Bernard Jenkin MP

21 Jul 2013 16:47:53

Brady and Jenkin urge Cameron to ditch the Lib Dems next year

By Peter Hoskin
Follow Peter on Twitter

By way of an addendum to my post yesterday, it’s worth noting that both Graham Brady and Bernard Jenkin have today suggested that the Coalition breaks up next year. Speaking to the Sunday Telegraph, Brady says:

“It makes sense to plan an exit well in advance of a 2015 election. We need to convey a clear, separate identity and a separate set of aspirations from the Liberal Democrats.

You can’t get those messages across in three weeks or even three months. You need a sustained period of time to ensure voters are comfortable with what you are saying — at least six months.”

And from the same report:

“Mr Jenkin, a senior backbencher, said he supported calls for the Coalition to be scrapped next year.

‘In the end, actions speak louder than words,’ he said. ‘Unless we are campaigning for a coalition after the election we had better show that we mean what we say and that we want to stand as a separate party and stand for separate things.’”

A few anonymous “senior Consevatives” also offer their views, from claiming that a split would suit both parties, to urging against one. We’re probably entering a season in which such arguments will be aired more loudly and more frequently.

The thing is, David Cameron isn’t playing along. Although he stressed in his Marr interview earlier that he’s aiming to lead a Conservative majority government after the next election, he was also careful to add “I’m not going to speculate about anything else,” and praise the work of the current Coalition. He knows that he may have to rely on the Lib Dems again, after 2015.

7 Mar 2013 09:57:44

The No Leaking Stories Group?

By Paul Goodman
Follow Paul on Twitter.

Screen shot 2013-03-07 at 09.33.24"Well, gentlemen, I see we have a good gathering tonight," said side-burned Forth, like a teddy boy relishing a dust-up with some mods at the local disco. "I think we ought to have a discussion of what this group believes in.  I must say I always thought we believed in lower taxes, locking up more criminals and standing up for Britain. But now I am told we stand for something called REACHING OUT! He shrieked the words with melodramatic disgust."

This morning's account in the Times (£) of a "dinner table plot to unseat the coalition" turns out to be the second subtantial leak from the No Turning Back Group - the right-of-party-centre backbench dining club of Conservative MPs of which I was once a member.  The first is chronicled in loving detail in Simon Walters's romp, Tory Wars, and I quote from the words of the late, great Eric Forth - whose attack on Michael Portillo opens the account. (It followed Portillo's speech to the Conservative Conference in 2000.)

Key quotes:

  • Portillo: "Presumably you want homosexuals and lesbians to vote for us? We don't want to say to them: "We don't like you, we don't want your vote."
  • Owen Paterson: "You are obsessed by a few issues which are of great interest to the metropolitan elite, but they are of no concern to most of our members who don't live in London."
  • Alan Duncan: "Michael is right. We have got to appeal to other groups such as ethnic minorities."
  • John Bercow: "If we give the impression that we are bigoted about gays or people of other races, then we will lose floating votes too."
  • "Redwood, relishing the sight of his right-wing adversary [Portillo] being roasted on the spit, gave it another turn. 'We are not bigots. We simply don't want to make these issues a big part of Conservative policies.' "
  • "David Davis, who arrived late, sat back and enjoyed the spectacle of his best friend Forth making a fool of Portillo, whom he had long held in contempt."

Over ten years on, how fortunate we are that these contentious issues have been put to rest!

A word on the Times's story and the NTB itself. The Times refers to some MPs “chuntering” about a leadership contest.  If that's all that took place, what took place wasn't a "plot" - so the headline is a bit out of proportion.  The Times mentions the idea of a "mandate referendum" to precede the In-Out one to which David Cameron is committed.  There's no great mystery about whose idea that is.  It's Davis's.  We know that because...he set it out publicly at a ConservativeHome conference last autumn.

Finally, note the names quoted in the Times story: Davis, Redwood, Liam Fox, Bernard Jenkin. Chris Grayling.  These names are those of very senior MPs.  The report also says: "it is understood that about a dozen MPs were present".  If that's right, it sounds like a gathering consisting almost entirely of senior and older MPs.  I wonder if the NTB is replenishing its membership.  At any rate, no member of the 2010 intake, which now constitutes half the Parliamentary Party, is quoted in the story.

When I was a member of the NTB in the last Parliament, about 20 or so MPs would turn up regularly, including John Baron, Mark Harper, Jonathan Djanogly, Andrew Turner, and Angela Watkinson.  Clubs of Tory MPs spring up all the time - for example, the Free Enterprise Group, which gave very public advice to Osborne earlier this week - and the more established ones must renew themselves to stay at the cutting edge.  One thing's certain: the NTB will this morning be undertaking a leak enquiry. 

29 Jan 2013 12:36:35

Am hearing that a handful of Tory MPs will vote with Labour and the LibDems AGAINST boundary fairness...

By Tim Montgomerie
Follow Tim on Twitter

On ConHome 45 minutes ago and on Comment Is Free yesterday two Tory MPs - Bernard Jenkin and Sarah Wollaston - have both highlighted the Liberal Democrats' extraordinary hypocrisy on boundary reform. Later today Tory MPs will vote against some dubious parliamentary manoeuvring by LibDems in the Lords which will almost certainly mean the review is rescheduled for 2018 not, as originally intended, in time for the next general election. I'm hearing that two or three Tory MPs may vote with Labour and the Liberal Democrats because they, personally, would have suffered from the redrawing of constituencies. I hope that, even at this late stage, they'll have a change of heart. Today's vote isn't about boundary changes but about LibDem skulduggery and betrayal. If this handful of Tory MPs can't vote with the massed ranks of their Tory colleagues they should at least abstain. Pasted below are two extracts from the Jenkin and Wollaston pieces that may help them understand what today's vote is all about.

Bernard Jenkin: "Neither the AV referendum result, nor the failure of House of Lords reform, can alter the simple principle of fairness:  that votes should be of more equal weight, so constituencies should be of more equal size, so a vote matters the same where ever it is cast.  Now Liberal Democrats find themselves in the invidious position, having argued for a ‘fairer’ and ‘more proportional’ electoral system, while they are blocking the reform they have voted for and which would deliver what they say they believe in."

Sarah Wollaston: "There is another charge that will be hung around the necks of the Lib Dems if they reject reform; the sheer scale of the waste of public money for a boundary review which they initially accepted but now reject in their long sulk over Lords reform and a lost referendum. If the Lib Dems abandon the coalition agreement on boundary reform they will be seen to be abandoning fairness for narrow-self interest. The only consolation will be that they will have to stop lecturing the rest of us about it."

17 Jan 2013 12:52:21

Bill Cash and Bernard Jenkin launch paper questioning economic value of EU's single market

By Tim Montgomerie
Follow Tim on Twitter

Cash and JenkinEarlier today MPs Bernard Jenkin and Bill Cash launched a paper entitled "The EU single market – is it worth it?". You can read a PDF of it here.

The paper busts a number of myths about our relationship with the EU, including "MYTH 2" - “Three million jobs depend on our trade with the EU”.

Cash and Jenkin write:

"This myth is intended to suggest that there would be substantial loss of jobs if we were not in the EU ‘single market’.

However, if UK business and commerce were to be relieved of the burdens and costs of EU single market regulations, the UK could expand its economy more quickly and recover some of the 2 million skilled jobs which have been lost to Germany, France and other parts of the European Union.

Our earnings from the EU are in structural decline, but our overseas earnings from beyond the EU are growing.  Non-EU exports of goods and services amounted to 56% of all UK overseas earnings in 2011.  The UK now enjoys a trading surplus with the rest of the world of £17.1bn, compared a deficit of £46bn with the other 26 states of the EU. This is despite the distorting effect of the EU single market in favour of trade with our EU partners.  The UK economy is also highly dependent upon imports.  Membership of the ‘single market’ increases the cost of imports from the rest of the world. These imports over the last 10 years have so far grown 80% faster than our imports from the EU. Given these trends, the UK economy must be free to adapt. 

Non-EU exporters to the EU, the US and China, for example, export to the EU and cope with EU tariff barriers and they have increased their trade with the EU by more than the UK has since the ‘single market was established.  They do not pay any contribution to the EU, nor are they bound to comply with the EU regulations in their own domestic and non-EU export markets. Being outside the ‘single market, Switzerland exports three times more goods per head of the population to the EU than does the United Kingdom."

Download a PDF of "The Single Market Is it worth it".

10 Jan 2013 15:22:29

Jeremy Heywood considered the possibility of a Plebgate conspiracy, but left it at that

By Peter Hoskin
Follow Peter on Twitter


On the whole, Tory MPs don’t have much love for Jeremy Heywood, the Cabinet Secretary. For many of them, he is someone who wields too much power and who uses it to influence the direction of government. Increasingly, they apply the same lexicon of insults to him as they do to Nick Clegg. Some of it isn’t family friendly.

I mention this because Mr Heywood’s appearance before the Public Administration Committee — chaired by Bernard Jenkin, and with the Conservative MPs Alun Cairns, Charlie Elphicke, Robert Halfon and Priti Patel among its members — will have done nothing to reverse this collective opinion. The Cabinet Secretary was there to talk about his investigation into elements of the Andrew Mitchell affair, but he managed little more than to raise further questions about it all.

The headline point from Mr Heywood’s testimony was probably his admission that he considered the possibility of a conspiracy against Mr Mitchell, but that he let it rest there:

“We accepted that there were unanswered questions, including the possibility of a gigantic conspiracy, or a small conspiracy. Those were unanswered questions, but we decided, on balance, to let matters rest as they were.”

Why so passive? My Heywood claimed that he simply couldn’t do any more. David Cameron had tasked him with investigating that infamous “eyewitness” email which appeared to corroborate the police log, and which we now know was written by an off-duty police officer — and that he did. Mr Heywood explained that, after checking the email against CCTV footage of the incident, he concluded that it was “unreliable,” and that he advised the Prime Minister against heeding its contents. “I think I did the job competently and came to the right conclusion,” he said.

The Cabinet Secretary didn’t then start to question the police log. He didn’t look into whether Mr Mitchell used the word “pleb,” or not. He didn’t discover that the author of the email was linked to the police, although he was “mildly suspicious” about him. He didn’t, he didn’t, he didn’t. Although, according to Mr Heywood, he also shouldn’t have:

“It’s not the role of a civil servant or the Cabinet Secretary to start investigating the police. That’s not my job. I don’t have the powers. I don’t have the expertise. It wouldn’t be right for the Cabinet Secretary to be involved in that sort of thing.”

And he added:

“It clearly wouldn't have been appropriate to ask the cabinet secretary to start investigating the veracity of the police logs. That is a matter for the IPCC not the cabinet secretary.”

Which clearly shocked several of the MPs on the committee. Even if it wasn’t appropriate for the Cabinet Secretary to start wading through police logs, wasn’t that part of the problem? As Bernard Jenkin put it:

You weren’t asked to get to the bottom of it, you didn’t think it was your obligation to get to the bottom of it, and because of your failure to get to the bottom of it, the government lost its Chief Whip.”

Which, appropriately enough for this tangle of a story, leaves us back at the beginning of the post. Jeremy Heywood will have enraged plenty of Tory MPs today, some of who have already been expressing their anger to the Mail’s Tim Shipman. One said to me this afternoon: “Now we know this wasn’t an actual investigation, just another civil service box-ticking exercise.”

9 Dec 2012 08:21:49

Boris Johnson and Michael Gove sign up to new Tory-led campaign for same-sex marriage

By Tim Montgomerie
Follow Tim on Twitter

Screen Shot 2012-12-09 at 08.24.45

As reported widely in today's written and broadcast media a new Tory-led group has been formed to support equal marriage. You can read more about 'Freedom to Marry' on its website.

I should declare an interest. Some months ago I made a conservative case for gay marriage on this website and I've joined the group as one of its supporters. The other initial supporters are listed below:

  1. Gavin Barwell MP
  2. Lord Black of Brentwood    
  3. Alistair Burt MP
  4. Iain Dale, Publisher and LBC Radio Presenter
  5. Ruth Davidson MSP, Leader of the Scottish Conservatives
  6. Jane Ellison MP
  7. The Rt Hon The Lord Fowler PC    
  8. The Rt Hon Michael Gove MP
  9. The Rt Hon Nick Herbert MP (the driving force behind the group and author of an article for The Sunday Telegraph)
  10. Kris Hopkins MP
  11. Margot James MP
  12. Bernard Jenkin MP
  13. Boris Johnson
  14. The Rt Hon Patrick McLouglin MP
  15. The Baroness Noakes    
  16. Matthew Parris, Journalist
  17. The Rt Hon Nicholas Soames MP
  18. Paul Swaddle, President of the Conservative Party National Convention
  19. The Rt Hon Desmond Swayne TD MP

As media outlets have noted the support of evangelical Christians Alistair Burt and Desmond Swayne as well as the Catholic Cabinet minister Patrick McLoughlin is an indication of the group's broad base. More high-profile supporters will be announced in the coming days and weeks.

Continue reading "Boris Johnson and Michael Gove sign up to new Tory-led campaign for same-sex marriage" »

7 Nov 2012 11:33:34

Conservative MPs (including David Cameron) respond to Barack Obama's election victory

By Peter Hoskin
Follow Peter on Twitter

Here's David Cameron's statement:

“I would like to congratulate Barack Obama on his re-election.

I have really enjoyed working with him over the last few years and I look forward to working with him again over the next four years.

There are so many things that we need to do: we need to kick start the world economy and I want to see an EU-US trade deal.

Right here in Jordan I am hearing appalling stories about what has happened inside Syria so one of the first things I want to talk to Barack about is how we must do more to try and solve this crisis.

Above all, congratulations to Barack. I’ve enjoyed working with him, I think he’s a very successful US president and I look forward to working with him in the future.

Continue reading "Conservative MPs (including David Cameron) respond to Barack Obama's election victory" »

17 Oct 2012 20:28:21

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

By Paul Goodman
Follow Paul on Twitter

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".


3 Sep 2012 19:42:37

Tory MPs take the opportunity to give Clegg a kicking

By Peter Hoskin
Follow Peter on Twitter

Get Adobe Flash player Our Parliamentarians are back in town — and, boy, don’t we know it. There have been two rather cranky, yet noteworthy, Q&A sessions in the Commons today.

The first featured Michael Gove, and can be watched in its entirety here. The Education Secretary repeated the main points from his Today Programme interview this morning: that he will not intervene in the GCSE marking row as it is a matter for the exams regulator Ofqual, and that he and the government will soon announce their GCSE reform plans, presumably designed to make the exams more rigorous.

The second came after Nick Clegg’s statement about Lords reform, in which the Deputy Prime Minister confirmed — as if confirmation were needed — that the Coalition’s plans for the second chamber are no more. Some Tory MPs cheered as Mr Clegg grumbled through his lines, seemingly delighted at his discomfort. “'I can confirm that the Government has today withdrawn that Bill,” he said, “about which I am not as happy as members behind me are.”

But there was anger, as well as merriment, from the Tory benches — for, after his original statement, Mr Clegg reaffirmed his intention to vote down the boundary changes, claiming once again that they were wrapped up in the same policy package as Lords reform. “Nothing will change my mind,” he added for emphasis, even though there remains speculation that something eventually might.

It was around this point that Eleanor Laing cited Mr Clegg’s previous words on the matter:

“The Deputy Prime Minister has confirmed that on 6 August, he said that, the House of Lords Reform Bill having been withdrawn, his party would no longer support the boundaries legislation. Does he recall that on 19 April, in answer to my questions, he told the Select Committee on Political and Constitutional Reform that there was ‘no link’ between the two issues? Does he accept that he cannot have been telling the truth on both occasions?”

Soon after, Jacob Rees Mogg asked a question that began in tongue-in-cheek but ended with a rasp:

“May I commend the Deputy Prime Minister on his remarkable statesmanship with regard to the boundary changes? He will be pleased to know that the commission was proposing a North East Somerset that would have been a safe Lib Dem seat, so I am in with a sporting chance of being back after the next election. However, now that he has said that Lib Dem Ministers will vote against Government policy, I wonder what his definition of collective responsibility is within a coalition Government.”

And, before them both, Bernard Jenkin had implied that Mr Clegg’s actions were a “disgrace”:

“My right hon. Friend should comfort himself: he gave it his best shot, with all his sincerity, and we respect him for that. May I draw his attention to the fact that the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011 remains in force? Therefore, the boundary commissions remain under a duty to make proposals on a House of 600 Members. Does he have the power to instruct them to stop? No, he does not. Is he therefore not simply going to obstruct a constitutional process for his own party political advantage, which is a disgrace?”

What was particularly striking, apart from these Tory attacks, was the ferocity of the Deputy Prime Minister’s attacks against Labour. At one point he described them as “miserable little party point-scoring politicians,” which will do nothing to invalidate the idea that he could never take his party into Coalition with Miliband & Co. (or, more accurately perhaps, his party could never take him into Coalition with Miliband & Co.).

So, first day back for Nick Clegg, and he already seems to be antagonising MPs on all sides. He’s really only safe in the Cabinet Office now.

6 Jul 2012 15:05:03

Backbench Tories irked by Lib Dem threats over Lords reform

By Matthew Barrett
Follow Matthew on Twitter.

Since the interview with a recently-departed senior Nick Clegg aide, Richard Reeves, in this morning's newspapers, which intimated there would be consequences for the Government's boundary review if backbench Tories vote against stopping debate on Lords reform, a number of Tory MPs have appeared in the media to express their thoughts - from frustration to amusement - at the Lib Dems' threats.

Dan Byles - Parliamentary Candidate for North Warwickshire & Bedworth1Firstly, Dan Byles (North Warwickshire) on BBC Five Live, expressed his disappointment that the vote next week will be whipped:

"The idea that a fundamental and irreversible constitutional change should be pushed through with the usual whipping and guillotining that happens on more routine bills is just unthinkable. Coalition policy was to seek a consensus on House of Lords reform and I think it’s pretty clear to anyone watching this debate that they failed to achieve a consensus."

Bone Peter JulySecondly, Peter Bone (Wellingborough), appearing on the Daily Politics show, was asked how he felt being threatened by the Lib Dems. He replied:

"Quaking in my boots. ... They just can’t be trusted. I mean, the deal was they got this wretched AV vote in return for the boundary review. They all voted for that bill, I actually voted against the bill, and now because they didn’t get what they wanted in the AV they’re now saying ‘well it’s all about House of Lords reform.’ ... House of Lords reforms were bringing forward proposals, seeking agreement, but nothing about legislation. The Prime Minister said it was a third term priority. A consensus is a consensus, and we’re still seeking it. We haven’t quite made it yet."

Continue reading "Backbench Tories irked by Lib Dem threats over Lords reform" »

6 Jul 2012 13:17:19

41 Tory MPs join call by Robert Halfon MP for OFT to investigate high petrol prices

By Matthew Barrett
Follow Matthew on Twitter.

C-home Fairness for motorists

Robert Halfon, the Member of Parliament for Harlow, and one of the most successful campaigning MPs in Parliament, has organised a motion, backed by 60 MPs from all parties, and including 41 Tories, calling for the Office of Fair Trading to investigate allegations of price-fixing by British oil companies. The full motion is worded as follows:

"That this House urges the OFT to investigate oil firms active in the UK; calls on the Government to consider the emergency actions being taken in other G20 nations to cut fuel prices, for example President Obama strengthening Federal supervision of the U.S. oil market, and increasing penalties for “market manipulation”, and Germany and Austria setting up a new oil regulator, with orders to help stabilise the price of petrol in the country; finally urges the Office of Fair Trading to note that the Federal Cartel Office in Germany is now investigating oil firms active in the UK, after allegations of price-fixing."

Continue reading "41 Tory MPs join call by Robert Halfon MP for OFT to investigate high petrol prices" »

14 May 2012 12:07:22

The People's Pledge announce shortlist of 39 constituencies for new European referendums

By Matthew Barrett
Follow Matthew on Twitter.

4pm update: People's Pledge sources tells me that Anne Marie Morris, the MP for Newton Abbot has come out in support of a referendum

Mike Freer, the MP for Finchley and Golders Green, has also backed a referendum. This is significant because Freer was not one of the 81 rebels, but has now come round to the view that Britain should have an in/out European referendum. 

These two new additions to the list of MPs supporting the People's Pledge means 68 MPs - from several parties - back a referendum. 


PeoplesPledge2Following on from their successful referendum campaign in Thurrock - turnout was higher than in the recent local elections - The People's Pledge campaign have announced further referendums, to be held in 3 contiguous seats. The campaign has announced a shortlist of 39 seats, grouped in 13 contiguous triples, from different regions, from which one triplet will be chosen in the next few days, with a polling date set for late July.

Continue reading "The People's Pledge announce shortlist of 39 constituencies for new European referendums" »

8 May 2012 13:03:56

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

By Matthew Barrett
Follow Matthew on Twitter

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)".

Continue reading "The 2010-12 parliamentary session was the most rebellious on record" »

4 May 2012 12:05:47

Record of how Conservative MPs are reacting to the local election results

A variety of reactions are pasted in this blog. The names of those calling for some change of message, priority or operational changes are emboldened. We have also included the contributions of MPs who have not advocated substantial changes.

5.45pm A little round-up of what Tory MPs have said during the day:

David Ruffley MP advocated radical economic measures - and a withdrawal from the Coalition if Lib Dems won't back them:

"I think now with the position now where there was a Coalition Agreement two years ago but quite a few senior colleagues think that was then, this is now. We didn't think two years ago that the economy would still be flat on its back and everything now has to be directed towards getting the British economy going. And yes it does mean looking at tax again but also, a freer labour market, the hiring and firing proposals to make sure that young people aren't turned away from jobs because of the very onerous social employment protection legislation in this country, so we should say to the Liberals on things like that which they are blocking, 'Listen we are in a real hole now. We need some radical economic polices put in place and you go with it and if you don't, we how would you like a general election?'"

Peter Bone MP urged the Government to drop any "wishy-washy" policies in the Queen's Speech:

"You can see what happens when there is a Conservative Government, because there was a Conservative Government run in London by Boris and he got re-elected. He put forward Conservative policies and he got re-elected and he bucked the national trend, and that really should be a message for the Coalition. Be more conservative and be less liberal wishy-washy and I think that’s what the voters would like to see in the Queen’s speech.” 

Continue reading "Record of how Conservative MPs are reacting to the local election results " »

30 Apr 2012 17:12:02

Boss (Bercow) gives Man (Cameron) bad day at the office. So Man kicks Cat (Miliband).

By Paul Goodman
Follow Paul on Twitter

And that really is almost all there is to say about Ed Miliband's urgent Commons question on the Jeremy Hunt affair, granted by the Speaker, which David Cameron had to change his diary to answer.

The Prime Minister was clearly enraged by Bercow's decision (he made a point at the beginning of his statement of reiterating that both he and Mr Hunt had answered Commons questions only last week), but it isn't done to shout at the Speaker.  So he shouted at Mr Miliband instead.

The Leader of the Opposition's case was that the Culture Secretary is clearly in breach of the Ministerial code.  Mr Cameron's answer was...oh no, he isn't!  But if he is, the Leveson Enquiry will make that clear, won't it?  In which case, I'll act then!

Continue reading "Boss (Bercow) gives Man (Cameron) bad day at the office. So Man kicks Cat (Miliband). " »