Tag Archives: Speaker

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

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

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

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

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

See for yourself:

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

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

It raises a crucial question:

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

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

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

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/


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

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/


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

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

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/


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Babyish Boris Johnson is having a tantrum – if he can’t have his Brexit he’ll try to cause chaos

Boris Johnson: He doesn’t like it when events conspire against him.

Here’s some more evidence that Boris Johnson is in hock to hedge fund bosses who’ve bet on a “no deal” Brexit.

It seems he’s now saying he’ll resign as prime minister – taking his entire cabinet with him – if the EU doesn’t give him the Brexit he wants.

He seems to think that this will make it impossible for Parliament to do anything – but it seems that, like everything else so far, he got that wrong.

Most significantly, it seems BoJob is hoping the UK will be unable to call on the EU for Brexit to be delayed, as required by the so-called “Benn Act” forbidding a “no deal” Brexit.

In fact, it seems Parliament will simply empower Speaker John Bercow to write the letter – the chairman of meetings in the House of Commons acting on the will of that chamber.

And Mr Johnson is facing a rebellion by civil servants, who may find themselves ordered to break the law if he follows this course. They would either resign or demand a public declaration that they were ordered into lawbreaking.

So it seems this plan is unlikely to placate any shadowy backers BoJob may (or may not) have.

As for what the threat to quit government means – it seems he believes Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn would be unable to form a government within the 14 days required by law and a general election would be called, to take place in December.

This implies that the Liberal Democrats, under Tory-supporting Jo Swinson, would not support Mr Corbyn as leader, despite the fact that failure to do so means the UK continues to edge towards a Brexit that she claims to oppose.

Now, why would the leader of the ‘Party of Remain’ want to do that?

Source: Boris Johnson ‘will collapse government’ if EU refuse new deal and force election – 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.

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


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

POLL: Is Commons Speaker John Bercow right to voice his own views on Brexit?

Speaking out: John Bercow at the Bingham Lecture. Is he right to make his opinions known?

John Bercow, the soon-to-retire Speaker of the House of Commons, is being criticised for voicing his opposition to Boris Johnson’s “no deal” Brexit.

Critics are saying he should be impartial and has no right to attack the prime minister and his policies.

Supporters say it is important for him to stand up for Parliamentary sovereignty.

Now he has said he may bend Parliamentary rules – in response to efforts by BoJob and his advisers to go around them.

And he has voiced support for the idea of a written UK constitution, to ensure that the kind of shenanigans we have seen from the Johnson administration (and the May ministry before it) cannot happen again:

John Bercow has threatened Boris Johnson that he will be prepared to rip up the parliamentary rulebook to stop any illegal attempt by the prime minister to take the UK out of the EU without a deal on 31 October.

In a direct warning to No 10, the Speaker of the House of Commons said he is prepared to allow “additional procedural creativity” if necessary to allow parliament to block Johnson from ignoring the law.

“If we come close to [Johnson ignoring the law], I would imagine parliament would want to cut off that possibility … Neither the limitations of the existing rulebook or ticking of the clock will stop it doing so,” he said, delivering the annual Bingham lecture in London. “If I have been remotely ambiguous so far, let me make myself crystal clear. The only form of Brexit that we have, whenever that might be, will be a Brexit that the House of Commons has explicitly endorsed.”

He also proposed a written constitution to stop “executive malpractice or fiat”, which could potentially have avoided the constitutional crisis that the UK has found itself in over Brexit.

Simple question: Do you think Mr Bercow is right to speak out? Or should he keep his mouth shut?

Source: John Bercow: I’ll stop Boris Johnson breaking the law on Brexit | Politics | The Guardian

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/


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Commons Speaker announces retirement – depriving Tories of propaganda victory

John Bercow: The Speaker in action.

John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, has stopped the Conservative government from claiming a propaganda victory it desperately needs by announcing that he is to stand down at the next general election or on October 31 – whichever comes first.

This Site has reported Andrea Leadsom’s announcement that the Conservatives would stand a candidate against Mr Bercow at the next general election, on the grounds that he had undermined democracy by allowing Parliament to discuss – and pass – a backbench Bill ordering the government not to put the UK through a “no deal” Brexit.

Some might say that Mr Bercow’s announcement means the Tories have beaten him – but this is not true.

As he explained in his statement to the Commons, Mr Bercow has long intended to leave at the end of the Parliamentary session which began in 2017.

And by going through with this plan, he has deprived Ms Leadsom and her boss Boris Johnson of the chance to claim that they ousted him.

Here’s his full statement:

Colleagues, I would like to make a personal statement to the house. At the 2017 election I promised my wife and children that it would be my last. This is a pledge that I intend to keep. If the house votes tonight for an early general election, my tenure as Speaker and MP will end when this parliament ends.

If the house does not so vote, I have concluded that the least disruptive and most democratic course of action would be for me stand down at the close of business on Thursday, 31 October. Least disruptive because that date will fall shortly after the votes on the Queen’s speech expected on 21 and 22 October.

The week also after that may be quite lively and it would be best to have an experienced figure in the chair for that short period.

Most democratic because it will mean that a ballot is held when all members have some knowledge of the candidates. This is far preferable to a contest at the beginning of a parliament when new MPs will not be similarly informed and may find themselves vulnerable to undue institutional influence.

We would not want anyone to be whipped senseless, would we? Throughout my time as Speaker I have sought to increase the relative authority of this legislature for which I will make absolutely no apology to anyone, anywhere, at any time.

To deploy a perhaps dangerous phrase, I have also sought to be the backbencher’s backstop.

I could not do so without the support of a small but superb team in Speaker’s House, the wider house staff, my Buckingham constituents, and above all my wife, Sally, and our three children, Oliver, Freddy and Jemima. From the bottom of my heart, I thank them all profusely.

I could also not have served without the repeated support of this house and its members past and present. This is a wonderful place filled overwhelmingly by people who are motivated by their notion of the national interest by their perception of the public good. And by their duty, not as delegates, but as representatives, to do what they believe is right for our country.

We degrade this parliament at our peril. I have served as a member of parliament for 22 years, and for the last 10 as Speaker. This has been, let me put it explicitly, the greatest privilege and honour of my professional life for which I will be eternally grateful.

I wish my successor in the chair the very best fortune in standing up for the rights of honourable and right honourable members individually and for parliament institutionally as the Speaker of the House of Commons.

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/


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

#BackBercow campaign takes off as Tories bid to oust Commons Speaker at election

Adversaries: Andrea Leadsom and John Bercow.

Isn’t it hilarious that Tory Andrea Leadsom is accusing Commons Speaker John Bercow of breaking Parliamentary rules when her government has been doing worse than he could imagine?

And isn’t it ironic that, claiming to be standing up for democracy, they are happy to break an ancient democratic convention?

How hypocritical.

Ms Leadsom reckons Mr Bercow has committed a “flagrant abuse” of process by allowing Parliament to take control of Commons business and table a Bill to stop the government from shafting us all with a “no deal” Brexit.

But he – together with Opposition MPs – was well within his rights to use a recognised procedure against Boris Johnson’s underhand attempt to deny UK citizens their right to democratic representation by proroguing Parliament for five weeks, at a crucial point in the run-up to Brexit.

Here’s how the BBC is reporting the matter:

The Conservative Party plans to stand a candidate against Speaker John Bercow for his role in allowing MPs to take control of the Commons agenda.

Breaching convention, the party plans to oppose Mr Bercow in his Buckingham constituency at the next election.

Formerly a Tory, Mr Bercow gave up his party affiliation when he took on the impartial role.

As the highest authority in the House of Commons, the Speaker chairs MPs’ debates.

In order to be impartial, the Speaker resigns from their party, and – while they still stand in general elections – they are usually unopposed by the main parties, and they do not campaign on political issues.

This latest attempt to silence democracy – and impartiality, if Ms Leadsom plans to put a Tory yes-man in Mr Bercow’s place – has sparked a backlash on the social media, under the hashtag #BackBercow .

Source: Tories bid to depose Speaker Bercow after Commons revolt – BBC News

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/


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Labour conference: speakers and members line up to support Corbyn against his accusers

So-called members of the Labour Party who have attacked its current direction under leader Jeremy Corbyn, including those who have supported claims of anti-Semitism against him and his supporters, have received a stark message at this year’s conference: Shape up or ship out.

Unite union leader Len McCluskey set the tone with an uncompromising speech in which he criticised Margaret Hodge’s claim that Mr Corbyn was an anti-Semite before setting his sights on Chuka Umunna, rumoured to be trying to lay the foundations for a new “centrist” (in fact, right-wing) political party composed of current Labour MPs encouraged to split from the party in a similar manner to the SDP in the 1980s:


Mr McCluskey’s view appears to be shared by the vast majority of Labour supporters. Consider the reaction to the announcement that Labour Friends of Israel – the organisation within the party that was revealed to have fabricated claims of anti-Semitism against at least one party member – does not have a stand at the conference.

Incredibly, Labour MP Wes Streeting turned a tin ear to the cries for unity and told a rally of the Jewish Labour Movement – a heavily pro-Zionist pressure group that includes party members and others, some of who aren’t Jews and don’t support Labour – that the anti-Semitism row that he has stoked, along with colleagues like Luciana Berger, Margaret Hodge and John Mann, could cost the party the next general election.

If he had been paying attention to the wishes of party members, as displayed on the floor of the conference, Mr Streeting would know that the solution is for him to stop trying to cause trouble and support the party’s leadership and policies.

The following is a typical response to Mr Streeting and his vile attitude:

The Independent report also claims that the anti-Semitism row has swung the British public into believing Labour is almost as much a “nasty” party as the Conservatives (as current prime minister Theresa May once self-confessed). It used as its basis a survey by pro-Tory pollsters YouGov that claimed 31 per cent of people support this view – almost as many as the 34 per cent who still think the title belongs with the Tories.

But the story on the street is different – and suggests it is mainstream (right-wing) media reporters with an agenda to smear Mr Corbyn and his party who are creating a false impression. Here’s Mail angry-columnist Dan Hodges:

If that’s his reaction to genuine public opinions, Mr Hodges – along with many of his mainstream press colleagues – is going to be terribly lonely from now on.

The evidence seems to bear out Kerry-Anne Mendoza’s opinion. When the Jewish Chronicle has even suggested that Mr Corbyn should have apologised to British Jews about the anti-Semitism row, despite the fact that he has had nothing to do with it and most of the allegations have been fabricated by (among others) the press, its smear piece failed to convince. Witness:

The accusers are going to carry on, and I say: Let them.

They have no hard evidence of wrong-doing by anybody in positions of major authority within the Labour Party, and their increasingly-shrill outbursts are hardening public opinion against them.

Labour MPs who persist in opposing the will of the party in this way will find themselves facing the sharp end of the new selection system and, although they will undoubtedly claim it has been weaponised against them, will deserve everything they get.

And those members of the press who are determined to embarrass themselves by continuing to flog this dead horse will find themselves on the same position as Mr Hodges:

Walking home, alone.

Visit our JustGiving page to help Vox Political’s Mike Sivier fight anti-Semitism libels in court


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Duncan Smith chastised over benefit deaths lie

Debbie Abrahams: This image is from a previous occasion in which she made a Point of Order.

Debbie Abrahams: This image is from a previous occasion in which she made a Point of Order.

But will he even bother to acknowledge his mistake and make reparations?

Readers of Vox Political will be aware that the DWP has admitted not only that it has figures on the number of people who have died while claiming sickness and disability benefits, but also that this information could be published without breaching the £600 cost limit for Freedom of Information requests.

It was therefore a considerable surprise when Iain Duncan Smith contradicted this statement during Work and Pensions questions in the House of Commons on Monday. Responding to a question from Debbie Abrahams, he whinged: “I find it unbelievable that she, the hon. Lady and others have spent all their time trying to make allegations about people going about their work. She knows very well that the Department does not collate numbers on people in that circumstance.”

Not true.

This Writer had a word with Ms Abrahams on Twitter about this, and discovered that she would be making a point of order on this issue after Prime Minister’s Questions today (Wednesday). Here’s what she had to say:

“On Monday I asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions why he was refusing to publish information on the number of people who have died within six weeks of claiming IB or ESA, including those that have been found fit for work, after having been compelled to do so by the Information Commissioner on 30 April.

“In his response to me, the Secretary of State stated, ‘She knows very well the Department does not collate numbers of people in that circumstance. The Secretary of State’s statement is in direct contradiction to his own department’s submission to the Information Commissioner, which states that it does collect these data and published them last in November 2011.

“I would be grateful for your guidance on how to correct the record and seek an explanation for this error. Frankly, Mr Speaker, this happens too much and puts this House into disrepute.” [bolding mine]

The response from John Bercow, the Speaker, was circumspect: “If there is an inconsistency between what she has been told in the Chamber and what has been said elsewhere by the government, and that is a matter of fact [it is], then it will be apparent to ministers who are responsible for the accuracy of what they say, and in the event of inaccuracy, for ensuring correction.

“I cannot say more than that today but she has made the point with crystal clarity; it’s on the record and it will have been heard by ministers. I think she should, at this stage, await events.”

Iain Duncan Smith would have been aware that his statement was not true when he said it. But will he have the courage to admit his (intentional) error?

Experience suggests not.

Debbie Abrahams has said she’ll keep pushing.

When can we expect a response from the DWP?

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have enjoyed this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Labour launches plan to attack political corruption

westminsterfromwater

If there’s one area of British life that needs reform, it’s politics.

Every day, Vox Political receives at least one comment from somebody saying that the system is corrupt and desperately needs an overhaul. Today (Tuesday, March 3), Labour is due to announce its plans for tackling this very issue.

The trouble is, of course, that many people are saying Labour is part of the problem.

The claim is that the party and its high-level members have a vested financial interest in keeping the system as it is – and the gravy train rolling along. How will Labour combat these?

Well…

There are plans to consult on new powers for the Speaker to tackle the worst and repeated instances of rowdy behaviour in the Chamber with a so-called ‘sin bin’.

Former Commons deputy speaker Nigel Evans described the idea as “rubbish”, pointing out that the speaker already has the ability to remove MPs in certain circumstances and has lots of discretion at present.

But the Speaker himself, John Bercow, has given a cautious welcome to the suggestion that MPs face a rugby-style “yellow-card” temporary ban for bad behaviour in the Chamber. Answering questions at a Hansard Society event at Westminster, Mr Bercow said: “I think there is merit in it, it’s not for me to decide, it’s for the House to decide.”

Other measures will be revealed at an event in Parliament, by Shadow Leader of the Commons Angela Eagle. They include:

  • Overhauling elections with measures including introducing votes at 16 and trialling online voting
  • Changing how Parliament works with a Prime Minister’s Questions for the public and a new process for law-making that gives people a say
  • Tackling vested interests by regulating MPs’ 2nd jobs and creating compulsory rules for lobbyists, and
  • Devolving power across the UK and replacing the Lords with a ‘Senate of the Nations and Regions’.

Some of these measures have already been trailed, like votes for 16-year-olds, public PMQs and regulation of MPs’ second jobs. One has been claimed by the Conservative Party, although Labour’s Austin Mitchell describes the plan for devolution to Greater Manchester as a “deathbed repentance by a government which had centralised continuously in a country that is over-centralised already”. He claimed that a concentration of power in London and the south-east of England “needs to be reversed so the rest of us can have a chance”.

Speaking ahead of the launch, Angela Eagle said: “The recent debate over MPs’ second jobs reminds us that so much needs to change in Westminster. When trust in politics and politicians is already at a record low, only radical reform will restore faith in our political process.

“Labour’s plan will deliver the reform our politics needs. We will reform the Commons to strengthen its ability to hold the government to account. And we will ensure our political system always puts people before rich and powerful vested interests.

“Our politics works on an adversarial system, but sometimes MPs take it too far and it turns the public off. A Labour government will consult on new powers for the Speaker to curb the worst forms of repeated barracking.”

This writer is particularly keen on online voting. It is to be hoped that the trials go well, so that this may help restore interest – and confidence – in democracy.

Does it go far enough? Undoubtedly people will say it does not – but at least, it seems, Labour will do something to arrest the corruption that seems to have seeped into the very bones of the Palace of Westminster (the building will be unusable within 20 years, it seems, unless expensive restoration work is undertaken).

What would you do?

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have enjoyed this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
bringing you announcements by political parties as they happen.

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Bercow bemoans ‘sorry saga’ of European Arrest Warrant

Perfect timing: Chief Whip Michael Gove arrives in the Commons chamber just as Speaker John Bercow is finishing his attack on the government's handling of the proposed debate and vote on the European Arrest Warrant. The blame for the fiasco has been laid on the government's whips.

Perfect timing: Chief Whip Michael Gove arrives in the Commons chamber just as Speaker John Bercow is finishing his attack on the government’s handling of the proposed debate and vote on the European Arrest Warrant. The blame for the fiasco has been laid on the government’s whips.

John Bercow is a Conservative – although, for much of the time, it’s hard to tell what planet he’s on, let alone whose side.

As Speaker of the House of Commons he is supposed to be impartial but he seems to find it hard to maintain this stance, with his own party bearing the brunt of his displeasure more often than not.

Today has been a prime example. The government had scheduled a debate over the European Arrest Warrant but there was confusion over whether a vote would take place.

It had been promised by the Home Secretary, Theresa May.

But the matter had been complicated when some MPs tried to turn it into an issue about the European Union, rather than justice.

The motion today followed a decision last year to opt out of 133 EU police and criminal justice measures, including the European Arrest Warrant – and was expected to be about rejoining 35 of those measures, including the EAW.

But at the start of the debate, Mr Bercow had to tell MPs that the vote would be on only 10 of the regulations. It seems the government was hoping to slip the EAW through ‘by proxy’. Perhaps the hope was that this would avoid a possible schism in the Conservative Party over the EU.

Former Tory – now UKIP – MP Douglas Carswell tweeted his opinion of this behaviour: “Devious and underhand tactics by govt whips have reduced Commons to a farce.”

The BBC has reported that Mr Bercow said he had expected a vote on the warrant, condemned the situation as a “sorry saga” and added that “the House should not be put in that position”.

He said: “A commitment is a commitment to be honoured, rather than trying to slip things through [by] some sort of artifice.

He said the public expected “straightforward dealing and they are frankly contemptuous… of what is not straightforward dealing”.

That discussion took place between 4.30 and 5pm and at the time of writing – 7.30pm – MPs remain undecided about what they are debating.

You see, it gets worse. After the Speaker savaged the situation, InJustice Secretary Chris Grayling got up and said the vote would be on all 35 measures the government wants to bring back in – directly contradicting Mr Bercow. That got shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper up on her hind legs to deliver the damning verdict: “What a shambles; what complete chaos.”

It is.

It is another example of the low regard Conservative ministers have for Parliamentary procedure and the rule of law.

If they want to push a measure through, then they will descend to any depth in order to achieve it. In this case, it seems they wanted to avoid giving Eurosceptic Tories a chance to rebel against the government, so the Chief Whip (Michael Gove), the Justice Secretary (Chris Grayling) and the Home Secretary (Theresa May) seem to have cooked up a fudge, with a vote on only 10 measures but the decision expected to count on the EAW as well.

That is “not straightforward dealing”. It is “trying to slip things through [by] some sort of artifice”.

It is not statesmanlike.

It certainly isn’t honest.

It is the behaviour of people who clearly do not deserve to be ministers in the UK government.

But then, the Coalition has made a mockery of Parliament ever since May 2010.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
commenting on political events as they happen!

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook