10-11 June 2023 – the weekend’s press releases

  • Sunak must reverse Johnson’s “happy hour honours”
  • Ed Davey to launch Liberal Democrat bid to win Mid-Bedfordshire with sewage visit

Sunak must reverse Johnson’s “happy hour honours”

The Liberal Democrats have called on Rishi Sunak to step in and reverse Boris Johnson’s “happy hour honours” list, and ban him from standing again for the Conservatives.

It comes after Boris Johnson stood down yesterday with an attack on the Privileges Committee.

Ministers are able to cancel an honour after it has been awarded, to preserve the integrity of the honours system.

Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper said:

Boris Johnson handed out honours to his partygate accomplices before quitting with a Trumpian attack on our Parliament. He is dragging our entire honours system and democracy through the mud.

Rishi Sunak has shown himself to be completely spineless in letting Johnson wreak havoc like this yet again. The least he could do is step in and ensure these happy hour honours are consigned to history along with Johnson himself.

Ed Davey to launch Liberal Democrat bid to win Mid-Bedfordshire with sewage visit

  • Lib Dem Leader makes first full campaign visit to inspect Bedfordshire river at risk from sewage discharges
  • New analysis finds water companies dumped sewage into Bedfordshire rivers for 3,500 hours last year

Today (Monday 12th June) Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey will start the firing gun on his party’s bid to win the Mid-Bedfordshire constituency.

In his first full by-election campaign visit, Ed Davey will declare the constituency “a close race between the Liberal Democrats and out of touch Conservative party. Next month, people across Bedfordshire have the chance to finally get rid of this chaotic sham of a Government”.

As part of his first visit, Ed Davey will inspect a river which is at risk of sewage discharges by Anglian Water. A protest was held last month in Bedford against polluting water companies and there have been reports by local dog walkers in Leighton Buzzard of rivers being turned brown.

Analysis by the Liberal Democrats finds water companies dumped 3,500 hours worth of sewage into Bedfordshire rivers last year on 472 separate occasions.

Ed Davey will also knock on doors to listen to local people and their concerns.

The Liberal Democrats have proven to be the best challengers against the Conservative party in rural Blue Wall seats. The party won three historic by-elections against the Conservative party and in last month’s local elections, the Liberal Democrats gained over 400 seats, mostly in Blue Wall contests against the Conservative party.

The Liberal Democrats have considerable strength across Bedfordshire, including ousting the Conservative party from controlling Central Bedfordshire council this May, and running Bedford Borough Council for almost two decades. The constituency is also neighboured by Liberal Democrat MPs including Sarah Green, winner of the Chesham and Amersham by-election.

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

The British public have had enough of the endless Conservative party sleaze and scandal. Next month, people across Bedfordshire have the chance to finally get rid of this chaotic sham of a Government. Mid-Bedfordshire will be a close race between the Liberal Democrats and an out of touch Conservative party.

Lifelong Conservative voters in towns and villages across the country have been telling me it’s time for change. These communities are backing the Liberal Democrats to send this Government a message.

This Conservative government is taking people for granted; from spiralling mortgage rates, to record NHS waiting lists and sewage in rivers.

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7 Comments

  • Mel Borthwaite 12th Jun '23 - 10:57am

    Good to see Ed on the front foot on this one. A couple of by-election wins should get us the momentum we need going into the General Election next year.

  • George Thomas 12th Jun '23 - 12:37pm

    Reading a Twitter thread by Robert Saunders, @redhistorian, author of “Yes to Europe! The 1975 Referendum & Seventies Britain” etc. etc.

    “Johnson’s rise tells us much that is troubling about British political culture. If we pretend this is just about him, we’ll learn nothing of value from his premiership. And others will exploit the same weaknesses in future. ”

    I still don’t understand the reasons behind Daisy Cooper saying “he (Boris Johnson) is dragging our entire honours system and democracy through the mud.” It might be muddier where Boris is dragging it but it was already dirty before that.

  • Steve Trevethan 12th Jun '23 - 2:56pm

    Might ex-PM’s honours lists be intrinsically a form of corruption in an (alleged) democracy?

  • Steve Treventhan,

    It is certainly a form of reward for political service of some kind whether that be service as an MP, councillor, Civil servant, Donor or some other public service.
    Whether this kind of Patronage can be classed as corruption depends on the motivation for the patronage. It is not illegal, but is subject to scrutiny as we can see.
    There are many more blatant forms of corruption such as the award of government PPE contracts to Tory party supporters who were wholly incapable of meeting the requirements of the contracts.
    Is the leadership of the SNP guilty of corruption? Former executives have been arrested and brought in for questioning about an alleged fraud arising from utilisation of funds (purportedly raised for a 2nd Scottish independence referendum) for general purposes of party campaigning and operations, rather than being ringfenced for the specific purpose for which the funds were raised.
    In my view ex-PM’s honours lists are not inherently corrupt. Nor are the SNP’s alleged breaches of electoral law necessarily corruption based on what has been made public so far. The award of PPE contracts to wholly unqualified Tory donors looks like corruption even if not illegal. See Carol Vordeman’s tweets for some background https://twitter.com/carolvorders/status/1634656946081988621
    “The arrogance of it.”
    “What kind of head thinks that way?”
    “I would make laws to make it criminal!”
    “Corporations profiteering on misery like they did during the pandemic should be a crime.”

  • Mick Taylor 12th Jun '23 - 5:10pm

    You can scrap the lot as far as I’m concerned.
    Most people I know do the job of councillor, volunteer or even MP, because they want to help people or change society, not because they might get a gong.
    People have been buying/selling peerages for the last 200 or so years, though of course it’s not the prestigious thing it once was. Time to stop.
    Of course, we should continue to sit in the House of Lords until it is abolished, on the strict understanding that our peers will vote themselves out of a job when the time comes.

  • @ Ian Sanderson “Don’t other people remember the fuss over Harold Wilson’s resignation honours list – the so-called Lavender List ?”…. Yes, indeed, Ian, but it wasn’t half as bad as the current fuss…. and B. de Pfeffel has no monopoly on this sort of activity..

    For my part, I can recall eyebrows being raised in the summer of 2015 and, historically, there are plenty of precedents. I suggest Ian Sanderson does a bit of digging into
    ‘Bronco Bill’ – Sir William Sutherland, Liberal M.P. for Argyll. Maundy Gregory also merits a peep. Bronco and Maundy were great chums of a very famous Prime Minister (the M.P. for Caernarvon Boroughs for over fifty years). More recently, I can recall a certain party Leader getting into hot water for adding ‘the Right Honourable’ in ink to his passport, and another Leader got some very expensive suits from a ‘millionaire donor’.

    “Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher, all is vanity”. Politics is a funny old business … I reflect whenever I get a regular familiar first name email request to DONATE.

    And…. surely…. it’s time to get the ‘British Empire’ bit removed from other gongs even if we can’t abolish the system completely.

    Yours ever, Ian, from a Citizen not a Subject.

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