Tag Archives: Commons

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?

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New Parliament voting system is a farce that turns MPs into targets

Jacob Rees-Mogg: the image makes him look serious but don’t be fooled – he’s an idiot.

What if a terrorist gets among MPs while they’re queuing to vote, in their “conga line” as the SNP describes it, all spaced two metres apart, two buildings down the road from the Palace of Westminster?

I know it’s not entirely likely, what with the Covid-19 lockdown and all, but anybody could go among them and cause chaos. Security is impossible, thanks to Jacob Rees-Mogg and his silly attempt to cling on to tradition.

Just take a look at this video by Labour’s Lloyd Russell-Moyles:

Anybody could get in amongst them – as indeed they appear to do in the clip.

Not only that, but the plan deliberately excludes MPs who must continue to “shield” from Covid-19 because they have medical conditions which demand that they do so:

The article states: “When returning from recess, MPs will have to vote on the proposal which could see them forming kilometre-long ‘conga-line’ queues in order to obey social distancing rules – despite the Lords planning a move online.

“Robert Halfon is among the senior Tories who say the move will turn individuals who, like him, are shielding and those who are ill, self-isolating or based far away from Westminster into ‘parliamentary eunuchs’.

“He is backing moves to allow digital voting to resume in amendments to Mr Rees-Mogg’s motion led by Conservative former Cabinet minister Karen Bradley.”

Rees-Mogg has reluctantly announced plans to offer shielding MPs a “limited” role in Commons proceedings.

It isn’t good enough.

Our MPs were elected to play a full role in Parliamentary proceedings and if the Leader of the House of Commons tries to limit it then he is acting in an unconstitutional way and should be challenged, in court if necessary.

If such a challenge were to win, then any decisions made under the Rees-Mogg system would have o be voided.

So it would be better all around if no decision were taken until all challenges have concluded.

And that, Mr Rees-Mogg, would slow down Parliament more than digital sessions ever did.

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MPs must physically attend Parliament again from June 2. Let’s see how THAT works for them…

Jacob Rees-Mogg: he wants a return to the way Parliament was conducted long ago and he doesn’t care if MPs die as a result.

MPs have voted to end the “virtual” Parliamentary proceedings they have been enjoying since the lockdown started.

From June 2, they will have to attend in order to take part in debates – even though the limit of 50 people in the Commons chamber at any time will remain.

How’s that going to work, then?

Jacob Rees-Mogg, laughably the current Leader of the House, reckons the change will restore sufficient scrutiny of policy matters, but it is difficult to understand his reasoning.

With fewer people allowed in the Chamber, there will be less opportunity for our representatives to have their voices heard.

Rees-Mogg whined that virtual proceedings slowed down debates to one-third of normal pace – but isn’t that better than excluding MPs from debates altogether?

And then there’s the question of whether the decision is effectively one to “euthanise” MPs:

Jacob Rees-Mogg has been told by a senior Conservative backbencher that an attempt to return to a “physical” parliament will in effect “euthanise” MPs who are sick, shielding and self-isolating.

Former minister Robert Halfon said the proposals would discriminate and threaten the lives of some MPs.

“Is it really morally just to say in effect to MPs, because you are not Tarzan-like and able to swing through the chamber, beating your chest shouting to your constituents: ‘Look, I am here!’ that you are effectively euthanised from the Commons?

“MPs who are disrupted by this awful pandemic are not just old horses to be sent to the knackers’ yard,” he said.

Some of you may be confused by Mr Halfon’s speech.

It seems he was not suggesting that MPs would catch the coronavirus and die in what some members of the public might consider a mercy-killing (as far as the UK’s citizens are concerned).

Instead, it seems he was suggesting that MPs would be excluded from proceedings, meaning they might as well be dead as far as the good of their constituents is concerned. It’s opaque.

More to the point, perhaps is a letter signed by 35 MPs, arguing that a return to a “physical” parliament could mean that those in high-risk categories including BAME MPs, older MPs or those who are pregnant will be disproportionately restricted.

One very dangerous aspect will be the return of physical voting, in which MPs will be packed into small spaces as they file through the “aye” or “no” lobby. That creates a threat of contracting Covid-19, that could be fatal for some.

But Rees-Mogg was never likely to listen to arguments against it. That is the traditional way in which MPs vote and, as the “Member for the 18th Century”, his emotional tie to it far outweighs any concern for the wellbeing of others.

ADDITIONAL: A reader has just reminded me that MPs were all given £10,000 to facilitate working from home. Are they going to give any of that money back? Ten big ones for just eight weeks’ lockdown seems exorbitantly excessive to This Writer!

Source: MPs told to return to Parliament by June 2 despite health concerns – ITV News

Tory MPs were happy for us to go back to work – but are they frit of returning to Parliament themselves?

House of Commons: here’s a scene that won’t be allowed while the coronavirus crisis continues. But Boris Johnson called for others to go back to work, ensuring that they would be packed like sardines into public transport whether he wanted it or not.

Little did This Writer know, when I reported that Jacob Rees-Mogg wanted MPs to go back to work, that he was going to insist on it.

It seems that, as Leader of the House of Commons, he is determined that MPs should set an example for others who are being asked to go back to their jobs by Boris Johnson:

It’s certainly true that  some MPs aren’t too keen:

Valerie Vaz, Labour’s shadow leader of the House of Commons, said she was “alarmed” by Mr Rees-Mogg’s announcement and asked why parliament should “contradict” the government’s own health advice by returning to “business as usual” in June.

The SNP’s Tommy Sheppard said it was a “fantasy” to believe that physical sittings could resume in June without special procedures being in place.

He asked what should happen to MPs considered among those most vulnerable to coronavirus, or Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish MPs, whose devolved governments have not yet eased any lockdown measures.

Rees-Mogg, of course, instantly seized on this as a way to run down the opposition:

He said: “How can we say to our schoolchildren, ‘you’re safe going back’, some of them, but that we’re not, that we’re going to hide away whilst schoolchildren are going back – is that the right message to give to our constituents?”

Yes!

MPs have every right to be afraid of returning to Parliament, if they can’t be assured that social distancing rules will be maintained, or that they won’t be exposed to a risk of catching the coronavirus from other people working on the Parliamentary estate.

And of course those living in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have those countries’ “no movement” rules to consider; they aren’t actually allowed out to attend Parliament.

Clive Lewis is right about the motivation for Rees-Mogg’s decision:

Yes – but will it trump Tory self-interest?

We’ll find out when we see how many of them turn up after the Whitsun break.

It’s a “win-win” scenario for everybody who isn’t a Tory, of course.

If they don’t turn up, they’re cowards who are afraid to support their own government’s policy; if they do, they’ll probably catch Covid-19 and spend some time in hospital.

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Rees Mogg wants MPs back in Parliament as ‘example’. That’s exactly what they’ll be if they go…

Jacob Rees-Mogg: he probably didn’t intend his words to be the way I’ve interpreted them.

Jacob Rees-Mogg reckons MPs should return to Westminster and vote in person – as an example to all those being urged back to work in spite of the coronavirus.

Good for him!

He’s a complete an utter dunderhead.

Social distancing rules mean there can only be about 50 MPs in the Commons chamber at any time, and many have been using videoconferencing to take part in debates from home.

There is no way anybody should be cramped together like sardines – which is the usual situation during the busier Commons votes – while Covid-19 remains a threat to life.

But in his speech on Sunday, Boris Johnson said he hoped to reopen schools (in England) at the beginning of June, suggesting that reception classes would be among the first to come back.

The problem with that is obvious – it will be impossible to get very young children to understand the need to stay at least two metres away from each other.

So some have responded by saying the following:

So: good for Jacob Rees-Mogg!

He has laid the gauntlet down.

If MPs aren’t returning to Parliament, there’s no reason for children to return to our schools.

Source: Coronavirus: Rees-Mogg wants MPs back to ‘set example’ – BBC News

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Good news: plan to gerrymander constituency borders for Tories is scrapped

Boris Johnson’s government has given up a plan to cut the number of MPs in the House of Commons.

The Tories have been trying to reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600 since David Cameron slithered into Downing Street in 2010.

The aim was to change constituency borders in order to deliver Conservative-voting majorities to most UK Parliamentary seats for the foreseeable future.

That plan was hatched when the Conservatives were unable to achieve a majority by themselves; Cameron’s first ministry was a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats, headed by Nick Clegg (who?).

But now, with the help of the Brexit-related division Cameron created in his second ministry, Boris Johnson has a huge majority of Tory MPs supporting him.

Ironically, he is saying the Brexit-related workload has pushed constituency reorganisation off the agenda.

Notice that the threat is still there – the Tories are still planning to create constituencies with near-equal numbers of voters, and you can bet they’ll rig it so the majority of voters in the majority of constituencies are theirs.

Like the SNP’s David Linden, This Site welcomes the government’s “screeching U-turn”.

And I agree with Darren Hughes of the Electoral Reform Society who said: “The proposals always seemed more like an executive power grab than a genuine move to improve the function of the Commons, so this is a small but welcome victory for backbenchers and voters.”

Source: Plan to cut the number of MPs axed over ‘Brexit workload’ – BBC News

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What was wrong with Michael Gove in Parliament last week?

Michael Gove: He looked a lot less active – or indeed, awake – in the Commons chamber last week.

Remember this?

Now we can enjoy this, too:

As Mike Cockerton stated on Twitter: “Thank goodness Michael Gove told us how much he bitterly regretted taking cocaine, otherwise we could have very easily misconstrued this.”

And we wouldn’t want that to happen, would we?

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.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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