Tag Archives: Commons

Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle tries to justify refusal to change rules on lying. Fails

Hoyle in action: he was probably shouting at someone who dared suggest a government minister was telling a porkie.

What a shame that the House of Commons now has Lindsay Hoyle as its Speaker; a man who would rather turn a blind eye to corruption than tackle it.

If he is really more interested in his own expected peerage than in running a fair and honest chamber – as some have suggested – then he’s part of the problem.

It seems he has appeared on the BBC’s Westminster Hour, trying to justify his refusal to alter Commons rules to make lying to the House more difficult:

“What are we going to do? Are we going to let it deteriorate to that level so every time someone speaks you’re a liar? That’s not a good way of debate, that is not the art of debate. I think it’s about proving who’s right and who’s wrong, not taking a simplistic view and saying, ‘well that’s very easy, you’re lying’. There are ways of exposing that, let’s use the right ways. If you feel that somebody has misled inadvertently, let’s get it on the record… and if you need to hold people to account, do it through a substantive motion. And if you give real answers, you won’t have that problem.”

Shall we go through it slowly?

“What are we going to do? Are we going to let it deteriorate to that level so every time someone speaks you’re a liar? That’s not a good way of debate, that is not the art of debate.”

Nobody has suggested this. It is disengenuous of Hoyle even to suggest it. Why did he not use an example that has happened, such as the moment when one of his deputies threw out Dawn Butler after she pointed out how Boris Johnson had lied to MPs – with examples?

He didn’t mention that because it would have undermined his argument.

” I think it’s about proving who’s right and who’s wrong, not taking a simplistic view and saying, ‘well that’s very easy, you’re lying’.”

Again, nobody has done this. They have simply called for an archaic rule, saying they cannot counter lies immediately, to be removed for the good of the reputation of the House of Commons. Dawn Butler put up her proof and was thrown out, remember.

“If you feel that somebody has misled inadvertently, let’s get it on the record… and if you need to hold people to account, do it through a substantive motion.”

The problem is not with ministers misleading “inadvertently” – it is with outright lies, as Hoyle knows very well. And the problem with making a substantive motion about another MP’s lies is that Hoyle chooses which matters are debated and will pass over a motion about lying, every time.

Won’t he?

It’s time for a vote of “no confidence” in the Speaker of the House of Commons.

The good news is that there is a petition calling on MPs to legislate against lying in Parliament, as discussed on This Site here.

It has reached the 100,000-signature threshold to be considered for debate – and may therefore be considered to be exactly the kind of “substantive motion” that Hoyle said he wanted to see.

And has he approved it for debate? No.

A response to the petition states: “The Government does not intend to introduce legislation of this nature,” and concludes: “The House has determined that how Members conduct themselves in the Chamber, including their adherence to the principles of public life, is a matter for the Speaker, and Parliament is responsible for its own procedures.”

Corrupt.

ADDITIONAL: This writer has submitted a complaint to the BBC about the way it has reported this matter on its website:

“Report was not fair/accurate

“In your article, Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle: I’ve received death threats, you reported: “Labour MP Dawn Butler was suspended from the Commons in July for claiming Prime Minister Boris Johnson had “lied to the House and the country over and over again” and refusing to withdraw her accusation. “Using such language was “not a good way of debate”, Sir Lindsay said, adding: “That is not the art of debate – I think it’s about proving who’s right and who’s wrong, not taking a simplistic view and saying, ‘Well, that’s very easy. You’re lying.'”” This was not what happened on the day, as your own BBC Politics Twitter account shows here: https://twitter.com/BBCPolitics/status/1418230091201622024 Ms Butler did not simply say Boris Johnson had lied – she provided examples of his falsehoods. In so doing, she met Lindsay Hoyle’s requirement by proving that Mr Johnson had done wrong. Your article is therefore not properly balanced and is unfair to Ms Butler. Please publish a further article, setting this error right. It will not be enough to amend the article you have already published, which should be removed, as people are unlikely to re-read it, having read it already.”

It won’t do any good because the BBC likes to whitewash itself, especially when it is found to have been biased in favour of political corruption.

But it puts the Corporation’s pro-Tory reporters on notice that they’re being watched.

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Hancock’s excuse for care home deaths changes with the wind – but doesn’t change the fact that HE LIED TO US

Smug little liar: when Matt Hancock opens his mouth to make a claim, it will probably be wrong – or irrelevant.

It should have been easy to demonstrate that Matt Hancock has been lying to Parliament.

This Site provided a handy guide for members of the Commons Science and Health committees, who questioned the Death Health Secretary for four and a half hours on Thursday (June 10).

But instead of catching him out over his old lies, committee members managed to let him tell some new ones.

And they don’t even excuse him from the accusation he faces: causing the deaths of more than 40,000 care home residents by failing to provide adequate protection against Covid-19 – and lying about it.

We know he told us on May 15 last year, “Right from the start we’ve tried to throw a protective ring around our care homes. We set out our first advice in February… we’ve made sure care homes have the resources they need”.

Would this be the advice from Public Health England that “There is currently no transmission of Covid-19 in the community. It is therefore very unlikely that anyone receiving care in a care home … will become infected”?

If so, then it is clearly that his “protective ring” claim was false. Clearly, one of the resources necessary to ensure that care homes are protected from Covid-19 is the testing of people going into those homes, to ensure they don’t have it. This testing was not carried out.

Nor were homes provided with equipment to protect care home residents, in case their neighbours returning from hospital might have the virus – or with advice on how to achieve such protection.

We know that government policy was to provide no protection at all.

This policy did not change, even though Covid-19 deaths were registered at care homes from March 2. So the Tories allowed those deaths – and the infections causing them – to go uncontrolled for 10 days (March 12 is when we understand the advice was changed) before taking any action at all.

Covid-19 testing did not begin in those homes until July last year, by which time more than 29,000 people had died there. At least a further 11,000 people died after testing began, bringing the total to more than 40,000.

Hancock told the BBC’s Andrew Marr that [bolding mine] “we brought in the policy of wanting to test everybody who went into a care home as soon as we had those tests available”.

That is not what he told us last May. He lied.

At the Science/Health committee hearing, he said the government had not changed its advice on routinely testing hospital patients before they were discharged into care homes did not change until April – because it was following scientific advice that the virus was unlikely to spread asymptomatically.

That does not make his “protective ring” claim any less of a lie. It doesn’t matter what the scientific advice was – he had claimed the government had been protecting care home residents since February when it hadn’t.

None of his witterings about the scientific advice changes this fact.

Here’s another howler:

Defending the government’s initial advice that all hospital patients did not need to be repeatedly tested before being sent to care homes, he said ministers had “followed the clinical advice” at all times.

Again, this does not excuse him from lying. He said the government had put a “protective ring” around care homes when in fact it had left them completely unprotected.

Why did the MPs grilling (if that’s the word) Hancock not point out that nothing he had said changed the fact that he had lied?

Were they protecting him, for reasons unknown to us? If so, that’s dereliction of duty.

Were they dazzled by the new set of excuses he put up to replace the debunked previous batch?

Or are they simply as stupid as Hancock himself?

He clearly thinks they are, otherwise he would have at least come up with lies that were more convincing.

If any other MP is reading this (I know many of you do), can you please point out that Hancock’s lie is obvious and proven – and that we, the people, want him to face serious and lasting consequences?

Source: Covid: Matt Hancock defends timing of first lockdown – BBC News

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MPs demand inquiry into Boris Johnson’s ‘failure to be honest’

Opposition parties in the House of Commons are demanding that Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle allow a vote on an inquiry into Boris Johnson’s “consistent failure to be honest” in statements to MPs.

They have no chance of actually securing such an inquiry – the huge Tory(/fascist) majority in Parliament will kill it – but the debate will be hugely embarrassing to a prime minister who lies habitually.

And of course, deliberately lying at the Dispatch Box is Contempt of Parliament – for which the highest penalty is expulsion.

It occurs to This Writer that a viral video by Peter Stefanovic may have something to do with this move, having been viewed more than 11.5 million times.

Here it is – let’s give it a few more:

The letter was organised by the Green MP Caroline Lucas and it has been signed by five other parliamentary party leaders: Ian Blackford (Scottish National party), Sir Ed Davey (Liberal Democrats), Liz Saville Roberts (Plaid Cymru), Colum Eastwood (SDLP) and Stephen Farry (Alliance).

One name is significant for being missing from the list:

The Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, was invited to sign the letter, but declined. A party source said Labour did not normally sign up to initiatives launched by other parties.

This is typical Starmerism. He won’t sign up to any good Opposition ideas unless he can claim they come from him – although he has been quite happy to support Johnson’s government policies, no matter how daft.

Perhaps it’s time for genuine Opposition parties to resurrect an old US presidential campaign slogan from 1964, and say: We want a choice, not an echo.

As for Johnson, I can only echo the sentiment voiced by Billy Connolly, above. The Big Yin has always been able to spot a wrong ‘un.

Of course, it means most of the Tories who follow Johnson know exactly what he is and don’t care. Otherwise, they would be admitting they need psychiatric treatment and should not be in their current jobs…

(… although let’s be honest, they probably consider being an MP their second or third job, behind representing whichever private firm has them lobbying the government on its behalf!)

To Billy’s pronouncement, let’s add another piece of advice, for those whose sense of humour encompasses this kind of wit:

Source: Parties call for inquiry into Boris Johnson’s ‘failure to be honest’ | Politics | The Guardian

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‘Scum’ Tories use indignation over insult to hide their refusal to support people in Covid-related hardship

If the cap fits: Christopher Clarkson breaks off whizzing through a speech vilifying Labour to wonder why Labour MPs are vilifying him.

What a lot of fuss over such a little word!

Admittedly, I wouldn’t like it if someone called me “scum” while I was making a speech.

But let’s consider the context.

The Labour Party was using its Opposition Day to discuss the criteria under which the government provides funding to jobs and businesses facing its new restrictions, and to demand that the Tories honour their claim that they will ensure workers receive at least 80 per cent of their previous incomes while on the Job Support Scheme extension and facing hardship.

Here’s what prize Tory Christopher Clarkson had to say about it:

You can see why Angela Rayner said what she did, I’m sure!

Clarkson’s complaint cut no ice with members of the public, for whom Rayner’s contribution to the debate had made up for six months of near-silence as Keir Starmer’s sidekick. Here’s part of her speech:

Responses so far show the public overwhelmingly on her side:

And they were quick to call out Clarkson’s complaint as a tactic, intended to distract from the thrust of the debate:

Last word goes to this commenter, who raises the issue of class:

“Spumae”, by the way, is the Latin for scum. Expect to hear it in the Commons – a lot – over the next few years.

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Tories have Commons Twitter account banned from tweeting vote results

He fought propagandists – but did he expect his own party to become the enemy? Churchill’s statue stares toward Parliament. If it was the man himself, it would probably turn its back in disgust.

Can you believe this? The Tories have contrived to have the House of Commons Twitter account stopped from tweeting vote results – because Johnson’s party said it was biased against them.

The House of Commons Twitter account has been banned from tweeting the results of votes after Tory MPs complained it was breaking impartiality rules when one tweet went viral.

During the passage of the trade bill, intended to pave the way for post-Brexit trade deals, the Commons Twitter account shared the outcomes of votes on amendments and new clauses: a 326-263 defeat for a clause relating “to parliamentary approval of trade agreements”, and approval without division for amendments about “sharing information and ministerial functions relating to trade”.

The descriptions were taken from the explanatory statement written by the MP who proposed the motion, and the tweet about new clause 17 was no different. That clause, the tweet said, was “intended to protect the NHS and publicly funded health and care services in other parts of the UK from any form of control from outside the UK”, explaining that it had been defeated 340 votes to 251.

The defeat allowed Labour to argue that Conservative MPs had voted against protecting the NHS from overseas control. The tweet itself was a key piece of evidence, which is why it gained 5,000 likes and almost 17,500 retweets in less than 24 hours.

That drew the attention of Tory MPs, who were bombarded with questions from constituents about why they had voted against such protection. The day after, MPs from the party made a complaint to the clerk of the House, the politically neutral civil servant who oversees the work of the support staff, including the social media team.

They argued that the tweet was in breach of the Commons’ requirement for impartiality. By the end of the day, the Commons team had deleted it and posted an apology.

So it was perfectly permissible for the offending words to be published in the explanatory statement by the MP who proposed the motion; the Tories just didn’t want them to get to the public.

What does that tell us about the Conservative government?

That they don’t want us to have full information about what happens in Parliament?

That they think Parliamentary media should not provide information to the public?

That they want such media to offer pro-Tory propaganda instead?

Johnson and his cronies have really taken the Josef Goebbels method to heart.

But the act has been a huge turn-off to the public – including This Writer (but you’d expect that, I’m sure):

I would have thought the answer was obvious: a would-be fascist dictatorship. But Johnson’s Tories are even failures at that.

Source: Commons Twitter account banned from tweeting vote results | Politics | The Guardian

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Commons Speaker refuses bid to debate government diktats – but it may IMPROVE democracy

Speaking up: Lindsay Hoyle wasn’t quite this active in his speech, but his words were strong.

What was the point of Lindsay Hoyle’s intervention about Boris Johnson treating Parliament with contempt?

He spoke up to say the way the government has used secondary legislation – statutory instruments – to exercise power in the Covid-19 crisis has been “totally unsatisfactory”.

But then he said he’s blocking an amendment of the temporary provisions in the Coronavirus Act 2020 – that allows Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock to use those powers!

See for yourself:

He did say that he’ll be extremely sympathetic to motions that call for the government to send ministers to the Commons to defend undemocratic moves to restrict citizens’ freedoms in the future.

And it seems likely that Tory backbenchers will take advantage of this; all is not well between Downing Street and the Tory backbenches.

It raises a crucial question:

Could Tory rebels bring Johnson down – in the middle of a national health crisis – in the name of democracy?

Amazingly, because of Keir Starmer’s assurances of support, it seems the government is more likely to be defeated by members of its own party than by Her Majesty’s Opposition – and that’s an unhealthy position for a Labour leader.

The public will see that Starmer is not doing the job for which he was elected and will turn further against him.

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If this is how Tory MPs regard #socialdistancing they can’t expect us to do as they say

#ToryLawBreakers yet again: this time Tory MPs ignored social distancing to push to the front of the queue to vote – on a Bill that would break international law if passed.

Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised: as MPs voted to break international law, they also broke their own rules on social distancing.

How can they expect us to obey those laws – including the new “rule of six”, when they set such a bad example?

Here’s what happened, via the Enfield Independent:

Pass readers in the division lobbies used by MPs to record their votes stopped working.

They instead had to queue up, walk through the chamber and pause at the despatch box to announce their name and vote.

The problems emerged during a vote on the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill, with MPs asked to approve clause 46 – which is at the centre of a devolution row.

SNP health spokeswoman Dr Philippa Whitford [stated that] there was a “total failure” of social distancing in Parliament for the vote.

In a tweet, she said: “Now pass-readers aren’t working in either voting lobby so we see the Rees-Mogg conga in all its glory – with obvious crowding in members lobby & total failure of social distancing! Interesting that wearing of #Facecoverings limited to Welsh, NI & Scots MPs.”

Labour former minister Ben Bradshaw added: “More chaos in the Commons voting lobbies tonight as the card reading machines that replaced the previous perfectly good electronic voting system break down again & arrogant Tory MPs push to the front of the long queue completely ignoring social distancing rules.”

Were there no police on the Parliament estate, to arrest these lawbreakers?

If not, why not? There’s supposed to be a police presence there, just to protect our democratically-elected representatives from lunatics and terrorists.

There is a clear precedent here, though:

As Conservative MPs clearly do not accept the need for social distancing – or masks – in circumstances decided by their own whim, we don’t have to either.

Clearly everybody in the real world that isn’t Westminster Never-Neverland needs to use their judgement, but if we get challenged on apparent law-breaking we can simply invoke the Clause 46 precedent.

You never know – it might become as popular as the Cummings excuse that came before it.

Source: Total failure of social distancing during House of Commons vote, claims MP | Enfield Independent

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Is this plan for daily Covid testing of MPs simply to shore up support for Johnson?

Speaker: Lindsay Hoyle in action.

Why is the Commons Speaker, who is supposed to be neutral, suggesting a plan to re-fill Parliament with braying Boris Johnson loyalists?

Johnson made a fool of himself at Prime Minister’s Questions last week when his pre-scripted attack on Keir Starmer about a spurious connection with terrorism exposed him to ridicule.

Some commentators said Johnson was finding it hard to stand up to Starmer without the support of hundreds of Tory backbenchers behind him, egging him on.

So now Lindsay Hoyle has proposed a plan to pack the screaming mob back in:

MPs could be tested daily for coronavirus to allow them to safely fill the chamber of the House of Commons, the Speaker has suggested.

Sir Lindsay Hoyle told Times Radio he had spoken to the NHS and government about getting “a quick turnaround of tests” to allow more MPs in.

Of course, some of us have been asking why MPs have been saying it is safe for our children to be packed back into schools when they are still working from home because they fear catching the virus so much.

It is possible that a return to full attendance at the House of Commons will encourage some of them to claim that it was a silly criticism.

If so, we’ll have to remind them that the situation isn’t the same – because I don’t see the government authorising daily testing of every school attendee. Do you?

Source: Coronavirus: Test MPs for Covid-19 every day, says Speaker – BBC News

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Police refuse to investigate House of Commons racist who targeted sports commentator

Dan O’Hagan: he was targeted with a racist email, sent from the House of Commons.

It seems racists in the House of Commons know they are above the law and are happy to rub the fact in our faces.

Otherwise, you might expect racists in high places to keep their prejudice to themselves at the moment. Clearly that is not the case on the Westminster estate.

Here’s sports commentator Dan O’Hagan, who has worked for the BBC, Eurosport and ESPN:

“You cannot be allowed to belittle, mock and intimidate working class white men, whilst peddling your bourgeoisie [sic], privileged leftism in your highly paid career.

“Football is not for white elites like you. It belongs to working class men of all colours.” [Spot the sexism that’s slipped in there too!]

“Send me your address now and we can discuss this further in person.”

It was signed “David” – although This Writer has a doubt about whether that’s the person’s real name.

What had Mr O’Hagan said to provoke this malicious communication (of which more shortly)? See for yourself:

Information that came with the email showed that it was sent from the House of Commons, hence Mr O’Hagan’s request for the authorities there to locate the person responsible. Here’s the response:

He also contacted the police…

But – how normal – they recoiled from investigating anybody at the House of Commons:

It says – as This Writer pointed out very recently – that people working in our corridors of power are above the laws they make.

Now take a look at the image on the right, in the tweet directly above. Here it is in full:

It is illegal in England and Wales to “send or deliver letters or other articles for the purpose of causing distress or anxiety”, and this also applies to electronic communications.

That’s unless you work in the House of Commons – as a high-ranking politician or someone working for them, of course.

Even Mr O’Hagan has admitted he doubts the identity of the culprit will ever be revealed:

Sadly I’m sure we won’t get a name. The last few months judging the Government record, I have no faith of anything coming from this.

“It might get put on to the most junior person they can blame for it, that’s what might happen. But if there is a name, a big name, I doubt they will admit this I’m afraid.”

The same article quotes the police:

“Officers received a report yesterday (Tuesday 9 June) after a man in his 40s had allegedly received a threatening email.

“Enquiries into the incident found that no criminal offences had been committed and the investigation has therefore been closed.

Apparently they’ve never heard of the Malicious Communications Act, then. 

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MP falls ill in Commons, days after lockdown eased. What if it’s Covid-19?

The Conservative Business Secretary, Alok Sharma, has fallen ill after contributing to debates in the House of Commons – with symptoms that resemble Covid-19.

His illness occurs just days after MPs were forced to return to the House of Commons rather than participate in online debates, in a plan devised by Leader of the House Jacob Rees-Mogg, who claimed that online voting slowed debates unduly. Apparently queuing 2km around the Parliamentary precincts and down the road to vote causes no delay at all.

Nobody can say that Sharma caught his illness – whatever it is – in Parliament. The question now is, how many people will he have infected by attending?

If it is Covid-19, then we won’t see the first infections from contact with Sharma for another fortnight at least.

The reaction on Twitter has been uniformly condemning:

https://twitter.com/ToryFibs/status/1268294820876955648

This is a very good point. We have a high-profile case here, that we can use to model the effect in schools if a pupil, parent or teacher turns up with the virus. Of course, if they do, then by the time anybody finds out it will be too late – so all we can do is try to quantify the damage.

There is an upside (there’s always an upside):

What a great opportunity to get the beleaguered “Track and Trace” programme back on track – showing how it works by using MPs as guinea pigs!

It will necessitate Jacob Rees-Mogg falling on his proverbial sword – with a full apology for endangering everybody. Some of us can’t wait for that.

And what about this?

Will Rees-Mogg – and Boris Johnson – revert to locking down MPs?

Will they have the choice, if many are infected?

Or will they insist on keeping it open, endangering not only their colleagues but our democracy?

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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