The new way to stay in power – do nothing (and just one Tory rebels)

The new way to stay in power – abstain on anything important

“… Dr Wollaston, chairwoman of the health committee, at one stage threatened to vote against the Government unless ministers recognised they need to address a “fundamental flaw”.

… Dr Wollaston rebelled against the Tory whip by voting in favour of Labour’s motion.

She was the only Conservative MP to do so, according to the division list.

The result of the vote released by the House of Commons also said DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds voted in the aye lobby in support of Labour’s motion.

But Mr Dodds told the Press Association he did not vote in the aye lobby, adding: “They made a mistake.”

Labour MP Anneliese Dodds (Oxford East) was not listed on the ayes despite speaking out against UC roll-out in the debate.

Raising a point of order after the vote, Ms Abrahams said: “This is a major defeat for the Government on their flagship social security programme.

“Conservative whips and the Prime Minister have spent today strong-arming Conservative MPs to vote against a pause of the rollout of Universal Credit.

“While the Secretary of State has retreated on various aspects of his Universal Credit policy, in a panicked attempt to appease Tory MPs who know that the policy is not fit for purpose.

“Yet again, the Prime Minister and the Tories cannot command a majority in the House of Commons.

“The Prime Minister is in office, but not in power.”

Commons Speaker John Bercow said: “A resolution of the House of Commons is just that, an expression of the view of the nation’s elected representatives in the House of Commons.

“Constitutionally, and this is important…the House cannot direct ministers, and it is for ministers in the Government to decide how to respond to the clearly expressed view of the House.”

Mr Bercow added that he felt confident ministers would do so, having granted an urgent debate on the Government’s response to opposition day debates just two weeks ago

Tory MP Peter Bone (Wellingborough) said it would be helpful where a substantive motion was passed that the Government came to the House to explain what they intended to do about it.

Mr Bercow responded it was “a statement of fact” Labour’s motion was passed, adding: “I think it highly desirable that the Government, in the light of the result, should come to the House and show respect for the institution by indicating what it intends to do.”

Tory former minister Sir Edward Leigh questioned what the point of the Commons was if it merely expresses opinions “for the sake of it” as he made a point of order following the vote.

He said he had trooped through the lobbies to vote on hundreds of divisions on Wednesdays over 34 years as an MP, and that he was “under the impression that it served some purpose”.

And what worries me is that surely there is some sort of precedent here.

“This is not and should not be a university debating society, what is the point of the House of Commons if we just express opinions for the sake of it and surely when we vote it should have some effect?”

The division list was later updated, with Mr Dodds’ name no longer on the ayes list and Ms Dodds’ name appearing on the list of Labour MPs who supported the motion.”

Swire’s recent preoccupations: bolshie young people and Nay Pyi Taw

Recent questions and comments in Parliament

It seems that Swire still thinks politics is mired in the Russian revolution and that he is still at the Foreign Office.

Or, is he just toadying up to Boris in case Bojo becomes Leader and has promised great things to (only a select few of) those who might support him in this aim?

Bolshie young people not thinking the Tory way:

“A hundred years ago this month saw the start of the Russian revolution, which unleashed misery and purges against millions of Russian people. Although we are right to remind future generations and younger people about the evils of the past, for example through Holocaust Memorial Day, does my right hon. Friend agree that we owe it to the younger generation to educate them about the warped and failed Marxist-Leninist ideology that continues to unleash misery across the world? People should be very worried about that.”
[Boris Johnson replied in whole-hearted agreement]

Myanmar – Muslims in Burma

Hugo Swire: The hon. Lady makes an extremely good point about nationality, except that the British Government have shown to the Government in Nay Pyi Taw evidence kept in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office referring to a Muslim population in that part of what is now Burma going back many hundreds of years.”

Don’t punish the bully, punish the victim, says Tory donors

This is extraordinary. In any other walk of life a bully would be punished and his or her victim given support. In this increasingly mad party, it is the other way round. In this case the bully is being joined by other bullies to force the victim out of a job.

And as for raising more money from “ordinary” voters – do people not realise that these donors are now desperately squirreling away their cash to cushion them against Brexit problems. With lots of it probably going to those tax havens they love so much.

As an employer – for that is what Tory donors are – these rich donors who are calling the tune – it should be ashamed of themselves. But alas, shame is something rich Tory donors have never and will never experience.

And every member of the Conservative Party shares in this – including our MPs Swire and Parish if they stay silent and join in bearing in mind Swire tweeted his support of bully-boy Johnson very recently, after his attack on May.

Tory party members – you are all complicit with the behaviour of these bullies. Pay your subs and be one of the rabble they will call up on their behalf – that’s your role. And take over paying for their share while they still pull your strings.

“Conservative donors have called for Theresa May to stand down because she is being “bullied” by colleagues including Boris Johnson.

Following an ill-fated conference speech and rumours of a backbench plot against the prime minister, two wealthy supporters said the party must act quickly and install another leader.

In a further development, the party is discussing plans to emulate Labour and widen its financial support away from large donations from a select group of wealthy donors to smaller donations from its ordinary members.

Charlie Mullins, the founder of London-based Pimlico Plumbers, said May must leave because she was being bullied and undermined by Johnson.

He said: “She has got to go for her own sake. It is getting embarrassing. If this was a boxing match, the fight would have been stopped. She has been put in a position where she is being bullied, she is being intimidated, they are making her life hell. These are Conservative people who are destroying this woman and it needs to stop.”

Mullins, who has donated £50,000 and spent £30,000 on a stall at this year’s conference, said the foreign secretary had been successfully undermining the prime minister.

“She is a broken woman. They are setting her up,” he said. “Boris is not a fool. He knows what he is doing. Boris is knocking her at every opportunity he gets because he wants to be prime minister. Boris has been a big part of destroying this woman. …

A second donor said May appeared to be too weak to fight the business community’s corner and should leave by Christmas if the party wants to retain financial support from entrepreneurs.

The businessman, who has given more than £300,000 in total, said: “[The party] is losing support in the City. People worry that the Tories are taking us over a Brexit cliff edge and May looks too weak to control her ministers.

“We need to act now. Whether she is replaced by an old guard member like Michael Fallon or new blood, I am not sure.”

The Conservatives have grown increasingly concerned about the party’s failing support from big donors in the business community.

While the Tories generated £1.5m in membership fees last year, Labour raised £14.4m, according to figures published in August by the Electoral Commission.

John Griffin, the founder of taxi firm Addison Lee who has given more than £4m to the Conservatives, told the Guardian that he has had preliminary talks with party officials about helping to widen financial support from a select few individuals to other less wealthy donors.

“I think the party has performed very poorly in that particular area, so I have a cunning plan and we will be having meetings about that this month. They have underperformed in the area of collecting money,” he said.

“We don’t really want donors to give large sums. We want lots of people to give smaller sums. That is the plan. The Labour party are making a better fist of it. We need to consider that and emulate them.”

Griffin declined to go into further details but said he raised the idea with May at a fundraising dinner at the Dorchester hotel in central London last month. “She supports the idea in principle,” he said.

Griffin, who gave £1m to the party before this year’s election, said he wantedMay to remain as prime minister and called for Johnson to be given a “smacked bum” for undermining her.

“Boris has been a naughty boy and needs a smacked bum. That’s where I stand. He is a nice bloke, but there is a time for everything and he needs a bit more dignity,” he said. “I have encouraged the prime minister to make sure that these people in the cabinet stand in line and she must exercise her power.”

Where’s Hugo and Neil? Hugo adored Boris’s speech and doesn’t think politically uneducated 16-year olds should be allowed to vote, Neil is worrying about farmers and plastic bottles

Anyone caught sight of Swire or Parish at the party conference? All we have from Hugo today are a couple of tweets on his Twitter account but they could have come from anywhere – Saudi, Maldives, Mid-Devon … and tweets on protecting farmers, plastic bottles and a desperate hope for a last-ditch meeting about Axe Valley college.

But we DO know Hugo adored Boris, as he re-tweeted:

“The most barnstorming speech of the conference so far. You’ve got to give it to him!”


He doesn’t like the idea of 16 year old voters unless they learn what’s best for them in school:

“Against 16 yrs old voting but might be prepared to look at it if politics and constitutional history were compulsory subjects in schools.”

So what’s different about 17 and 18 year old voters who didn’t get inculcated at school?

Looks like the education cuts and teacher shortages mean he won’t be changing his mind soon …!

And Neil?

His tweets today have been on:

Protecting farmers:

“My piece for @politicshome @housemagazinecz on food, farming & Brexit talks. @CommonsEFRA will be ensuring @DefraGovUK stands up for farmers”

Toadying to Gove on plastic bottle deposits

90% of plastic bottles are recycled in Denmark & Germany. We need a bottle deposit scheme here too. @michaelgove is right to be in favour.


Shutting the door after the 6th form horse has bolted at Axminster Academy which has announced closure of its 6th form:

“Urgent meeting set up with @AxeValleyCC & now writing to @JustineGreening . We must find a solution for A-Level Axe Valley pupils locally.”

Which came first: national Tory policy or East Devon Tory policy?

“Jacob Rees-Mogg has compared this year’s Conservative conference to a North Korea-style rally, saying the party will face a crisis unless members are given more stake.

Rees-Mogg said ordinary party members had no power to debate policy compared to when he first entered politics. He told a Policy Exchange fringe meeting:

It has now become like an American presidential convention where we just expect them to turn up and cheer the great and the good. It isn’t even American, it’s Kim Jong Un style. If it stays like that for long enough we’re going to be in real trouble.

Asked about whether the party needed to give more power to its members, Rees-Mogg said:

We treat them appallingly. We expect them to do all the work, deliver all the leaflets, go out in the rain and then the CPF [the members’ policy-making forum] sends in its reports and it gets ignored. We used to have system that took the policy ideas from our members seriously.”

The Red Tape Initiative – West Dorset MP and pal of Swire’s new, er, initiative

Does anyone else find this declaration of interest by Oliver Letwin, West Dorset MP, oldxEtonian pal of Swire and Cameron, champion of privatisation of anything and everything, but particularly the NHS, somewhat worrying?

Remember Letwin has been the centre of several controversies and foot in mouth incidents as well as authoring, with John Redwood (1988) “Britain’s Biggest Enterprise – ideas for radical reform of the NHS”.

He is now, as of April 2017, the founder and Chairman of the Red Tape Initiative, which he describes in his Parliamentary Declaration of interest:


“From 19 April 2017, Chair (unpaid) of the Management Board of the Red Tape Initiative; a cross-party think tank established to identify regulatory changes that can be made by political consensus speedily after Brexit. (Registered 19 April 2017)”

which is made up of:

“Leading Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat politicians [who] have agreed to join the Advisory Board, alongside other distinguished people entirely independent from any political party.

The CBI, BCC, IOD and FSB are working with the RTI to construct groups of experts from a range of industries – as well as representatives of environmental and other NGOs – who can help us identify changes that could quickly be made in specific areas of EU regulation, with immediate benefits for jobs and businesses in the UK and with no adverse effects on our ecology or our society. We will be consulting relevant trade unions – via the TUC – on the proposals that emerge, in order to ensure that they are acceptable to employees as well as employers.”

Unfortunately, there is no list of the Management Board or of people, other than Letwin, who make up this group, other than someone called Nick Tyrone, whose blog can be found here:

who had had a couple of relatively short tenures as leader of think tanks Radix and CentreForum, and who seems to work from a Centre in Westminster Kingsway College according to the postcode on the RTI website, but we do know its first three priorities:

The first three areas that the RTI will address are:

1) the construction of housing

2) the construction of infrastructure

3) training and apprenticeships”

Ah – developers and zero-hours employers? Oh, Owl is SO excited!