Tag Archives: Hansard

Atkins falsehoods are quietly edited out of Hansard. Will she now be dragged to the Commons to apologise?

Speaker: Lindsay Hoyle in action. He looks fierce in this image – but will he be quite so fierce in defending the reputation of the House of Commons, that Victoria Atkins has so casually besmirched?

After This Site highlighted the fact that the official record of Parliamentary proceedings had been ‘doctored’ to misrepresent Home Office minister Victoria Atkins’s smear against Jeremy Corbyn, we learn today that it has been quietly edited again.

Now the record presents her words as she said them, as this tweet from Leftworks shows:

Sadly, this has been done without a word of apology or explanation from the authorities, and this is not acceptable.

Furthermore, Atkins’s speech means she knowingly lied to Parliament – she misrepresented Jeremy Corbyn as a racist, wrongly using the EHRC investigation of the Labour Party as supporting evidence.

Lying to Parliament is a serious offence, and it is also considered extremely poor behaviour to accuse another member of Parliament in the way Ms Atkins has.

She should be dragged back to the Commons to apologise for her speech and explain why she thought it was acceptable to lie that Jeremy Corbyn was a racist in the same debate where she defended Boris Johnson, the prime minister, against the same charge, despite the many known occasions where he has exhibited such behaviour.

I have written to Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle to that effect. Here’s the text of my letter:

I published an article on my website Vox Political yesterday, referring to surreptitious editing of Hansard to misrepresent the debate on the Urgent Question about racism in the social media, in the Commons on July 14.

In that debate, Home Office minister Victoria Atkins stated, “I remind the House of the findings of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission under his [Jeremy Corbyn’s] watch: Labour ‘unlawfully discriminated against, harassed or victimised people because they are Jewish’.”

This was edited in Hansard with three words added as follows (I have capitalised them for ease of identification): “I remind the House of the findings of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission under his [Jeremy Corbyn’s] watch, TO DETERMINE WHETHER Labour ‘unlawfully discriminated against, harassed or victimised people because they are Jewish’.”

In the debate, Ms Atkins went on to say, “I will listen to many people about tackling racism and I will work with pretty much anyone, but I will take a long spoon with which to sup with this particular member.”

The effect of her speech as a whole was to falsely present Mr Corbyn, a lifelong campaigner against racism and discrimination of any kind – as I am sure you, being a Labour Party member, are awre – as a racist.

The effect of the editing of Hansard was to corruptly mitigate that falsehood in the record, making it seem she said Labour was only investigated by the EHRC when in fact she presented Labour, and Corbyn, as having been found to have committed the offence stated.

I notice that Hansard has now been surreptitiously edited for a second time, with the offending words removed. I welcome this, although I believe the people of the UK deserve an explanation as to why the falsehoods appeared in the official record in the first place. In fact, I am writing to demand one. How many other falsehoods have been edited into Hansard, unnoticed?

Additionally, the new version makes Ms Atkins’s false claim against Mr Corbyn clear again. It is unacceptable and hypocritical for a UK government minister, who defended the prime minister against allegations of racism in the face of documented historical records of it, to also falsely accuse a former Labour leader of racism in the way she has.

In addition to my demand for an explanation of the editing-in of falsehoods into Hansard, I am therefore also writing to demand that Ms Atkins be brought back to the Commons to apologise for smearing another member of Parliament in the despicable way she has.

Let me make myself clear: I am not requesting these things – I am demanding them. Ms Atkins’s behaviour has seriously harmed the reputation of the House of Commons and if you fail to act, that institution will suffer further reputational harm.

I await your confirmation that you will comply with my wishes and look forward to seeing them carried out.

I don’t expect Hoyle to comply with my demands.

Like all tribes, MPs tend to stick together when they perceive they are being attacked by someone else.

But he knows that this offence has been seen, and he’ll have to record that he received a complaint about it.

Whatever happens next, I think we should all follow some of the prime minister’s advice, and be vigilant.

Let’s make it clear to our MPs that we’re sick of their antics. They were elected to represent us in a responsible way – not to engage in playground insults and lie about it afterwards.

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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Who doctored Hansard to protect this Tory racist? Did she do it herself?

Boris Johnson [Image: The Agitator].

Not only did a Tory minister make false claims to Parliament about racism in the Labour Party, but the official record of the debate – Hansard – was doctored to make it seem that she did not.

Worse still, Victoria Atkins had already added to her party’s tally of racism by telling a fellow MP who happens not to be white to know her place and not be uppity with her betters (although she didn’t use those exact words).

Her shocking abuse of her position has sparked a demand for the Commons Speaker, Lindsay Hoyle, to take action – not just to correct the record but to save the reputation of the House of Commons.

Here’s just one complaint to Hoyle, from Twitter, with follow-up messages to show the issue:

You can see that Leftworks is absolutely correct by watching this video (ironically posted by a fan of Atkins).

She did indeed quote the EHRC’s remit as though it were that organisation’s conclusion – it was not – and Hansard did indeed insert three words to falsify the record.

The effect of Atkins’s words at the time they were said, and in that place, would have been to negate Jeremy Corbyn’s argument – she was effectively saying that he was a racist and therefore had no right to accuse others.

Furthermore, of course, her claim about Luciana Berger needing police protection was false.

Right-thinking people are up in arms about this – and rightly so:

Ms Atkins, who was standing in for her racist boss, Home Secretary Priti Patel, was in the Commons to answer an urgent question on what the government would do to stop racist abuse on the social media.

Patel had been – rightly – accused of “stoking” such abuse by Tyrone Mings of the England football team, whose teammates Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho were victims of it.

When she was tackled on the racism of her own prime minister by rising Labour star Zarah Sultana, Atkins treated her as if she were a black housemaid in the pre-Civil War American south, warning her to “lower” her “tone”:

I make no apologies for adding in this tweet, which includes much of the same video material, for the sake of Seema Chandwani’s observation about the way Ms Sultana was treated:

Shall we have a think about racism by the prime minister – that’s Boris Johnson, by the way – and by Atkins’s boss Patel?

Let’s start with Priti Patel, who locked asylum-seekers from foreign countries into filthy concentration camps where overcrowding caused hundreds of them to catch Covid-19. How many of them died? We haven’t seen the figures.

She wants to bring in a new law making it an offence to help refugees into the UK – even by saving them from drowning in the sea off the UK’s coasts.

Another Bill passing through Parliament at the moment will target the GRT community – Gypsies, Romanies and Travellers – by assuming that they are committing crimes simply because they are Gypsies, Romanies or Travellers. This is classically-defined racism.

The Home Office at which Atkins is a minister destroyed the records showing that members of the Windrush Generation were UK citizens – and then pursued an aggressive policy to deny them services they had spent decades funding, like NHS healthcare and state benefits, while taking action to deport them. One may conclude from this that Atkins is a racist herself.

Need I go on?

As for Boris Johnson, Twitter has been full of commentary on his racism:

That’s right – he actually approached a black woman at a party, made monkey noises at her and tried to hand her a watermelon.

How about some more references to Johnson’s historical pronouncements?

This is now a summary of commentators’ attitude to Johnson:

And – thankfully – the fact of his racism is filtering through to the general public, despite the protection he gets from the Tory media:

Perhaps the last word on Johnson’s racism should be this, that relates it back to Atkins:

As for Hansard: it seems the record may be edited – possibly by MPs themselves – but not if the meaning of the words spoken is changed by those edits:

The changes to Atkins’s speech change the meaning of the words and are therefore not permissible.

As Commons Speaker – the MP who chairs sessions of the House of Commons – Lindsay Hoyle needs to act to save its reputation.

How many other changes are being made to Hansard, that nobody catches because they happen surreptitiously?

And why would Hoyle – or anyone working in Parliament – wish to support or enable these Tory racists?

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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Revealed: Labour did NOT pilot the Bedroom Tax

141230SNPbedroomtaxlie

The ‘infographic’ above is very popular among Scottish nationalists at the moment. In line with the wishes of the Scottish National Party (SNP), they are working hard to smear or discredit the Labour Party in order to undermine its support north of the border. There’s just one problem.

The claim is untrue.

The facts were revealed by a Labour councillor, Paul Bull, on Twitter today (December 30) after Yr Obdt Srvt spent yesterday evening arguing the matter with some particularly avid nationalists.

“I too was concerned by Malcolm Wicks’ comments in Hansard that seemed to suggest [a] Bedroom Tax pilot,” he tweeted. “So troubled that I decided to research what form that Bedroom Tax pilot took. That research … has even gone as far as the House of Commons Library.”

Then he wrote:

141230bedroomtaxfact

So this was a scheme that was announced by a Labour minister, certainly – but the Labour government of 2001 did not go through with it.

So much for the nationalists’ claims. “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive”, as someone once said. Or, more appropriately (perhaps), “The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley”.

Cllr Bull continued: “However, back then Labour did do something to encourage social tenants to downsize, where many local authorities offered cash incentives to encourage [it], and this scheme was available to ALL social housing tenants, so not just those on Housing Benefit.”

He provided information on Exeter City Council’s schemes, which are available to read here and here. The second link is to a PDF file which may not open in some browsers.

He concludes: “Elements of [the] Exeter Council scheme [are] still in place but incentives are not so generous. But Exeter Council now employ a Downsizing Officer to assist social housing tenants who do want to move.”

The reality, it seems, is a long way away from the harsh brutality of the Coalition’s Bedroom Tax, with which the SNP and its supporters hoped to tar the Labour Party.

Next time anyone tries to tell you Labour had anything to do with the Bedroom Tax, point them to this article.

How can people trust the SNP when it launches lying smear campaigns like this?

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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It’s time to debunk a few common myths about the Labour Party

myth-busted

The Vox Political Facebook page has become a lively place over the last couple of days – mainly because of the presence of misinformed people purveying hand-me-down myths about Labour Party policies, accompanied by the odd troll who wants to cause mischief by supporting those beliefs, even though they know them to be false.

This makes it a frustrating place for Yr Obdt Srvt, who has had to respond to every other comment with a rehash of explanations provided to other people on other comment threads. It’s like trying to have a conversation in which you have to repeat yourself after every couple of sentences because you’re talking to people who keep coming out with the same – disproved – claims.

Clearly it is time to provide these people with a common point of reference, to which they may refer – it won’t shut up the trolls but at least they’ll look stupid if they’ve been given an answer and still carry on.

So! Let’s have a look at some of these claims.

1. “Labour voted to support the Bedroom Tax and it is hypocritical of them to oppose it now.”

Labour never – categorically NEVER – voted for the Bedroom Tax.

The entire Parliamentary Labour Party (barring possibly any who were ill or had some other reasonable excuse not to be present) voted against the Welfare Reform Act (which contains Bedroom Tax legislation) when it was pushed through Parliament in February 2012. Look up Hansard debates, February 21, where MPs’ speeches, and the way they voted, are reported verbatim.

Since then, the party’s campaigning against the Bedroom Tax has been constant.

If you have been making this claim, you stand corrected.

Do not come to this blog or the Vox Political Facebook page repeating that claim again.

In addition, you should now take responsibility for preventing other people from spreading that falsehood. If you spot anyone doing so, you just make sure they know the facts – along with everyone they’ve been misinforming.

2. “Labour has committed itself to following Coalition spending plans and is therefore no different from the Conservatives.”

The Tory spending limits myth is another one that has to be challenged at every turn because a lot of people misunderstand it.

Firstly, just because Labour has committed itself to keeping the same limit on its spending as the Tories, for one year only, does not mean that Labour will spend the money in exactly the same way!

Too many people make this assumption when there is absolutely no basis for it in fact – including some newspapers, it is sad to report. They got it wrong.

Secondly, government spending for the first year is tied down, to a certain extent, by commitments made by the previous administration. Once those are out of the way, it leaves the board clear for the new government to be as bold as it wants.

And, as the New Statesman has pointed out: “It is worth noting that Labour’s room for manoeuvre is greater than it might appear.

“First, the party’s pledge to match the coalition’s spending totals in 2015/16 does not mean that it has to spend each budget in the same way. In education, for instance, it could devote less funding to free schools and more to schools in areas where demand is greatest.

“Second, the commitment to match planned government spending only applies to the first year of the next parliament: the party is free to outspend the coalition after that and to make greater use of tax rises to reduce borrowing.

“Third, while promising to eliminate the current account deficit, Labour (unlike the Tories) has not pledged to eradicate the total deficit, leaving room to borrow to fund capital projects such as housing and transport infrastructure (provided that the rate of spending growth is slower than the growth in GDP it will still be able to meet its promise to reduce the national debt).”

3. “Ed Miliband is a closet Tory because he has said he wants to govern like Margaret Thatcher.”

Some people seem determined to shoehorn this statement into a belief that Miliband was confessing that he is a Conservative.

He was talking about Margaret Thatcher’s style of leadership, not her political beliefs – Thatcher led from the front, telling her cabinet what she wanted done and expecting them to do it. In contrast, for example, Johon Major was a consensus leader who discussed big decisions with the other members of his cabinet in order to find out their opinions before making a decision.

Now, you might have an opinion on which of those styles is the best, but you won’t even be able to start forming a judgement if you’re unable to recognise what it really is!

4. “We cannot trust New Labour, the party of Tony Blair and his brand of neoliberalism.”

New Labour ended in 2010.

Go to a search engine and type in ‘Ed Miliband new labour dead’ or something similar. The relevant articles are dated around September 26. New Labour was a neoliberal mistake.

New Labour made too many errors – it was a silly experiment to take Labour down the same neoliberal cul-de-sac as Thatcherite Tories. This is why the current leadership has turned its back on the whole project.

Yr Obdt Srvt joined Labour to help turn the party back into what it should be. Yes, there are still New Labour hangers-on, but Vox Political does its bit to expose them for what they are on the blog (as you’ll know, if you’re a regular reader).

We’re not all Red Tory propagandists, you know!

5. “Labour has not opposed any of the Coalition cuts to services or social security. Labour has supported them.”

This misconception seems to have grown from the fact that the Coalition has been able to push through all of the changes it wanted, no matter how damaging – and arises from a misunderstanding of the way Parliament works.

While the Coalition has a majority, it doesn’t matter what Labour does in Parliament – the Coalition will always win the vote.

In fact, Labour has opposed every single cut inflicted on the UK by the Coalition, except in one case where the party abstained in order to win concessions.

Labour MPs and activists have campaigned ceaselessly against the cuts that have led to many thousands of deaths, speaking out in the Commons Chamber, in newspapers, at demonstrations, rallies and public events. They have made it perfectly clear that they intend to hold the Coalition to account.

Claims that Labour “sat idle” for the last four years are dangerous nonsense as some people may believe them without checking the facts for themselves.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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NHS U-turn would be right choice – but for wrong reasons?

Ringing the changes: Jeremy Hunt, pictured a split-second before events proved there are TWO bell-ends in this image.

Ringing the changes: Jeremy Hunt, pictured a split-second before events proved there are TWO bell-ends in this image.

Fellow blogger Sam Bangert just published his latest article, in which he quotes reports in the Telegraph and the Guardian that the government is preparing to withdraw its new regulations that open up the NHS to “compulsory competitive markets”.

It seems that Statutory Instrument 257, that would have seen the demise of the English National Health Service as anything other than a brand name, may be scrapped before it has a chance to wreak the devastation that so many of us fear. That’s a good thing.

The regulations were being brought in under section 75 of the hated Health and Social Care Act 2012, under a process known as ‘negative resolution’. This meant there would be no debate or vote; they would become law 40 working days after they were introduced. In order to fight them, Labour MPs would have had to ‘lay a prayer’, calling for a debate to take place. If they are withdrawn willingly by the government, there’s no need for all that rigmarole.

But there is a very good reason for us to remain extremely suspicious about this affair.

This is not because it’s yet another government U-turn. Yes, we have the most indecisive, vacillating administration in recent British history, but at least in this instance it is doing the right thing.

Having heard Health questions in the House of Commons this morning, one has to wonder whether it is for the right reasons.

You see, comedy Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, knocked back not one but two questions from Labour MPs on this very issue, claiming that the new regulations were nothing more than what Labour would have done.

From Hansard:

“Mr Jamie Reed (Copeland) (Lab): “The hon. Member for Ealing Central and Acton (Angie Bray) asked a key question. Under the secondary legislation being introduced by the Secretary of State under section 75 of the Health and Social Care Act 2012, local commissioning groups will be forced to allow private providers into the NHS. These private providers will be exempt from the Freedom of Information Act, which will make it harder for patients to compare data between providers. It cannot benefit NHS patients for core clinical services to be given to private providers that do not have to conform to the same standards of transparency as those in the NHS. Will the Secretary of State see reason, ensure a level playing field for the NHS and withdraw the section 75 regulations without delay?

“Jeremy Hunt: “Who exactly are the section-75 bogeymen that the hon. Gentleman hates: Whizz-Kids who are supplying services to disabled children in Tower Hamlets, or Mind, which is supplying psychological therapy to people in Middlesbrough? The reality is that those regulations are completely consistent with the procurement guidelines that his Government sent to primary care trusts. He needs to stop trying to pretend that we are doing something different from what his Government were doing when in fact we are doing exactly the same.”

Later in the same session, the following exchange took place:

“Paul Blomfield (Sheffield Central) (Lab): “On 13 March 2012, the former Secretary of State said of the Health and Social Care Bill:“There is absolutely nothing in the Bill that promotes or permits the transfer of NHS activities to the private sector.”—[Official Report, 13 March 2012; Vol. 542, c. 169.]However, the new NHS competition regulations break those promises by creating a requirement for almost all commissioning to be carried out through competitive markets, forcing privatisation through the back door, regardless of local will. Will the Secretary of State agree to make the regulations subject to a full debate and vote of both Houses?

“Jeremy Hunt: If the hon. Gentleman had listened to my previous answer, he would have heard that the regulations are consistent with the procurement guidelines that his own Government sent out to PCTs. It is not our job to be a champion for the private sector or the NHS sector; we want to be there to do the best job for patients. That is the purpose of the regulations.”

If one thing is perfectly clear from these exchanges, it is that the well-known Misprint was not going to be corrected!

Then, a matter of moments later, this happened:

“Andrew George (St Ives) (LD): “In spite of my right hon. Friend’s earlier comments, I am afraid that the regulation that implements section 75 of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 does not maintain the assurances previously given and risks creating an NHS that is driven more by private pocket than concern for patient care. Will the Secretary of State please withdraw that regulation and take it back to the drawing board?”

“Norman Lamb, Minister of State, Department of Health: “We are looking at this extremely seriously. Clear assurances were given in the other place during the passage of the legislation, and it is important that they are complied with in the regulations.”

If you are re-reading that, thinking to yourself, “What just happened?”, you’re not the only one!

Mr George added nothing to what the Labour members had said – nothing at all. Yet Mr Lamb’s attitude was a complete, utter and ludicrous reversal of his Secretary of State’s.

He practically tugged his forelock and murmured, “Yes sir, koind master!”

Is this some ridiculous attempt to make it seem that the Coalition is still strongly united?

Is it some bid to show that, no matter what the result of the Eastleigh by-election, they’ll still be friends, working together “for the good of the country” (if anyone still believes that)?

At its lowest level, is it an attempt to show the Liberal Democrats that they are still relevant to British politics?

If so, then it should fail, precisely because the only points made by the Liberal Democrat member had previously been made by Labour.

If the Conservatives try to say the decision was changed because of the Lib Dems – as the Guardian seems determined to suggest – then we should laugh them out of the Commons chamber.