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Emrys

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Current location: Scotland
Member since: Sun Sep 6, 2009, 11:57 PM
Number of posts: 5,759

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Tory MP Christian Wakeford defects to Labour, blaming PM's 'disgraceful' conduct

Bury South MP says Tory policies ‘doing nothing’ to help constituents, piling further pressure on Boris Johnson

Just minutes before prime minister’s questions, Wakeford – elected as the MP for Bury South in 2019 – crossed the floor to sit with Keir Starmer’s party, declaring in a letter to Johnson resigning the Conservative whip that he was “incapable of offering the leadership and government this country deserves”.

The move will prove a huge embarrassment for Johnson, who is fighting to avoid enough of his own backbenchers submitting letters calling for a no-confidence vote. Fifty-four are needed to trigger a ballot. Many of those who have written a letter are members of the 2019 intake, like Wakeford. He submitted a letter last week.
...
To raucous cheers in the Commons chamber, Starmer “warmly welcomed” Wakeford to the opposition benches – gesturing to the MP who was sat directly behind him. “Like so many people up and down the country, he has concluded that the prime minister and the Conservative party have shown themselves incapable of offering the leadership and government this country deserved.”

Johnson attempted to appear bullish in front of his own MPs, telling them: “The Conservative party won Bury South for the first time in generations under this prime minister, with an agenda of uniting and levelling up and delivering for the people of BS, and we will win again in BS at the next election under this prime minister.”

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2022/jan/19/tory-mp-christian-wakeford-has-defected-to-labour-says-starmer


If there something Johnson's an expert in, it's BS.

Apart from the scandals currently swamping Johnson and his party, Wakeford's defection in a seat that was part of the much-hyped "red wall" highlights some of the tensions between Johnson's "levelling up" election promises and the absence of delivery, not least in these constituencies.

Not that I'm keen to see Bury South back in Tory hands, but such a radical defection is surely grounds for a by-election, especially as Wakeford has voted for some of the most deplorable Tory policies since the last election. It also maybe says something about Labour under Starmer that a Tory crossing the floor like this is even possible.

Out of the mouths of babes [Twitter video]

This young woman seems to have a better grasp of what's going on than anyone in the Cabinet, as well as a better sense of morals:

https://twitter.com/SnellArthur/status/1482814340101283845
Arthur Snell
@SnellArthur
This is gold.

[Twitter video]


How about a petition to rename Prime Minister's Questions "The Naughty Centre"?

Yay! It's Kick Rees-Mogg Day!

A storm in a teacup (with obligatory cocked pinky) is part of the fallout from yesterday's attempt at a non-apology from Boris Johnson for doing nothing wrong in his own eyes (it ends up it was all the fault of his minions - and not the adorable diminutive yellow-skinned goggles-wearing ones).

Yesterday, Jacob Rees-Mogg was on fine form as he lashed out on Iain Dale's LBC show at Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross for (uncharacteristically boldly) calling for Johnson's resignation:

https://twitter.com/LBC/status/1481353090234261508
LBC
@LBC
'I don't think he's a big figure.'

Jacob Rees-Mogg's response to Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross calling for Boris Johnson to resign.

@IainDale | @Jacob_Rees_Mogg

[Twitter video]


He doubled down on the insult in a later interview on BBC Newsnight:

https://twitter.com/BBCNewsnight/status/1481405891979010054
BBC Newsnight
@BBCNewsnight
“Douglas Ross has always been quite a lightweight figure”

Jacob Rees-Mogg MP says the Secretary of State for Scotland “is a much more substantial and important figure in this”

#Newsnight https://bbc.in/3I0s4wB

[Twitter video]


Ridiculous and useless as he undoubtedly is, Douglas Ross can at least boast about having been elected to his position, in contrast to Secretary of State Alister Jack, who's the archetypal unelected placeman (and equally ridiculous and useless).

Rees-Mogg was unrepentant today, inventing a convention that he predictably failed to observe when he played his part in deposing Theresa May (and later lying to the Queen about proroguing parliament):

https://twitter.com/STVKathryn/status/1481623159942139906
kathryn samson
@STVKathryn
In an interview Jacob Rees-Mogg stands by his comments on Douglas Ross saying:
‘If you take the King’s shilling you are beholden to the crown.’


Not sure if it's a shock that Rees-Mogg appears to refuse to accept Queen Elizabeth's accession (along with decimalization), but there we have it.

It's not the sort of friendly fire-provoked open goal Nicola Sturgeon makes a habit of missing:

https://twitter.com/BBCScotlandNews/status/1481606678961340420
BBC Scotland News
@BBCScotlandNews
"Even I am not as derogatory about [Douglas Ross] as his own Tory colleagues," says FM Nicola Sturgeon, referring to the "lightweight" comment from Rees-Mogg. Read more ➡http://bbc.in/34P4ip5

Live #FMQs updates ➡http://bbc.in/3Kbn3TJ

[Twitter video]


And other Scots Tories joined in the fun:

https://twitter.com/ITVBorderRB/status/1481600605202558977
Representing Border
@ITVBorderRB
NEW: Jacob Rees-Mogg 'should just go and have a long lie down... preferably not in the House of Commons'.

That's the reaction from Scottish Conservative MSP @jamiegreeneUK after JRM called Douglas Ross a 'lightweight'

[Twitter video]


True enough, he has looked inordinately comfortable in the past:


Some of the Twitter responses weren't charitable, the more repeatable of them suggesting that Rees-Mogg should recline "six foot under".

Then Welsh Labour joined the fray:

https://twitter.com/KevinBrennanMP/status/1481599557372891140
Kevin Brennan MP
@KevinBrennanMP
After Jacob Rees-Mogg's remarks about the leader of the Scottish Tories being a lightweight I asked him if he could even name the Leader of the Welsh Conservatives - he couldn't!

[Twitter video]


The Commons' laughter was because the Welsh Tory leader is in fact Andrew R.T. Davies.

As we all sail merrily to hell in a Tory-steered handbasket singing "Rule Britannia", can we enliven the journey by making this a weekly event?

High Court finds Government PPE 'VIP' lane for politically connected suppliers 'unlawful'

Government’s use of system to award deals to two firms during first Covid wave found to be unlawful
...
Describing the allocation of offers to the VIP lane as “flawed”, the judge said: “There is evidence that opportunities were treated as high priority even where there were no objectively justifiable grounds for expediting the offer.”

She added: “The claimants have established that operation of the high priority lane was in breach of the obligation of equal treatment under the PCR (public contract regulations) … the illegality is marked by this judgment.”

More than 32bn items of PPE with a value of £14bn were bought through directly awarded and negotiated contracts.
...
The judge said it was “unlawful” to confer preferential treatment on PestFix and Ayanda on account of their allocation to the high priority lane, but in both cases said that they justified priority treatment on their merits and so would have been awarded anyway. In both instances O’Farrell said this was because the companies were offering “high volumes of PPE” at a time of urgent demand.

The judgment noted that gowns supplied by PestFix were deemed unsuitable for use in an NHS clinical setting. PestFix-supplied FFP2 masks were also found to be unsuitable for use in the NHS while its FFP3 masks failed testing and there were issues with the gowns. There are ongoing commercial disputes with PestFix with respect to the FFP3 masks and the gowns. O’Farrell also said that FFP2 masks supplied by Ayanda “have not been distributed into the NHS”.

Describing the advantages being placed in the VIP lane conferred, O’Farrell said: “Offers that were introduced through the senior referrers received earlier consideration at the outset of the process. The high priority lane team was better resourced and able to respond to such offers on the same day that they arrived, in contrast to the opportunities team (which assessed suppliers and their offers not prioritised through the VIP lane), where the sheer volume of offers prevented such swift consideration.”

It was accepted that the VIP lane did not act as a quality filter, it simply processed all offers provided they were considered credible.

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2022/jan/12/use-of-vip-lane-to-award-covid-ppe-contracts-unlawful-high-court-rules


The meaning of "credible" seems to be stretched beyond the bounds of elasticity here, given the lack of track record among the suspect suppliers and their inability to provide protective equipment the NHS could actually use.

Lib Dems thrash Tories in parliamentary by-election in North Shropshire

North Shropshire: Lib Dems shock win as Tory by-election defeat piles pressure on Johnson

The Conservatives have lost the North Shropshire by-election, a shock result that will put more pressure on Boris Johnson after a difficult few weeks for the prime minister.

Lib Dem candidate Helen Morgan triumphed in the contest sparked by the resignation of Owen Paterson amid a lobbying scandal.

She polled 17,957 votes, ahead of Tory candidate Neil Shastri-Hurst on 12,032.

Labour's Ben Wood was third with 3,686 votes.

https://news.sky.com/story/north-shropshire-lib-dems-shock-win-as-tory-by-election-defeat-piles-pressure-on-johnson-12497814


https://twitter.com/ShropCouncil/status/1471698416178802691
Shropshire Council
@ShropCouncil

Here’s the official vote figures - we will tweet out a link as soon as possible.


https://twitter.com/lewis_goodall/status/1471696670341615620
Lewis Goodall
@lewis_goodall

NEW: 🚨 LIB DEMS OVERTURN 23000 TORY MAJ AND WIN NORTH SHROPSHIRE BY A BIG MAJORITY🚨

Lib Dems: 17957
Con: 12032
Labour: 3686
Reform: 1427
Green: 1738

Maj: 5925

An enormous victory for the Lib Dems and a bodyblow for the Prime Minister.


So a Tory majority of 23,000 became a Lib Dem majority of nearly 6,000 in a seat the Tories have held for almost 200 years.

1.5m damages settlement over Miami Showband massacre

Survivors and relatives of those murdered in the Miami Showband massacre are to receive nearly £1.5m (€1.75m) in total damages to settle claims over suspected collusion with the loyalist terrorist murderers.
...
One of Ireland's most popular cabaret acts, the Miami Showband was targeted as they travelled home to Dublin following a gig in July 1975.

A fake army patrol made up of Ulster Defence Regiment soldiers and Ulster Volunteer Force members stopped them at the bogus checkpoint outside Newry, Co Down.

Band members were made to line up at the side of the road while attempts were made to hide a bomb on the tour bus.

The device exploded prematurely, killing some of the would-be bombers.

Their accomplices then opened fire on the band, murdering lead singer Fran O'Toole, guitarist Tony Geraghty and trumpeter Brian McCoy.

Two other band members, Des McAlea and Stephen Travers, were also injured but survived the atrocity.

https://www.rte.ie/news/courts/2021/1213/1266497-miami-showband/


Stephen Travers has been waging a dogged decades-long campaign for some sort of reckoning and justice over the atrocity.

https://twitter.com/MiamiShowband/status/1470535141592285184
Stephen Travers
@MiamiShowband

On the way home from the High Court in Belfast tonight, I stopped at the scene of the massacre to say a prayer and to tell Tony and Fran and Brian that I hope they can now, finally, leave that field forever.



If you're unfamiliar with the case, Travers posted details of a video last year that explains some of the background (it's been shown on UK terrestrial TV in recent years).

https://twitter.com/MiamiShowband/status/1109017140722614272
Stephen Travers
@MiamiShowband

Available now on Netflix. This happened to us. Similar atrocities continue throughout the world and will not stop while good people do nothing. For the sake of every victim and potential victim of state-sponsored terrorism and injustice, please #retweet.

https://www.netflix.com/gb/TITLE/80191046

Another day, another lie from lying liar Johnson revealed

https://twitter.com/SamCoatesSky/status/1468892847835340806

Sam Coates Sky
@SamCoatesSky
How does No 10 square this:

In May the PM told Lord Geidt that he did not know who was behind No11 flat refurb until Feb 2021

Today the Electoral Commission says Boris Johnson Whatsapped Lord Brownlow in November 2020 asking for more cash for the No11 refurb



On recent form I imagine that, initially at least, whichever mug has to respond to the media about this will say that No. 10 "doesn't recognize" that the No. 11 flat exists.

A day's a long time in politics

At least it has been over last few days for our shiftless shambles of a prime minister and his sordid bunch of fellow travellers.

It's been one of those inflection points that happens so rarely in our politics, with the resulting flak coming from some surprising quarters.

I'm talking about Tory MP Owen Paterson, a grifter of ther first water who seemed only last night to have grossly flouted the law and parliamentary regulations and got away with it.

Paterson had been the subject of a parliamentary standards investigation resulting from his extensive well-paid links to lobbyists.

A couple of days ago:

Boris Johnson to back bid to overturn Owen Paterson lobbying inquiry
Conservative MPs to be instructed to support amendment arguing parliamentary standards commissioner’s probe was flawed

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2021/nov/02/tories-set-to-try-to-overturn-findings-of-owen-paterson-lobbying-inquiry


https://twitter.com/AdamBienkov/status/1455614511914921989

Adam Bienkov
@AdamBienkov
The investigation found Owen Paterson had:

- Taken nearly 3 times his MPs’ salary for "paid advocacy".
- Broken official lobbying rules
- Smeared the commissioner investigating him

So now the government is trying to overturn the unanimous decision to suspend him.

Henry Zeffman @hzeffman
• Nov 2
NEW: Am told an amendment is set to be tabled to the Owen Paterson motion tomorrow by his supporters which would pause his case pending a review of the standards system led by John Whittingdale.

Government whips currently canvassing MPs on whether they would consider backing it


https://twitter.com/AdamBienkov/status/1455789501863841794

Adam Bienkov @AdamBienkov Nov 2, 2021

If successful, not only will Owen Paterson be let off the hook, but most likely so will any MP who chooses to act in the same way in the future.

Adam Bienkov
@AdamBienkov
59 Conservative MPs have put their name to an amendment that would overturn Owen Paterson's suspension and set up a new committee with a Tory veto designed to rip up the existing Standards system that found him guilty of breaching anti-corruption rules.



https://twitter.com/AdamBienkov/status/1455856398114381824

Adam Bienkov @AdamBienkov Nov 3, 2021

Among the list of Conservative MPs backing the plan to overturn Owen Paterson's suspension and rip up the current Standards regime is Karl McCartney, who was recently found to have broken the rules three times.

https://www.businessinsider.com/conservative-mp-karl-mccartney-broke-rules-watchdog-2021-10


Adam Bienkov
@AdamBienkov
Boris Johnson’s spokesman confirms the government will back the plan to overturn Owen Paterson’s suspension and rip up the system that found he had broken lobbying rules.

Pippa Crerar
@PippaCrerar
NEW: No 10 confirms it wants MPs to rip up House of Commons standards procedures in wake of Owen Paterson case.


Even among the incumbent shameless shower of overprivileged chancers, Paterson seems to have been a doozy:

https://twitter.com/nw_nicholas/status/1456328808219529216

Mr Ethical
@nw_nicholas
I'll spell it out as simply as I can. About 2 weeks before the Paterson brokered government contract to Randox was announced, Randox moved their operation into a tax haven.
Why isn't this news?


Well, Mr Ethical, ho hum, another day, another scandal. The public is long bored with this constant drip-drip of sleaze among our richer and betters and has become inured to it.

Or has it?

Before the vote in the House yesterday, immense pressure was put on Tory MPs to fall in line and vote with the government, with a three-line whip being imposed and blatantly unveiled threats being made:

https://twitter.com/nicktolhurst/status/1456353999146344454

Nick🇬🇧🇪🇺
@nicktolhurst
+UPDATE+

Several MPs have told media contacts that "levelling up funding for their constituencies was threatened" if they didn't vote to back the corrupt MP Owen Paterson yesterday.

This is why so many Tory MPs voted for Paterson while simultaneously briefing against Johnson.


Meanwhile, the Tories mounted a concerted media push to paint Paterson as a hard-done-by victim. His wife committed suicide not long ago, and this fact was exploited (even by him) to try to appeal for sympathy - sympathy that in any sane and equitable universe would be judged as misplaced:

https://twitter.com/BrexitBuster/status/1455814584254750720

Brexit Buster
@BrexitBuster
Reminder: this is what greedy Tory swine Owen Paterson really thinks about British pensioners - while he fills his own boots breaking the rules on behalf of his paymasters. Disgusting and despicable - yet exactly the sort of creature Liar Johnson likes around him. #ToryCorruption


NOTE: The forum currently won't let me post all this text as one OP (otherwise I'd have posted it a couple of days ago), so it continues in the comments below.

NYT op ed: Britain Is Heading Into a Nightmarish Winter

LONDON — Long lines outside gas stations. Panicked drivers fighting one another as the pumps run dry. Soldiers deployed to distribute fuel across the country. And in the background, the pandemic stretching on, food rotting in fields and families sinking into poverty. This is Britain in 2021.

Not long ago, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson lifted all pandemic restrictions in July, the mood across the country was cautiously optimistic. A successful vaccine rollout had finally restored cherished freedoms to daily life: visiting friends and family in their homes, socializing with strangers, eating in restaurants. Cases of the virus continued to multiply, but the number of hospitalizations and deaths fell markedly. The nightmare, it seemed, was over.
...
A convergence of problems — a global gas shortage, rising energy and food prices, supply-chain issues and the Conservatives’ decision to slash welfare — has cast the country’s future in darkness. Even Mr. Johnson, known for his boosterish optimism and bonhomie, has struggled to make light of the situation.

The panic of the past week, which recalled old memories (and myths) about the tumultuous late 1970s, was a long time coming. For many months, industry leaders across the economy have warned about chronic labor shortages — of truck drivers, yes, but also fruit pickers, meat processors, waiters and health care workers — disrupting supply chains and impeding businesses.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/01/opinion/britain-fuel-crisis-johnson.html



An idiot abroad

The context is Johnson's US visit after the diplomatic hoo-ha with France over the UKAUSUS defence pact announcement.

Here's Johnson gibbering in broken Franglais on a lawn somewhere in DC:

https://twitter.com/kitty_donaldson/status/1440675040744259584

Kitty Donaldson
@kitty_donaldson

Boris Johnson, speaking outside the Capitol, says it’s time for the French to “prenez un grip” and “donnez-moi un break” after the spat over a U.K. submarine deal with the U.S. and Australia

[Twitter video]


Meanwhile, in Adultland ...

https://twitter.com/julianborger/status/1440712419077017607

Julian Borger
@julianborger

In White House readout of Biden-Macron call, Potus admits fault in AUKUS handling "The two leaders agreed that the situation would have benefitted from open consultations among allies on matters of strategic interest to France and our European partners." Will meet next month.


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