Tag Archives: sleaze

Lib Dems demand full statutory inquiry into Prime Minister’s flat refurbishment

Boris Johnson continues to battle his way through the maelstrom of criticism over government partying while most of the rest of the country obeyed the social distancing rules at the cost of a happy Christmas. But as so often happens when one skeleton is found in the closet, another is found under the floorboards.

Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Wendy Chamberlain today called for an independent public inquiry into the refurbishment of Boris Johnson’s flat, after new leaked messages show the PM knew more than previously alleged.

The party believes an independent, statutory public inquiry is needed to get to the bottom of the allegations. The inquiry would have the power to summon witnesses and require them to give evidence under oath, including current and former government ministers and officials, and demand the disclosure of any relevant official documents and communications.

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Hell has no fury like an editor scorned

Paul Dacre, a doyen of the right and former long term editor of the Daily Mail, is raging. In a letter published in The Times this morning, he tells the world that he wants to set the record straight following “increasingly hysterical speculation from the left-wing media” on whether he would be applying again to be chair of Ofcom. He tells us he will not be submitting a new application while lambasting civil servants for working from home and “exercising on their Peloton bikes and polishing their political correctness”.

This episode arises from an attempt by Boris Johnson to stich up the Ofcom appointment. When the original selection panel did not appoint Dacre, Boris Johnson called for the selection panel and criteria to be changed, echoes of how he later tried to change the rules over the suspension of Owen Paterson. This debacle has only pumped more oxygen on the flames of sleaze that are engulfing Boris Johnson’s government.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 1 Comment

Paterson: Lib Dem MPs debate calamitous events of last week

Yesterday, the debate moved on from the behaviour of Owen Paterson to the behaviour of the government, especially prime minister Boris Johnson. Wendy Chamberlain who had requested the debate and said actions of the Government had tarnished the Common’s reputation. Layla Moran said the government had distracted attention from the more important business of COP26. Tim Farron said ministers had undermined trust in democracy at every level and Alistair Carmichael said the decision to whip Conservative MPs was a seriously colossal error of judgment. Closing the debate, Wendy Chamberlain told MPs that the government’s actions last week a clear executive overreach, and the Prime Minister has serious questions to answer. The prime minister did not however attend the debate.

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Johnson sucked into a black hole after Paterson resigns

You can’t lose more credibility than this. Boris Johnson, distracted no doubt by glad handing world leaders at COP26 and his slap up dining with Telegraph grandees at the Garrick, arrived back at No 10 to find that he was swirling towards the black hole of political failure. His attempt to protect North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson from allegations of lobbying on behalf of his food industry paymasters failed. Big time.

Jacob Rees Mogg yesterday cancelled the review of loyal Tory MPs had voted for just hours before. Paterson, back on the hook and facing suspension, resigned.

Dominic Cummings once described Boris Johnson as “a shopping trolley smashing from one side of the aisle to the other”. It is a cruel irony that Owen Paterson was shopping in a supermarket when he learnt that the wheels had come off his political career.

Boris Johnson, who had hoped that COP26 would be his finest hour, has perhaps made the biggest mistake of his political career and even his fellow Tories are raging.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 22 Comments

Commons loses moral compass with Paterson decision

Today MPs today set a new low standard for democracy in the UK. Conservative MPs voted to maintain an image of sleaze against promoting an image of integrity. Instead of suspending Owen Paterson, MP for North Shropshire, they suspended Commons Committee on Standards instead. The Conservatives in the House of Commons have lost their moral compass.

Boris Johnson, boosted by his role as host of COP26, is currently a superhero in Invincible mode. Believing that nothing can harm him, he ordered “his MPs” to vote to protect his ally, Owen Paterson, against allegations of lobbying for companies for which he is a well paid consultant. They didn’t all obey.

Despite a handful of Johnson’s troops rebelling, the authority and integrity of the House of Commons took a nose dive today. Most Conservative MPs voted for their own interests and pockets after Boris Johnson decided that protecting Paterson was more important than protecting the integrity of the Commons.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 18 Comments

[email protected]: Norman Baker – It might be legal, but it’s not right

Over at the Mirror, crusading Lib Dem MP Norman Baker writes (briefly) about the damage that the ‘drip, drip, drip of stories about MPs’ expenses’ is doing to Parliament. Here’s an excerpt (actually, it’s pretty much the whole piece):

We can’t continue to have revelations that the public find so shocking. Jacqui Smith’s homes are a prime example. It’s not acceptable that she can claim her main home is her sister’s spare room. Saying it is within the rules is not good enough. House of Commons officials must be able to veto MPs’ declarations. They need to ask questions like where

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , and | 2 Comments

[email protected]: Chris Huhne – Cleaning up the house

Over at The Guardian’s Comment Is Free blog, Lib Dem shadow home secretary Chris Huhne argues that the cash-for-influence scandal is evidence that the House of Lords requires major reform – and a police investigation. You can read it in full here, but here’s an excerpt:

There are no adequate safeguards within the House of Lords to bring the matter to justice, as there is no easy means of suspending or expelling peers. Unlike the Commons, which was cattle-prodded into reform by Tory sleaze in the 1990s, the Lords has never had a crisis. … That is an important reason

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