Tag Archives: MP

If the Tories are keen to preserve lives, why are they threatening people who are shielding from Covid?

Jacob Rees-Mogg: he reckons the role of the House of Commons “can only properly be fulfilled when members are here in person”, and says his decision is “completely in accordance” with the “equalities considerations” of the government and parliament. Phew, what a loony!

People who are vulnerable to Covid-19 are very much second-class citizens to the Conservative government, aren’t they?

Consider teachers who have been ordered back into work even though their physical health means they must shield against the virus – that is, they need to stay in their homes, away from anybody who might possibly pass it onto them:

Teachers with underlying medical conditions have been threatened with pay cuts or disciplinary action if they do not come into school.

Patrick Roach, the general secretary of the NASUWT teaching union – which opposed the reopening plan – [said]his union had received “lots of worries” from members this week.

“We’ve had a lot of traffic in relation to teachers with underlying health conditions,” he said.

“We’re now seeing some schools insisting that shielding is over and that those individuals who are clinically extremely vulnerable should be back in the workforce,” he said.

“We’ve come across one or two examples of schools threatening to deduct pay or put people on disciplinary procedures if they don’t come into the workplace.

“Of course we’ll continue – and have done – pushing back with those employees with some success, but nevertheless this shouldn’t be happening out there.”

Conversely, MPs are being deprived of the ability to carry out their responsibilities, even though they could do it from home if they were permitted to:

The shadow minister for disabled people has taken legal advice over the government’s “outrageous” decision to prevent MPs at serious risk from coronavirus from continuing to vote and take part in debates from their own home.

Labour’s Vicky Foxcroft, who has a long-term health condition, was unable to vote on Tuesday [June 2] because of the government’s decision.

She [said] she and other MPs at particular risk from COVID-19 had been discriminated against.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has also criticised the government this week over its stance, after refusing to do so last week.

There is no consistency in this behaviour by the Tory government; one group is penalised because their health forbids them from working while the other is penalised because its members want to.

It seems the Johnson government is happy to contradict itself, simply to inflict harm on the vulnerable.

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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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UK electors flood MPs with criticism of Dominic Cummings scandal

Dominic Cummings and Boris Johnson: we expect a higher standard from government than this shifty pair.

Congratulations to the Great British (and Northern Irish?) public for refusing to meekly accept the unacceptable from Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings.

They – we – expect a higher standard from our elected representatives.

If you haven’t written to your MP already – or if you have and fancy adding a bit more – you can do so by visiting Write To Them.

The furore over Dominic Cummings’ breach of lockdown rules has prompted tens of thousands of people to flood their MPs’ inboxes in what some described as the biggest outpouring since Brexit, a Guardian analysis has found.

As Boris Johnson tried to draw a line under the crisis involving his chief adviser, constituents across the country sent missives to their MPs, with many sharing stories of their own lockdown hardships.

A Guardian analysis covering 117 MPs found they have received a total of 31,738 emails since a joint Guardian and Daily Mirror investigation a week ago divulged that Cummings had travelled to County Durham and taken a trip to a beauty spot with his family after suffering coronavirus symptoms.

If that level of correspondence was reflected across all 650 MPs, it would suggest the revelations may have sparked as many as 180,000 items of correspondence. The numbers were either provided in response to the Guardian’s request for figures, or in statements MPs had released to constituents.

Source: Constituents bombard MPs with tens of thousands of emails over Dominic Cummings | Politics | The Guardian

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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

MP raises ‘grave concern’ over PIP benefit assessors – and he’s a TORY

As seen on Twitter: but a new Conservative MP has raised concerns about the “abrasive” assessment process.

Did somebody forget to send Anthony Mangnall the memo?

Normally, Conservative MPs pay little attention – perhaps only lip-service – to complaints about employees of the private company Atos who are hired at great cost to assess claims for the disability benefit Personal Independence Payment.

But Mr Mangnall – elected as MP for Totnes last December – has actually paid attention to the concerns of benefit claimants and raised them with ministers.

Constituents’ complaints were echoed by the town’s Citizens Advice service; perhaps that’s what convinced him that the issue was important.

Mr Mangnall told Disability News Service:

“If people are complaining about the Atos service, then that is a problem and it is a problem we need to look into.”

He said Justin Tomlinson, the minister for disabled people, had assured him that PIP assessors were “experts in understanding the effects of a health condition on an individual’s daily life” and that the department continued to “monitor performance, share best practice, and work with claimants, stakeholders and charities to improve training and guidance”.

But Mr Mangnall doesn’t seem entirely convinced:

Mangnall has told Disability News Service (DNS) that he wants to ask further questions of ministers if he can secure more evidence to show that the process should be improved, because he believes it is currently “letting the side down”.

“I have got some fantastic constituents and this is a headache that they do not need.

“They need support from us and they don’t need a bureaucratic system like this holding them up, with people who don’t understand their situation.”

He has asked DNS for details of its lengthy investigation into dishonest PIP assessors.

The cynic in This Writer wants to take bets on how long it will take for Mr Tomlinson and fellow Tory ministers to get Mr Mangnall to shut up.

But hope springs eternal.

Let’s hope DNS can keep Mr Mangnall dedicated to the case. The hordes of people who have been betrayed by PIP assessors deserve it.

Source: Tory MP tells minister of jobcentre staff’s ‘grave concern’ over PIP assessors – Disability News Service

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MPs get above-inflation pay rise to £82,000 after creating massive increase in in-work poverty

Doesn’t it make you proud to be British?

The so-called Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority has given MPs an enormous pay rise.

They’ll now receive £82,000 as their basic salary, with ministers receiving much more. That’s a 3.1 per cent increase – much higher than the 1.8 per cent inflation rate.

And they’ll also get increased expenses – ostensibly to cover staffing costs.

Meanwhile, eight million working-age people are in poverty, with people in work totalling nearly 60 per cent of those in poverty.

So the Tories are rewarding themselves hugely for plunging the nation into poverty.

Source: MPs handed above-inflation pay rise to £82,000 | The Independent

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Trigger ballots to decide if Phillips has to fight to remain an MP

Jess Phillips: It’s time for her to go.

Labour Party members in the Birmingham Yardley constituency are to vote on the future of MP Jess Phillips.

She is facing a ‘trigger’ vote to decide whether she should face a challenge to her right to be their Parliamentary candidate in the next general election.

According to Skwawkbox, “Yardley reportedly only has some five hundred Labour members… Ms Phillips is said to have been working hard trying to cultivate their favour.

“Phillips’ neighbour, Roger Godsiff, was ‘triggered‘ earlier this week, with Barking MP Margaret Hodge suffering the same result the week before.”

Ms Phillips is highly controversial. This Site published an article earlier this week, sympathetic with staff at her office after they were targeted by a man banging on the windows and shouting “fascist”.

He seemed unhappy that she had made a speech about the un-Parliamentary language used by Boris Johnson regarding his aborted prorogation.

But I have little sympathy for Ms Phillips as a person and neither do readers of This Site, as evidenced by comments on that previous article.

“Jess Phillips is a fine one to bemoan the violent language currently being used in Parliament,” stated ‘TimFrom’. “She made an early contribution to the trend in 2015 when, in response to talk of Labour MPs back-stabbing Jeremy Corbyn, she proudly proclaimed she’d oh-so-bravely knife him ‘in the front’.”

Mark C added: “I really have very little time for Jess Phillips and her ‘I’m just a working class woman made good bab’ persona. I found myself in an unimpressed minority in regards to her recent impassioned speech at the fate of those expelled from the Tory party – why so het up about the Tories when many within the Labour party have been expelled on trumped up charges that she has often supported?

“And I feel her ‘I don’t understand parliamentary process’ comment is, at worst a wilful and calculated part of that ‘ordinary woman’ act and, at best, pure unadulterated ignorance at the job she is elected to perform.”

Others have criticised her for supporting Ruth Smeeth at the hearing of Labour’s National Constitutional Committee that led to the entirely inappropriate expulsion of anti-racism campaign Marc Wadsworth on a charge relating to anti-Semitic racism. Ms Smeeth had lied about him.

And This Writer came under fire for calling her “mouthy” – with critics claiming I was using sexist language, even though I and others apply that term freely to men, women and groups.

So, while Ms Phillips’s place as a candidate may now be in doubt, This Writer certainly hopes that members of Yardley CLP remove her from the list in the very near future.

There should be no place in the Parliamentary Labour Party for her.

Source: Phillips facing trigger ballots on Monday | The SKWAWKBOX

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Leading Labour figure joins documentary to counter biased BBC Panorama

An MP who is a major figure in the Labour movement has volunteered to narrate a planned documentary programme refuting the claim by the BBC’s Panorama that the Labour Party is anti-Semitic – but only if the makers can crowdfund enough cash to film it.

As in the case of the actor who is also set to appear, this Writer is not at liberty to name the Parliamentarian who has come forward to appear in the factual film.

But – as in the case of the actor, his arrival on the project is likely to boost the documentary’s profile hugely.

So it is even more important that the film-makers raise the cash necessary to finish the project.

If you aren’t familiar with it: Writers from a range of independent media outlets have joined forces to produce a documentary in response to a BBC Panorama programme in which interviewees alleged that The Labour Party is institutionally antisemitic.

They believe the accusation to be totally unfounded – as does This Writer. I produced a series of articles disputing the claims of the documentary and have submitted a complaint to the BBC (which has yet to respond).

But they need funds to get their rebuttal in the can. The money will be used to buy equipment and cover travelling expenses, so film-makers can interview those who have come forward, including former BBC staff and Jewish Labour members who have a very different account from those shown on the Panorama programme.

Sadly it seems that Facebook has shadow-banned the film. This is a process by which the owners of a social media platform stop posts by a particular source, or about a particular subject, from being shared to new readers. In this case, it would prevent information being circulated to people who are likely to want to donate to the project.

So, please share this article yourself if you support the aim of the project.

For more information and a chance to donate, visit IMP Documentary – A response to Panorama. – a Film and Theatre crowdfunding project in Manchester by The Prole Star

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Kicked when he’s down: Now Boris Johnson is backstabbed by his own brother

Turning away: Jo Johnson.

Jo Johnson has announced he is to stand down as a member of Parliament in what can only be seen as an attack on his brother Boris’s premiership.

In a tweet he said he had been “torn between family loyalty and the national interest” – implying that he does not consider his brother’s behaviour since becoming prime minister to have been in the interest of the nation.

At the time of writing it is not clear whether Jo Johnson is leaving the government immediately or at the next general election – whenever that may be.

He has been attending cabinet meetings as universities minister, and was promoted despite having voted to remain in the European Union and being much more pro-European than his brother.

The ramifications of this may shake the Tories even more than BoJob’s removal of the Tory whip from 21 MPs on Wednesday evening.

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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