Andrew Percy MP

19 Mar 2013 00:00:02

Fourteen Tory MPs defy Cameron on press regulation

By Paul Goodman
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Fourteen Conservative MPs voted against David Cameron's proposals on press regulation earlier this evening - or, rather, against the amendments to the Crime and Courts Bill which set out proposals for exemplary damages in relation to newspapers and websites that refuse to be regulated by the new regulator. The Hansard list isn't up yet, but I'm told that they were -

  • Richard Bacon
  • Christopher Chope
  • Tracey Crouch
  • Philip Davies
  • Nick de Bois
  • Andrew Percy
  • Mark Reckless
  • John Redwood
  • Andrew Turner
  • Martin Vickers
  • Charles Walker
  • Sarah Wollaston

- and that the tellers were Richard Drax and Jacob Rees Mogg.  I'm also told that there was only vote (on which there were rebellions, at any rate).  We will see more when the whole of yesterday's Hansard is published.  But we don't need to view it to laud this tiny band as heroes of free speech.

26 Oct 2012 06:22:26

Who are Conservative Friends of Israel? A profile of the Conservative Party's most populous grouping

By Matthew Barrett
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Conservative Friends of IsraelConservative Friends of Israel is an influential affiliate group of the Conservative Party which contains perhaps the largest number of Conservative MPs of any group in Parliament. It exists to promote understanding of and support for the State of Israel in the Conservative Party, and its membership reaches the highest echelons of power, including the Foreign Secretary, William Hague. In this profile, I examine its origins, membership, role, and activities.

Origins of the group

Conservative Friends of Israel (CFoI) is the oldest group of Conservative MPs I have profiled so far: it was founded by Michael Fidler, who was the Conservative Member of Parliament for Bury and Radcliffe between 1970 and the October 1974 election. After losing his seat, he decided to focus on building a pro-Israel group within the Conservative Party - there had been a Labour Friends of Israel group since 1957 - so Fidler launched CFoI in 1974, and served as its National Director. 

Sir Hugh Fraser served as the first Chairman of CFoI, from 1974. Sir Hugh was a Conservative MP of the old school: after a distinguished military intelligence career in the Second World War, he entered Parliament in 1945, and he missed out on being Father of the House to James Callaghan in 1983 by only a few days. Sir Hugh had an interest in oil and the Middle East and served a number of positions in the War and Colonial Offices, before entering Cabinet as the Secretary of State for Air in 1962. He might be best known to some readers as the outsider candidate who came third in the 1975 party leadership contest, behind Mrs Thatcher and Edward Heath, gaining only 16 votes.

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22 Oct 2012 15:31:06

Conservative Select Committee appointments announced

By Matthew Barrett
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SelectCommittesGuido Fawkes has a list of new Conservative members of Select Committees, from Graham Brady's office. Mr Brady explains: "For the following committees I have received the same number of nominations as there are vacancies, the following are therefore elected". The appointments are:

Communities and Local Government

John Stevenson (Carlisle), replacing George Hollingbery (Meon Valley), who became PPS to Theresa May at the reshuffle.


Chris Skidmore (Kingswood), replacing Damian Hinds (East Hampshire), who became PPS to Mark Francois, the Minister of State for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans.


Andrew Percy (Brigg and Goole), replacing Dr Daniel Poulter (Central Suffolk and North Ipswich), who was made the Parliamentary Undersecretary of State for Health Services.

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17 Oct 2012 20:28:21

Mitchell: This evening's '22 meeting "was divided 50/50"

By Paul Goodman
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Michael Crick tweeted earlier this evening: "Four MPs at 1922 Committee critical of Andrew Mitchell - Andrew Percy, James Duddridge, Ann Main, Sarah Wollaston. 12-15 backed him."

I am told that the difference of view was more 50-50 than three or four to one. (Memories don't always tally, as I pointed out earlier this week in the context of the row itself.)

Robert Buckland, Bernard Jenkin, Edward Leigh, Penny Mordaunt, and Nicholas Soames were apparently supportive of Mr Mitchell (and Philip Davies rather critical).

I'm also informed that there is no mood in the '22 Executive for the Chief Whip to go now, though some of its members think that he should have departed after the original incident.

My guess earlier this week was that Mr Mitchell would attend the '22, and that any criticism of him would be muted.

For better or worse, he wasn't there - I presume it was decided that MPs present should be able to speak freely - and it can't fairly be claimed that they were constrained in what they said.

So we have the worst outcome for Cameron and the best outcome for Miliband: a wounded Conservative Chief Whip.  I don't think Mr Mitchell should go, but he is in a bad way.

21.45pm Update A very senior source insists that the Crick tally was correct. I am recording his view to reinforce the point that, as I note above, "memories don't always tally".


4 Sep 2012 16:03:59

Conservative MPs react positively to the reshuffle

By Matthew Barrett
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Since details of the reshuffle have emerged, Tory MPs, especially on the right of the party, have been reacting positively to David Cameron's appointments.

LAWSON NIGEL TODAYLord Lawson was pleased with the reshuffle:

"I am on the whole very pleased with what has been done. There's another purpose why you need reshuffles. There is always a need to curb public spending and ministers become attached to their departmental budgets and therefore the Treasury needs to have new ministers who will look at their departmental budgets with fresh eyes and find ways of further savings and that is particularly necessary at the present time."

He had specific praise for Owen Paterson's promotion:

"I am very pleased to see in this reshuffle the promotion of Owen Paterson. Owen Paterson is little known to the British public because he has been Northern Ireland Secretary, so he is well known there, but really little known elsewhere. He is in fact one of the most able and promising young men or women around the Cabinet and therefore his promotion to Environment is extremely welcome….he is a man of reason and sense."

Bridgen AndrewAndrew Bridgen said the reshuffle was more wide-ranging than many Tories had expected:

"I think the reaction from the backbenches is that this reshuffle is quite a lot more extensive than we actually predicted. So it is far more radical. But at the end of the day, these reshuffles are of great interest for those of us in the Westminster bubble and the media out there, but I think the people, your viewers, are really interested in policy, not necessarily personality, and it’s about reinvigorating the Government and pushing those policies forward to deliver economic growth that’s going to get the country out of recession."

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21 Jun 2012 14:02:35

Tory MPs speak out against regional pay in Commons debate

By Matthew Barrett
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Yesterday evening a debate was held on regional pay. I blogged earlier this week on why I don't think the Government will introduce regional pay bargaining - and the Commons debate last night certainly didn't dispel my theory. After initial pro-regional pay contributions to the debate from Elizabeth Truss, Mike Freer, Margot James, Aidan Burley, and Andrea Leadsom, Guy Opperman, the Member for Hexham rose.  Guy Opperman CommonsHe said: 

"There are two key arguments in the debate, the first of which is economic. Having worked as a legal aid barrister or state prosecutor for 15 years .... It was during that time that I saw the effects of local pay, as it is described, and took into account the argument of the right hon. Member for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath (Mr Brown) ... who first contemplated it in 2003 and then forced it on the Courts Service in 2007. As with so many of the right hon. Gentleman’s economic policies, I see little evidence that local pay was a success. I have tried to study the economic argument behind it ... I do not support such arguments, which are obscure at best and have not been shown to work in real terms. Also—surely this is the crucial point—it is not supported by businesses in my constituency, none of which has come to me to press for it."

Andrew Percy CommonsAndrew Percy, the Member for Brigg and Goole intervened:

"In our region, the Humber, we cannot get NHS workers to come and work and have to consider paying them more. A few years ago we could not get teachers to teach in the city of Hull and had to give them an enhanced salary to do it. Whatever the economics, the reality is that we cannot get some public sector workers to come to our region. How we would do that if we paid them even less is beyond me."

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10 May 2012 12:24:17

The internal Tory debate over the Government's future finds its way into the Queen's Speech debate

By Paul Goodman
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I would be suprised by Fleet Street's unanimous hostility to the Queen's Speech were it not, first, for Leveson (which the papers will never forgive) and, second, for the impasse between the Coalition partners on growth measures.  The situation is too urgent to afford Vince Cable's lack of oomph.

Conservative backbenchers were always likely to be more measured in their contributions to the debate on yesterday's first day of the Queen's Speech.  But I was struck reading Hansard this morning by the way in which the debate which Tim reported at yesterday's meeting of the 1922 Committee also spilled out on to the floor of the Commons.

It naturally did so more discreetly and decorously, and below are some extracts that may give you the flavour of the moment.  Charlie Elphicke (on the economy and childcare), Priti Patel (on families, criminal justice and small business) and Chris Skidmore (on social care and health) stuck entirely to the contents of the Speech, and were none the worse for it.

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8 May 2012 13:03:56

The 2010-12 parliamentary session was the most rebellious on record

By Matthew Barrett
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Screen shot 2010-06-16 at 18.02.09Philip Cowley and Mark Stuart of the University of Nottingham have released a new pamplet - "The Bumper Book of Coalition Rebellions", which documents the 239  backbench rebellions so far in this Parliament, in which 544 votes have been held. 

The pamplet takes us from the first rebellion, on the government’s control of time in the Commons, to the last, on Sunday Trading during the Olympics. This Parliament has seen more rebellions by government MPs than in any other session in the post-war era. As "The Bumper Book" says, "It comfortably beats the previous record of 128, held by Conservative MPs in the 1971-72 session. Indeed, a figure of 239 is higher than all but three entire post-war parliaments."

In fact, there were more rebellions in the last two years than there were between 1945 and 1966 - a period which saw six Prime Ministers and six parliaments. On a different measure, the "relative rate of rebellion", this session's 239 rebellions constitute a rebellion by Coalition MPs in 44% of divisions, which is a record in post-war parliaments. The 44% figure can be broken down further: Conservative MPs have rebelled in 28% of votes, while Lib Dems have rebelled in 24% of votes.

It is also notable how much of a contrast there is between the 2010-12 session and most first sessions in a parliament. As the pamplet says: "The rebellion rate for coalition MPs collectively is way above all other first sessions in the post-war era (the previous record was 28%, for Labour MPs in the 2005-6 session, as the party entered its third, and most troublesome, parliament under Tony Blair)".

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6 Apr 2012 09:12:07

Tory MP Andrew Percy wants US-style chain gangs to clear rubbish from Yorkshire's roadsides

By Tim Montgomerie
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Tory MP for Brigg and Goole Andrew Percy has called on prisoners to clear up the rubbish that is piling up on the roadsides. Speaking to the Yorkshire Post he said:

“The A63 is the main road between Hull and Goole – when people coming off the ferries see it, it makes it look as if we don’t care about the area. In the US I have seen chain gangs out clearing highways – why can’t we do that here? We have criminals expected to pay back – why not get them out there doing something of use?"

Anyone disagree?

11 Mar 2012 17:04:59

After being shoved up against a wall by Eric Joyce, Andrew Percy MP finds his back problem cured

By Matthew Barrett
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After Labour MP Eric Joyce was sentenced to community service for twelve months and had various curfews imposed on him earlier this week, some good has come of the pub brawl Mr Joyce was arrested for. 

Andrew Percy CommonsThe Conservative Member for Brigg and Goole, Andrew Percy, has had his long-term back problem seemingly cured by being pushed against a wall by Joyce. The Sunday Express' Kirsty Buchanan reports that Percy's back complaint, which he suffered after "taking a tumble as a teenager", was so bad that at times he couldn't climb into a car. The paper reports: 

"The condition was ­particularly painful the night the Brigg and Goole MP found himself on the sharp end of Joyce’s now infamous drunken outburst but since that night 34-year-old Mr Percy has had not so much as a twinge. “It’s certainly not a form of treatment I would be recommending to other people with back problems,” he said. “It’s also not easy to ­recreate; go into a bar and find a narky, drunk Scotsman.”"

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17 Dec 2011 17:38:06

Nick Gibb condemns a "destructive perception of what success means" for young people in debate on financial education

By Matthew Barrett
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In Parliament on Thursday, the Member for North Swindon, Justin Tomlinson, introduced a motion to promote financial education in schools. The text of the motion was:

Tomlinson Justin"That this House notes that young people today grow up in an increasingly complex financial world requiring them to make difficult decisions for the future, often without the necessary level of financial literacy; believes that financial education will help address the national problem of irresponsible borrowing and personal insolvency and that teaching people about budgeting and personal finance will help equip the workforce with the necessary skills to succeed in business and drive forward economic growth; further believes that the country has a duty to equip its young people properly through education to make informed financial decisions; and calls on the Government to consider the provision of financial education as part of the current curriculum review."

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9 Nov 2011 16:40:45

Government EU budget motion passes without rebellion

By Paul Goodman
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COMMONS-sittingThere are conflicting views at present about where Conservative Euro-revolts go next.  One is that they peaked on the vote over an EU referendum.  Another is that they will climb higher if Britain enters any new treaty negotiations without a repatriation of powers proposal. My view is the latter (were the Government to present a bill based on such a treaty).

But either way, it is worth recording briefly that a Government motion relating to future EU budgets was passed yesterday evening without a Tory backbench amendment.  Both a source loyal to the Government and a rebel used the same phrase to me yesterday about potential future rebellions - "guerilla warfare".

In other words, they are united in agreeing that rebellions will be back sooner or later, but for the moment there is no appetite for more among most of the 81 Conservative MPs who voted against the Government on the referendum motion.  I think that Tracey Crouch's letter to Mark Pritchard last week rather caught the mood.

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3 Nov 2011 13:57:58

Tory MPs welcome Danny Alexander's public sector pensions statement to the Commons

By Joseph Willits 
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AlexanderIn a statement to the Commons yesterday, immediately after PMQs, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander talked of a "generous offer" being made by the Government to reform public service pensions. Alexander said he had "decided to revise the government's offer after negotiations with the TUC, since early October, and with recommendations from the Secretaries of State for Education and Health.

Alexander described the offer as "conditional upon reaching agreement" but believed it "should be more than sufficient to allow agreement to be reached with the unions". It was Alexander's hope, he said that "on the basis of this offer, the Trade Unions will devote their energy to reaching agreement not on unnecessary and damaging strike action".

Alexander announced an increase to the cost ceiling of pensions:

"Future schemes will now be based on a pension to the value of 1/60th of average salary, accruing for each year worked. That is an 8% increase on the previous offer ... A teacher with a lifetime in public service with a salary at retirement of £37,800 would receive £25,200 each year under these proposals, rather than the £19,100 they would currently earn in the final salary Teachers' Pension Scheme. A nurse with a lifetime in public service and a salary at retirement of £34,200 would receive £22,800 of pension each year if these reforms were introduced, whereas under the current 1995 NHS Pension Scheme arrangements they would only get £17,300."

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16 Sep 2011 16:01:22

Alistair Burt refuses to be drawn on whether the Government would support a Palestinian statehood bid

By Joseph Willits 
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Burt In an over-subscribed Urgent Question debate in the Commons yesterday, on the Palestinian statehood bid, foreign office minister Alistair Burt (standing in for Hague who was in Libya) refused to be drawn on whether the government would officially support a Palestinian bid for UN membership.

On Tuesday, ConservativeHome reported that only 2 Tory MPs, Nicholas Soames and Sir Peter Bottomley had signed an Early Day Motion in favour of a Palestinian state.  Upon writing this, the number had increased to four Tory MPs, with Julian Brazier and Eleanor Laing adding their signatures.

The hesitancy with which Tory MPs are having putting their name to the EDM, bears resemblance to the government's caution, because of fears that the bid could ruin the peace process.  Alistair Burt stated that it would be "premature to speculate on what the Government’s response might be" before any proposal for membership had been published.  Burt also stressed it was "vital that any action in the UN does nothing to endanger the prospect of talks".

Following on from the Arab Spring "the world can no longer claim that change in the Middle East will come slowly and incrementally, or allow the middle east peace process to limp along indefinitely, as it has done", said Burt. Any resolution made between the Israelis and Palestinians, he said, is seemingly "more significant" in relation to events of the Arab Spring.

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31 Aug 2011 14:29:55

Ten new MPs responsible for a quarter of all rebellious votes by Tory MPs

By Matthew Barrett
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COMMONS-sitting As reported last week, this Parliament has seen more rebellions than during the Major years, and in fact, the 2010 intake has been the most rebellious since at least 1945. The last Parliamentary year has seen Conservative rebellions on issues such as European bailouts, recognising marriage in the tax system, or on law and order matters.

An interesting new post by Philip Cowley and Mark Stuart of the Centre for British Politics at the University of Nottingham's NottsPolitics blog shows just ten Conservative MPs from the 2010 intake are responsible for nearly a quarter of all rebellious votes by Conservative MPs. 

Their findings also show:

  • Tory newcomers have accounted for 31% of rebellious votes cast by all Conservative MPs
  • More 2010 intake Conservative MPs have rebelled (46), compared to Labour MPs (21) or the Lib Dems (7)
  • 31% of new Tory MPs have now rebelled
  • New Conservative rebels have cast 249 rebellious votes

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