By Matthew Barrett
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We know that 91 Tories voted against the Lords Reform Bill last night. That's the big, headline grabbing figure - the biggest rebellion in this Parliament.
Wednesday, July 11, 2012 in Aidan Burley MP, Fiona Bruce MP, Gordon Henderson MP, Heather Wheeler MP, Jackie Doyle-Price MP, James Arburthnot MP, John Stanley MP, Mark Pritchard MP, Mike Weatherley MP, Neil Parish MP, Oliver Heald MP, Pauline Latham MP, Priti Patel MP, Rebellions, Rehman Chishti MP, Robert Buckland MP, Roger Gale MP, Sir Paul Beresford MP, Stephen McPartland MP, Tim Yeo MP | Permalink | Comments
By Paul Goodman
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If Labour's failure to vote against the 50p rate cut they've criticised was yesterday evening's Commons farce, a small number of Conservative MPs helped to provide the serious fare.
Graham Brady, Douglas Carswell, Christopher Chope, Philip Davies, Edward Leigh, David Nuttall and John Stanley - voted in favour of the budget, but have also been listed as having abstained on a specific later vote on child benefit.
The proposed removal of the payment from 40p rate taxpayers was watered down in the budget, but not enough for some backbenchers, evidently.
Chope has been forceful on the matter recently, holding a debate in Westminster Hall. Sir John Stanley accounced this week that he is leaving will leave the Commons at the next election.
Cautionary note: counting absentions is a tricky business, since the absence of an MP from the division lists can mean that he's abroad, or has been slipped, or has simply missed the vote.
Hat-tip: Sky's Sophie Ridge
By Tim Montgomerie
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News reaches me that Sir John Stanley joins James Arbuthnot as a sitting Tory MP who has announced they won't seek re-election. In the past these retirements would have produced much excitement among those on the candidates list. In this parliament - with the number of MPs set to fall from 650 to 600 if the boundary review is approved - the spare seat will help the whips find a slot for one of Sir John's colleagues whose own seat might have disappeared or been changed beyond recognition. In Kent that's likely to be sports minister Hugh Robertson.
Sir John told his Tonbridge and Malling Conservative Association Association AGM of his intentions last night.
First elected in 1974 Sir John was PPS to Margaret Thatcher when she was Leader of the Opposition. He has served as a minister in the defence, housing and Northern Ireland portfolios.
By Jonathan Isaby
Sir John Stanley, the Conservative MP for Tonbridge and Malling, believes that by the way it is handling expenses claims, IPSA is effectively stopping MPs from being able to discharge their duties and, as such, could be in breach of parliamentary privilege.
He has given notice that he wants the Commons Standards and Privileges Committee to investigate this charge and is seeking the backing of colleagues for a technical motion that would allow for this to happen when the Commons returns from the summer recess.
This afternoon Sir John wrote the following letter to parliamentary colleagues:
He declares an interest as an MP who has experienced "substantial interference" in the performance of his parliamentary duties "as a result of the terms and methods of operation of the IPSA MPs' Expenses Scheme".
IPSA and the Privilege of Freedom from Obstruction
"In the Westminster Hall debate on the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority initiated by David Winnick on June 16, I raised the issue as to whether IPSA may be in breach of the Parliamentary Privilege of freedom from "Obstructing Members of either House in the discharge of their duty" (Erskine May p.143). I referred to the advice I had taken from the Clerk of the House as to the ambit of that privilege (Hansard 16 June 2010 Cols 143-145WH). I said that this key issue for MPs and their staff needed to be placed before the Standards and Privileges Committee at an early date.
"I shall therefore when the House returns on Monday September 6, in accordance with the required procedure, be submitting an application for a Precedence Motion to Mr Speaker. For newly elected MPs who may not be familiar with this procedure, it is only by making an application for a Precedence Motion to The Speaker that MPs can have a breach of Privilege complaint considered by the Standards and Privileges Committee.
"The establishment of IPSA has created an unprecedented constitutional situation. Never before in the history of Parliament has a statutory body outside Parliament had the capacity, however unintended, to cause "substantial interference" (Erskine May p.167) with MPs' performance of their parliamentary functions.
"It is clear that the boundary between the statutory authority of IPSA and the ambit of the Parliamentary Privilege of freedom from obstruction needs to be defined, and defined by the House itself. I request therefore that you consider supporting my application to Mr Speaker for a Precedence Motion."
In an emergency statement to the House, and in her first statement to the Commons in her new role, Theresa May MP reflected on the "senseless" murder of twelve people in Cumbria yesterday by Derrick Bird. She paid tribute to the emergency services. The Home Secretary announced that one hundred detectives had been assigned to the investigation of the tragedy. Mrs May confirmed that Mr Bird's two firearms were properly licensed. She will go to Cumbria tomorrow with the Prime Minister. More funds will be made available to the police, local government and local charities if necessary. Calls for a debate on Britain's gun laws are not just "understandable" but "right and proper" but, Mrs May continued, there should be no rush to judgment until full facts are established.
Most MPs did not press the Home Secretary to make instant judgments but John Pugh, the Liberal Democrat MP for Southport, did say that it was beyond his comprehension that a taxi driver could legally own such firepower as Mr Bird possessed. Labour's Kate Hoey said that Britain had among the most stringent gun laws in the world and urged caution in reviewing them. Mrs May said there would be no knee-jerk reaction but she hoped that the Commons would have an opportunity to debate related issues before the summer recess.
John Stanley MP urged that questions were asked about the rapid reaction times of armed police. Ben Wallace raised the issue of sharing 'protective services' between the Lancashire and Cumbrian constabularies.
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