom Clark, author of Another Angry Voice, asserted: “Tory disciplinary procedures for racism: Make a huge show of suspending their racists. Brag about how great their disciplinary procedures are. Quietly let them all back in after the fuss dies down. Example after example in this article.”

Quite right – because this is typical Tory behaviour.

They think rules are only relevant to other people. If they get caught breaking them, they’ll make a show of contrition, wait a while, then carry on as if nothing has happened.

Now they’ve been caught doing just that, and they have nothing to say. All they can do is claim that those they sneaked back into the party were justified in coming back.

And nobody believes them.

The situation is as Hasan Patel describes it:

“I am disgusted that the Tory party has quietly reinstated 15 councillors who were suspended for Islamophobia. They are an institutionally racist party that also enacts racist government policies like the Windrush scandal.


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‘Dick pic’ row exposes Tory hypocrisy about permissible behaviour

Really, Brandon Lewis – that big? The Conservative Party chairman discusses the size of… his own hypocrisy. He’s underestimating.

Conservative Party chairman Brandon Lewis would be regretting he spoke up about this – if he had the slightest shred of self-awareness.

Mr Lewis – misnamed “The voice of women in politics” by his party – seems to think that it is inappropriate for the Labour Party to put forward Sally Keeble as a candidate for election because, it seems, she pressed the “like” button for a ‘dick pic’ on Twitter – an image of male genitalia.

No – the “optics” (as the way a topic looks has been described by pretentious political commentators lately) are terrible. Labour followers have been having fun with this all day. Some have suggested possibilities regarding the picture that was the subject of Ms Keeble’s arousal…

… although the above seems unlikely. Apologies to those of a weak constitution who are shocked at having to see this particular example of one, so many years after the person concerned left public life.

Others made more pointed remarks – about the behaviour of Conservative representatives:

And Ash hasn’t even scratched the surface. What about the mountain of porn that was found on a computer in Damian Green’s office, back in 2008? He rose to a Cabinet position as Work and Pensions Secretary before that particular issue brought him down (it was really repulsive porn).

And what about the infamous “sex spreadsheet” listing 36 Conservative MPs whose alleged sexual indiscretions would make liking a “dick pic” shrink to insignificance?

That good, eh? That reminds me – I posted my own two-penn’orth on this subject: “Will there be a trend of people liking dick pics in protest at this? And will those protestors find themselves victimised for it by a future Brandon Lewis?”

Maybe not.

Maybe by then, Conservative Party leaders will have learned to have a proper sense of proportion.


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MP delays childbirth to vote on Brexit – sparking row over Tory untrustworthiness. Here’s the reason

Tulip Siddiq: Tory treachery is forcing her to take dedication to democracy to a rarely-seen degree.

Remember when Tory Party chairman Brandon Lewis broke a “pairing agreement” with a Liberal Democrat who was on maternity leave so his government could win a Brexit vote? Tulip Siddiq does.

Pairing is a longstanding convention in the House of Commons, where the whips of the government and an opposition party agree to allow MPs from one side to miss a vote because of personal reasons or official business. The other party agrees to hold back one of their MPs from voting so the two absences cancel each other out.

But it seems Conservative chief whip Julian Smith has been trying to get his party’s MPs to betray that convention. He was successful in getting Mr Lewis to vote on Brexit legislation when he had said he would absent himself to accommodate the fact that Jo Swinson was having a baby.

Remember?

Tulip Siddiq does.

Advised by doctors to have her second child by caesarean section today (January 15), she has opted to push the procedure back two days because she does not trust Theresa May’s government to act honourably.

Who can blame her for that?

Of course the decision has sparked a row, with other Labour MPs saying a proxy voting system should be introduced, making the now-discredited “pairing” convention unnecessary:

For members of the public, it seems to have become a matter of honour that every MP should turn up and vote.

https://twitter.com/LeeHow14/status/1084914541811642368

Here’s my preferred reason for that democratic fervour:

One thing is sure, no matter what the outcome of the vote (and I think we all know what it is going to be):

The Conservative Party will go into it in disgrace, and can only expect to come out of it in worse condition.

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Tories could be fined 20 million Euros for conference app data breach

Tory despair: This image was originally used to show Tory Brexiters haven’t got a clue. It works equally well to describe their reaction to the app calamity.

Reactions to the Conservative conference app that allows users access to every attendee’s contact details have been appearing online.

As you can imagine, they make uncomfortable reading for Tories.

For instance:

It seems there is no way out of this one. The data breach has been identified and it has been proven that the information is available to anyone.

So what are we to make of the following announcement by Tory chairman Brandon Lewis?

Fixing the barn door after the horse has bolted?

It bodes ill for Mr Lewis, who had a lot riding on this year’s Tory conference, according to the Evening Standard:

Angela Rayner hits the right note here:

That’s extremely relevant when you consider the app malfunction has been…

This turned out to be a popular discussion point:

https://twitter.com/GuitarMoog/status/1046148490114584582

And the conference hasn’t even started yet…

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Want to know what Brandon Lewis’s privatised fire service will look like? It’ll look like this

<RING RING!> <RING RING!> <RING RING!>

<click>

“Nine-nine-nine emergency; which service do you require?”

“Fire service, please.”

“Thank you! Your fire service today will be provided by G5S/CrApiTOS. Putting you through…”

<click>

“Hi! Your fire and rescue services today are sponsored by U-None Insurance – when U need a payout from us, U get None!”

“At last! I need you to come to -”

“One moment, caller! How will you be paying for today’s service? We take Visa, Mastercard, Maestro, PayPal, Bitcoin or blood.”

“Huh?”

“We take-”

“Forget it. It’s too late now. The fire is everywhere. There’s no way out for me, even if you could get here in time.”

“Okay. We’ll bill your heirs for this call.”

That’s the Conservative privatised fire and rescue service – if it is ever allowed to happen.

They’ll make you pay, or they’ll make you pay with your life. Is your credit good enough?

Don’t let it happen.

All 46 fire and rescue services in England could be sold off to private firms under secret Government plans.

Local government minister Brandon Lewis calls for new laws that “would enable fire and rescue authorities in England to contract out their full range of services to a suitable provider” in a letter obtained by the Mirror.

He continues: “I appreciate that the proposals are not without controversy; however these changes will help remove barriers and to increase choices that fire and rescue authorities have to contract out their services.”

Source: Privatised fire and rescue services: Secret Government plans to sell off 46 fire and rescue services revealed – Mirror Online

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Tory chief whip and chair should both resign after breaking ‘pairing’ arrangement to win crunch vote

Tory chief whip Julian Smith, who demanded that Brandon Lewis break a ‘pairing’ agreement, and Jo Swinson, whose agreement was broken.

This is a betrayal of democracy.

Pairing is a longstanding convention in the House of Commons, where the whips of the government and an opposition party agree to allow MPs from one side to miss a vote because of personal reasons or official business. The other party agrees to hold back one of their MPs from voting so the two absences cancel each other out.

I was under the impression that such arrangements were treated as sacred; Parliamentary democracy is meaningless without them.

So I doubt the truth of the Tory statement that they have been broken 66 times in the current Parliament – 52 times by opposition parties. It’s easy to say but where is the proof?

Meanwhile we have clear evidence that the Tories have been abusing voting rules left, right and centre – for example, forcing Naz Shah to be wheeled through the lobby in a wheelchair while she was ill, because they refused to allow her vote to be counted otherwise.

The incident demonstrates the contempt Conservatives have for democracy.

They will go to any lengths to push their policies through, and if it means betraying the principle on which the Mother of Parliaments is built, that means nothing to them.

The Conservatives have been forced to admit that their chief whip asked MPs to breach Commons voting conventions in knife-edge Brexit votes on Tuesday, as opposition parties demanded he quit and queried the accuracy of the prime minister’s account of events.

Party sources conceded on Thursday night that Julian Smith had asked several Tory MPs to break pairing arrangements but most had refused to do so. The only one who did obey the instruction was paired to a Liberal Democrat MP who was on maternity leave.

They admitted that Smith had wanted some MPs to break “short-term” pairing arrangements, where a Tory is asked to skip a vote because an opposition member is unable to attend for good reason, but had made an error in asking the party chairman, Brandon Lewis, to vote because he was paired with Jo Swinson – who only recently gave birth.

Smith was under intense pressure to see off a Tory rebel amendment on Tuesday’s trade bill, which called for the UK to remain in a customs union with the EU if a free trade deal could not be negotiated quickly. The Conservatives narrowly won by six votes.

Labour called for Smith and Lewis to resign, and accused Theresa May of giving the Commons a misleading account of events when she said at prime minister’s questions on Wednesday that Lewis’s vote “was done in error”.

Source: Jo Swinson pairing row: Conservatives admit chief whip asked MPs to break arrangements | Politics | The Guardian

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Pendle councillor posted racism when she meant to delete it? Don’t dis-‘respect’ our intelligence, Brandon Lewis!

Brandon Lewis: If you can say whatever you like and expect to be believed in a post-truth world, he’s living evidence that we’re living in it.

If there’s one thing Conservatives do well, it’s standing their ground – especially in the face of undeniable evidence.

Consider Brandon Lewis, the Tory chairman who tore up his own ‘respect’ pledge  –

– by supporting Rosemary Carroll, newly re-elected councillor for Pendle, who compared people of Asian origin with dogs.

Mr Lewis told Sky‘s Sophy Ridge: “This was a situation that occurred last year, actually, in June last year. Her position has been from the very beginning that she accidentally posted something she wanted to delete. She was suspended by the party at that point – for three months.”

So she has been a Conservative councillor again for eight months? That is not what we have heard! And the claim about the post itself is handled very well by David Lammy:

That it is.


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She’s gone! Amber Rudd has resigned as Home Secretary

Bye bye: Amber Rudd has quit. Now we can focus on the real architect of the Conservative Party’s racist immigration policy – Theresa May.

Fantastic. Just as I was writing the following article, the BBC announced that Amber Rudd has resigned as Home Secretary.

The report states:

“Home Secretary Amber Rudd has resigned, Downing Street has said.

“Ms Rudd, who was due to make a statement in Parliament on Monday, was under growing pressure to quit over the Windrush scandal.

“She has faced criticism over the existence of Home Office removals targets and her knowledge of them.”

That’s everything the BBC – and therefore the Conservatives – had to say at the time of writing.

But I think I can add a little illumination, via the article on which I was working when the announcement came through.

Here’s what I would have said:

If Amber Rudd didn’t know about Home Office deportation targets, why did she send Theresa May a letter promising to increase “enforced removals by more than 10% over the next few years” – back in January 2017?

Come to that, if she didn’t know about the targets that she increased in January last year, why does Conservative chairman Brandon Lewis recall not only knowing about them but also discussing them with Ms Rudd while a minister in her department, between June 11, 2017 and January 8 this year?

And, if she didn’t know about the targets that she increased in January last year and discussed with Brandon Lewis between last June and January, why do Home Office sources say they have been regularly discussed at the highest levels, implying that Ms Rudd was included in those discussions?

I think she did know about the targets she increased in January last year, discussed with Brandon Lewis between June and January this year, and regularly discussed with Home Office officials at the highest levels. Call it intuition.

The worst part of it is that, after the Windrush Generation scandal, “Home Office sources have told The Guardian that Immigration Enforcement has been working all year to reach the target of 12,800 enforced returns in 2017-18.

“They have been bracing themselves to acknowledge to ministers that the agency has failed to do so. To meet the goal, it needed to deport 250 people a week, but it has only been able to remove about 225 a week.

“’At the Home Office we work in a target culture,’ said a source. ‘The civil service is completely target based. That’s all we do. It is shame-faced nonsense for Amber Rudd to say otherwise.’”

So Ms Rudd – and Mrs May, no doubt – are still deporting people in order to meet the racist removal target they mutually decided 15 months ago.

The next charter flight is PVT070 to Jamaica:

Amber Rudd has nowhere left to go.

She said there were no deportation targets. If she wrote to Theresa May about increasing them in January 2017 (and she definitely did – it’s her signature on the letter), that was a lie.

Then she said she did not know there were deportation targets. If she wrote to Theresa May about increasing them in January 2017 (and she definitely did – it’s her signature on the letter), that was a lie.

These cannot be interpreted as mistakes. Amber Rudd deliberately misled Parliament – and the nation.

It is a clear breach of s.1.3.c of the Ministerial Code with no ambiguity.

So Amber Rudd has no choice but to offer her resignation to Theresa May at her earliest opportunity.

And I was right, wasn’t I? She did.

But take a look at what I wrote.

The racism continues.

The deportations are progressing without pause.

The laws which support them have not been changed.

And Theresa May is still prime minister.

It is time to turn our attention to her.


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