Tag Archives: MPs

Starmer’s Tory-supporting crackdown on his own party makes him a danger to people with disabilities

[Image: @Rachael_Swindon on Twitter.]

Apologists for Keir Starmer who reckon he’s easing the way for Tory legislation to make them “own their mistakes” will have a hard time justifying this.

Starmer and his team are working behind the scenes to stop Labour MPs from criticising the Conservatives.

After significant rebellions against one-line Labour whips on the Overseas Operations Bill and the Covert Human Intelligent Sources Bill (the so-called ‘Spycops’ bill that allows government agents to commit crimes including murder, torture and rape), the whips office has broken party protocol to issue written reprimands to the rebels.

The letters stipulate a reprimand period of six months, to be extended to twelve if the recipient continues to break the whip.

They have been shared with Labour’s parliamentary committee – a group of backbench MPs elected by the parliamentary Labour party (PLP), and currently dominated by the right – which will determine whether to inform the MP’s constituency Labour party (CLP), as well as the party’s national executive committee (NEC).

This information could then be considered when an MP seeks reselection ahead of a general election.

“That’s the fear factor,” one MP told Novara Media. “This could impact your reselection [and] it might be over a one-line whip. It’s intimidation plain and simple.”

A number of those who received letters are seeking legal advice from union representatives, the MP added.

But that’s not all.

It seems someone in Starmer’s office has taken it upon themselves to water down criticism of the Tory government’s failure to protect people with disabilities by reducing the disability employment gap and mitigating the effect of the Covid-19 crisis on them, and in its new COVID-19 guidance for people placed in the “clinically extremely vulnerable” group.

Someone in the office of the shadow minister for people with disabilities, Vicky Foxcroft, sent a draft of her comments to John Pring of Disability News Service which differed significantly from the official version of her comments released by the Labour Party.

The changes include the removal of a reference to the “vital” role played by trade unions in protecting disabled people from discrimination, along with any reference to disability discrimination.

Read the DNS article and see for yourself. It states,

Responding to the new pandemic guidance… her official statement said that disabled people were just “anxious” rather than “extremely worried”. Her call for disabled people who might need to shield again needing to be “properly compensated and not left without enough money to survive” had vanished.

This represents a serious policy change from Labour – back to the indifference to anti-disability discrimination that marred the New Labour years and Ed Miliband’s leadership.

People with disabilities can no longer rely on Labour MPs to stand up for them because it seems the party leadership now supports the Tories’ campaign to punish them, just for existing.

Starmer seems determined to let Boris Johnson’s corrupt Tories do whatever they want – harm whoever they want – while threatening to sabotage the careers of anybody in his own ranks who dares to protest.

The big question is: What is to be done about this?

The union Unite has already cut its funding to the Labour Party by 10 per cent, and the decision to remove a supportive reference to trade unions from an official comment could be interpreted as an attack – or even a retaliation. Should that union – and others – cut support for Labour even more?

And what about constituency Labour parties? The threat to MPs – which includes sanctions that could lead to their deselection (to be replaced by right-wingers parachuted in by head office, no doubt – that was Tony Blair’s practice) – is also an indirect attack on the power of members to choose their representatives.

Will they act? Should they?

What do you think?

Source: Keir Starmer Has Launched an Unprecedented Crackdown on Rebel MPs | Novara Media

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‘Spycops’ law will be used to spy on Labour, its MPs and trade unions. Why did 167 Labour MPs support it?

Another blunder: Keir Starmer’s insistence on allowing a law that would allow the government to undermine his party has created a rift between him and an ever-increasing number of his MPs.

It is already being labelled as a major rebellion against Keir Starmer’s leadership: 34 Labour MPs defying the party whip to vote against the controversial so-called ‘Spycops’ Bill that would allow government agents to commit crimes.

The real question about it, though, is: why so few?

Labour has been targeted by the so-called Establishment in the UK – probably from its beginnings as a political party. This includes espionage by the nation’s intelligence agencies.

We all know about famous incidents such as the Zinoviev Letter, which contributed to the fall of Ramsay MacDonald’s first Labour government. It was a forged communique allegedly between the government and the Communist government of Russia, written by people whose identities remain uncertain…

… but it was published by the Conservative Daily Mail, and it is widely believed that this was on the urging of the SIS – the intelligence service of the day.

Another famous issue is the MI5 file on Harold Wilson, which was opened when he first entered Parliament in 1945 and recorded his contacts with communists, KGB officers and other Russians.

It was opened because of concerns about his relationships with Eastern European businessmen. Can you imagine MI5 opening a file on Boris Johnson, over his relationships with oligarches from Russia?

Ultimately, none of the information in the file can have amounted to anything because MI5 never tried to use it to undermine him – despite his own paranoia about this in his later years.

Clearly there is a precedent for the security services – which are predominantly staffed by right-wingers – using every resource within their power to find ways of undermining the Labour Party.

And by abstaining on a Bill that allows government agents to commit crimes in order to achieve their aims, 167 Labour MPs including the party’s leader, Keir Starmer, have just handed them another such resource.

It’s undemocratic and dangerous – the kind of legislation created by a dictatorship in order to ensure, by fair means or foul, that no rival organisation can ever topple it.

But some good may come of it accidentally – the possible removal of Starmer as party leader.

Around 20 of his MPs rebelled against his demand to abstain on the Bill’s second reading. Yesterday (October 15), 34 defied his whip – including eight who resigned from front bench roles to do so:

 

Much of this can be attributed to Starmer’s own attitude, which suggests that he actually supports the Bill’s demand that government agents be allowed to commit any crime without fear of prosecution for it later – any crime at all, including the murder of the Tories’ political opponents:

Discontent with his lack of opposition to the worst Tory government in history is growing, and already there are rumours of a leadership challenge in 2021:

Political developments are strange; they don’t happen the way anybody expects – unless that person is very far-sighted indeed.

The Zinoviev Letter led to the fall of a Labour government – but only in a roundabout way. Labour’s vote increased in the general election; it was the collapse of the Liberal vote that allowed the Conservatives their victory.

It would be ironic if now, nearly a century after that attempt to end a socialist government, a piece of legislation that legalises espionage against the party that formed that government actually led to its re-founding as a socialist organisation once again.

That is the only comforting thought I can raise from what is, in all other respects, a disaster for democracy.

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Johnson threatens to remove Tory whip from MPs voting against his Brexit Bill. Deja vu?

Dominic Grieve: here’s a former Attorney General from whom Boris Johnson removed the Conservative whip. Now Geoffrey Cox is facing the same – along with any other Tory MPs who may defy Johnson’s plan to u-turn against his previous policy, breaking international law in the process.

It is indeed reminiscent of last year – but back then, Boris Johnson was trying to coerce his colleagues into voting to uphold his EU Withdrawal Agreement. Now he’s trying to coerce them into voting against it.

What a vacillating political vacuum he is.

He’s gambling on enough of the 2019 Parliamentary intake being so stupid that they think loyalty to their leader is more valuable than loyalty to the law. It isn’t.

The fact is that anybody voting to break international law will have a stain on their reputation for the rest of their life. It will seriously harm their career but Johnson won’t tell them that because he’s too busy forcing them to give him what he wants.

So when Downing Street does this…

… the correct response (and I’m amazed that I’m using this person to present the argument) is this:

I wonder how many of Johnson’s 363 MPs (he is the 364th) actually realise this?

The situation has created contradiction after contradiction:

Plus, of course, if he starts expelling his own MPs, Johnson will make his own position weaker; he won’t have as large a majority in the House of Commons and he will have betrayed the trust of his ministers and backbenchers, who may reasonably expect him to take account of their concerns rather than threatening them.

But in all honesty, it may be too much to ask for enough Tories to defy Johnson’s tyrannical whip.

It would need a minimum of 47 Tories to rebel, and I think they’re too easily-herded.

So this seems likely:

That’s only a stop-gap solution, of course. The Lords cannot stop a Bill becoming law – especially in the face of government with a large Commons majority.

But if they delay it, other developments may render it moot. Trade negotiations are ongoing, and so is the debate within the Conservative Party.

The result of the first vote – today, September 14 – may determine the pattern of future events.

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MPs from all parties say failure to release Russia report is ‘affront to democracy’

Bosom buddies: Boris Johnson with Russian industrialist Alexander Temerko.

If a week in politics is a long time, how would you describe eight months? An eternity?

That’s the length of time Boris Johnson has been sitting on the report into Russian interference in UK democracy.

He says it cannot be released because the UK’s Intelligence and Security Committee has not been reconvened since it was dissolved for the December 2019 general election and has no members.

But this is a feeble excuse when one realises that the only reason for this is, Boris Johnson nominates everybody on this committee – and he hasn’t bothered to do so.

It is the only committee that Parliament has yet to appoint, and it is extremely unusual for a Parliament to fail to appoint it for six months – one-tenth of its term.

If Johnson wanted, this committee could meet on Monday and the report could be out on Tuesday (June 23).

He simply doesn’t want to – and now a cross-party group of MPs have slammed his inaction as an affront to democracy. They’re absolutely right:

MPs on Tuesday wrote to the UK prime minister to tell him it “is untenable for you to continue to block the publication of the Russia report,” adding that “the situation is an affront to democracy.”

The letter… tells Johnson “your refusal to allow publication of this crucial document raises serious concerns and questions about the transparency and integrity of our democratic process.”

Johnson faces fresh pressure to publish the report after the Electoral Commission last week published new data showing continued financial support for the Conservative party from the wife of a former minister in Vladimir Putin’s Russian government.

The letter to Johnson says this new information highlighted “the party’s deep connections to Russian oligarchs,” and “further questions as to why you are so reluctant to reconstitute the Intelligence and Security Committee.”

Source: Boris Johnson failure to release Russia report an affront to democracy – Business Insider

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Cummings scandal: Duffield right to resign for breaching lockdown; Labour MPs wrong to back her

Rosie Duffield: she broke lockdown to meet her married lover.

This is an open-and-shut case, isn’t it?

Rosie Duffield seems a nasty character. The Labour MP for Canterbury marched in the ‘lynch’ mob with Ruth Smeeth and others to have Marc Wadsworth ejected from the Labour Party in the kangaroo court that was his hearing before the party’s National Constitutional Committee.

She campaigned for Chris Williamson to get the same treatment from his kangaroo court (NCC) hearing.

Now she has been caught breaking lockdown – possibly more scandalously than Dominic Cummings – in travelling to meet her lover, who happens to be married. So she’s an adulteress. Shocking behaviour, and a terrible example to set – especially at a time when her party leader has been (rightly) criticising Cummings:

In contrast with Cummings, Duffield has done the right thing: she has resigned from her job as a Labour Whip. Here’s the reason it’s right:

The hypocrites in this situation are any Labour MPs who have voiced support for Ms Duffield, saying she shouldn’t quit, after spending more than a week saying Cummings had behaved appallingly and should quit.

That is the scandal in this story and Keir Starmer needs to take action before the tabloids use it to drag him down. And just when Labour was catching up with the Tories in the polls, too.

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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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Socialist Labour MPs demand action on leaked Labour report but Starmer’s too busy saving his officials

Socialist Labour MPs – in other words, proper Labour MPs – have demanded action from party leader Keir Starmer, after a report showing how party officers sabotaged the party was leaked to the public.

The Socialist Campaign Group of Labour MPs has issued a statement as follows:

“In light of the recent revelations about senior officials undermining the 2017 general election campaign, we, as members of the Socialist Campaign Group of Labour MPs, make the following demands:

“1. The report should be published in full officially by the Labour Party.

“2. An emergency National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting should be convened to discuss its contents.

“3. That NEC meeting must establish a transparent process to investigate the conduct alleged in the leaked document, with the terms of reference set by the NEC officers.

“4. This process must produce a report, that is publicly available, which restores faith among Labour members in the practices of our party.

“We understand the disappointment and frustration that many Labour members will feel with the details revealed in this report. It contains revelations of senior officials undermining the 2017 general election campaign and suggests there are cases to answer on bullying, harassment, sexism and racism.

“We express our solidarity with Labour volunteers who give up their spare time to fight for a better society and to get a Labour government.

“We believe people must stay and fight for a Labour Government, organise to defend our socialist manifesto and push for action.”

The statement is signed by Diane Abbott, Paula Barker, Apsana Begum, Olivia Blake, Richard Burgon, Ian Byrne, Dan Carden, Mary Foy, Rachel Hopkins, Imran Hussain, Kim Johnson, Clive Lewis, Ian Lavery, Rachael Maskell, John McDonnell, Ian Mearns, Nav Mishra, Grahame Morris, Kate Osamor, Kate Osborne, Bell Ribeiro-Addy, Lloyd Russell-Moyle, Zarah Sultana, Sam Tarry, Jon Trickett, Beth Winter, Claudia Webbe, Mick Whitley and Nadia Whittome.

But Mr Starmer has released a statement of his own, saying he intends to investigate: the background and circumstances in which the report was commissioned – despite the fact that we’re told he has been in possession of the report for more than a week; the contents and wider culture and practices referred to in the report – which suggests an intention to find that it is not accurate; and the circumstances in which the report was put into the public domain – which suggests that he wants to attack the people who leaked it because he thinks that is much worse than gross misconduct and betrayal of every single Labour member and voter in the United Kingdom.

So it seems this has become a matter of trust.

The wider membership of the party will have to base its future choices on what Starmer chooses to do. But I will say this:

There is enough prima facie evidence in this report to justify the suspension of every Labour official, MP and member who is named in it as having acted against the interests of the party. Starmer should take this step, to justify members’ continued support – and to ensure that the accused don’t end up investigating themselves.

Postscript: And now we learn that Starmer bypassed Labour’s National Executive Committee – which is supposed to be it’s sovereign decision-making body – to announce that an independent investigation on the lines he described would take place. The NEC’s chair is furious:

https://twitter.com/andydaisyfox/status/1249738666848800768

The weird part of it is, Starmer didn’t have to do this to rubber-stamp a decision not to carry out the obvious investigation – into the behaviour of the Labour officials, MPs and members cited as having acted wrongly. Labour’s NEC is now predominantly right-wing and probably would have agreed to a whitewash anyway.

But now he will – or at least, should – be open to questions about why he thinks he is above the scrutiny demanded by the party of its leaders… People like Jeremy Corbyn, to name a topical example.

At this rate, it won’t be long before other leading party figures can demand a quick “no confidence” vote and he can go home.

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MPs reject Brexit bill timetable – they’re not worried about Johnson calling an election

Boris Johnson: He may have just realised he has miscalculated.

What did I tell you?

MPs have rejected a proposal to examine Boris Johnson’s Brexit bill in the Commons in three days.

The Commons supported the Withdrawal Agreement Bill earlier, but have now voted against the short timetable.

Earlier, the PM warned he would seek an election if MPs dismissed the plan and the EU granted an extension to 31 October Brexit deadline.

After the vote, he told the Commons he would “pause” the legislation until the EU had “stated their intentions”.

Source: MPs reject Brexit bill timetable – BBC News

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Corbyn is right: Tory tribalism will be no protection against a bad Brexit

When life imitates satire: This mock “Brexit 50p” is now eerily indicative of the way Parliament has behaved over Brexit.

Conservatives cheered when MPs heard Labour’s bid to control whether the UK leaves the European Union with no deal had failed. Big mistake.

Jeremy Corbyn was absolutely right to say, “You won’t be cheering in September.”

A no-deal Brexit would be hugely disruptive to the UK – its systems, its services, its supplies, and its relationships with other nations and international organisations.

But never mind that; the Tories wanted to give their leadership candidates leeway, on the international stage, to make even worse fools of us than Theresa May already has.

All the talk that a no-deal Brexit won’t hurt us is just that – talk. Jingoism for the benefit of the tribe. “Everything will be fine because we’re British!”

It won’t.

But by the time we have proof of that, it will be too late to make a difference.

That’s the reason Mr Corbyn said what he did.

So you have to ask yourself: Who benefits from a no-deal Brexit? When you know that, you’ll know why we’re being herded towards it.

Source: Brexit: MPs reject Labour plan for no-deal vote – BBC News

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What will Tories do if Theresa May refuses to say when she’ll quit as PM? Strike?

Hilarious: Conservatives used up all their “no confidence” options in supporting Mrs May. Now they want her to go but have no way of ejecting her.

The UK’s anti-trade union party might end up adopting trade union tactics to rid itself of its unwanted leader if all else fails.

Tories are holding an emergency meeting of the National Conservative Convention on June 15, when around 800 senior Tory activists will vote on a “no confidence” motion against Theresa May.

But the vote will be non-binding. The Conservative Party blew its chance to force Mrs May out when MPs supported her during party and Parliamentary “no confidence” votes in December 2018 and January this year.

So, if she refuses to be pushed out, what will they do?

It seems the only options left to them are those used by trade unions – tactics which Tories have loudly and consistently deplored.

Perhaps we’ll see them impose a “work to rule” protest in which ministers will only be in their offices from 9am until 5pm. That would be amusing, considering Parliament often sits until 10pm or later.

Maybe they’ll even go on strike. That would be very exciting, wouldn’t it?

The chairman of the Tory backbench 1922 committee, Sir Graham Brady, is already being described as a “shop steward” (see below). I wonder how he feels about that?

The whole fiasco highlights the hypocrisy of the Tory position – not simply in having supported Mrs May for the sake of holding onto power, which was the meaning of the December and January confidence votes.

It also shows the poverty of their argument against unions, now that union-style behaviour is all that is left to them.

Tory activists have confirmed the date for an unprecedented new no-confidence vote against Theresa May.

The ballot of around 800 activists will be held on Saturday 15 June, local chiefs have been told.

The vote will not be binding, but activists believe it will pile pressure on the Prime Minister to quit.

She is already meeting Sir Graham Brady, the shop steward for Tory MPs, today as pressure mounts for her to name a date for her departure.

The vote will be held at an emergency meeting of the National Conservative Convention, the forum for senior Conservative activists across the country.

It was triggered after more than 65 chairmen and women of local Tory associations signed a petition demanding the summit.

Source: Date CONFIRMED for Tory activists’ no confidence vote against Theresa May – Mirror Online

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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