Swire tells us to “strap ourselves in” …

Swire’s advice to us in his Twitter post?

“Turbulent times! And more ahead! Strap yourselves in!”

Unfortunately it was followed by several replies on the lines of:

  • your lot caused it so why crow about it;
  • not a good example if “strong and stable”; and
  • when can we look forward to your resignation

Rather backfired …. seems to be catching.

Devon Tory GP MP pours cold water on “extra” NHS funding promise

Owl says: surely “extra” money for the NHS means ALL CCG costings have to be revised? And all the arguments about WHY services have to be cut must be revisited.

“Theresa May has come under fire for promising that a Brexit windfall will provide an extra £400m a week for the NHS. May – who will pledge an extra £20bn in annual real terms from 2023-24 in a major speech – has been ridiculed for linking the money to Brexit savings. “At the moment, as a member of the European Union, every year we spend significant amounts of money on our subscription, if you like, to the EU,” she said on BBC One’s Andrew Marr show. “When we leave we won’t be doing that.”

Two senior Tory MPs, who are also doctors, took aim at May: “The Brexit dividend tosh was expected but treats the public as fools. Sad to see Govt slide to populist arguments rather than evidence on such an important issues,” tweeted Sarah Wallaston, who chairs the Commons health and social care committee. Dr Philip Lee, MP for Bracknell, tweeted: “There is no evidence yet that there will be a ‘Brexit dividend’ – so it’s tax rises, more borrowing or both.”

The PM’s decision to frame extra spending specifically as a benefit of leaving the EU has been widely seen as a sop to hardline Brexiters in her cabinet, echoing Boris Johnson’s suggestion during the EU referendum that Brexit would free up £350m a week extra for the NHS.”


“Downing Street Accused Of Burying Electoral Commission Investigation Into Theresa May’s Advisors”

“Downing Street has been accused of pushing through key Brexit votes before MPs know the result of an investigation into whether Theresa May’s advisors broke the law during the EU Referendum

Stephen Parkinson, the PM’s political secretary, and Cleo Watson – also a Downing Street staffer – are both being investigated by the Electoral Commission as part of an inquiry into whether the official Brexit campaign broke spending limits.

The investigation was launched in November, but the Electoral Commission has now presented its findings to those under investigation. They have 28 days to provide a response to the conclusion before the report is made public.

Labour’s Deputy Leader Tom Watson is questioning if the votes on the EU Withdrawal Bill – planned for Tuesday and Wednesday – are being rushed through before MPs have the chance to consider the results of the investigation.

He said: “Each day the plot thickens about the murky dealings of the various Brexit campaigns.

“Now it seems senior figures at the heart of Number 10 who were involved in Vote Leave could have been informed about the contents of this important Electoral Commission investigation long before anyone else.

“If that’s true Number 10 would have had time to plan and even ensure key Brexit votes like the ones this week could happen before the investigation
should really still be shaping and taking decisions at the heart of Government.”

The investigation centres around payments made by Vote Leave to clear debts of £625,000 run up by university student Darren Grimes with the digital campaign company AggregateIQ Data.

Grimes – who ran the BeLeave group – was allowed by electoral law to spend £700,000 in the campaign.

As the official campaign group, Vote Leave could spend £7million, and if it had commissioned and spent that £625,000 itself it would have breached the spending limits.

The Electoral Commission initially accepted the Vote Leave argument that it had donated the money to Grimes, despite settling the bill with AggregateIQ directly.

A separate group, Veterans for Britain, also received £100,000 from Vote Leave.

But in November it reopened its investigation, claiming new information had come to light.

Downing Street is drawn into the investigation as Stephen Parkinson – the PM’s Political Secretary – was National Organiser for Vote Leave during the referendum campaign.

He is accused by former Vote Leave volunteer Shahmir Sanni of directing how BeLeave should spend money – something which would be a breach of electoral law.

In March, Parkinson revealed he and Sanni had been in a relationship as part of his denial, prompting Sanni to claim his family in Pakistan – who did not know he was gay – were forced to take “urgent protective measures” for their own safety.”


“The government tried to bury news on the bloated House of Lords. Here’s the facts…”

“Theresa May backs bid to cut the size of House of Lords” began a headline in February. It seems that three months is a lifetime in politics…

Over the weekend, the PM attempted to bury news that she is appointing 13 new Lords – amid the clamour of the Royal Wedding. It was a cynical attempt to hide what both the PM and opposition know: new appointments to Parliament’s ‘private member’s club’ are unpopular and wrong.

New research we’ve published in the Daily Mirror today has shown what the new Lordships will mean in practice for the bloated second chamber.

The cost of cronyism

With more members comes more expenses claims. The total cost of the new Peers – based solely in terms of annual allowances and travel expenses – is expected to be at least £289,558 a year, according to ERS analysis. That’s based on the average claim of £22,273.69, for the circa 141 days the chamber sits each year.

But a response to a Parliamentary question last year suggests it could be much higher. The average cost of a peer – looking at the total cost of the House, minus works and building costs, is as much as £83,000 per year – meaning the new appointees may have just added £1,079,000 to the overall annual bill.

When you consider that Peers who failed to speak in the Lords for an entire year claimed nearly £1.3m in tax-free expenses last year, it shows that more members doesn’t even guarantee more scrutiny.

These costly cronies are rarely impartial experts: the new appointments mean the House is now packed with 187 ex-MPs, 26 ex-MEPs and 31 ex-members of devolved institutions – figures which rubbish claims the unelected House is full of independent experts.

Out of control

This latest batch of Lords appointments comes despite a report commissioned by the Lord Speaker, Lord Fowler, proposing a ‘two-out, one-in’ system to bring the total down to 600 by 2027, published at the end of last year.

During a debate on the size of the House in December, several peers expressed embarrassment or discomfort about the size of their chamber:

Lord Harries of Pentregarth said: “I believe that our present size … brings us into disrepute. I feel embarrassed when someone enquires about our size, even when I stress that the average daily attendance is only about 484.”

Lord Selkirk of Douglas added: “It cannot sit altogether comfortably that when legislatures around the world are listed by size, we come second only to the National People’s Congress of China.”

We’ve seen no action since that report, when Peers said they’d start work shrinking the second chamber. So these new appointments, therefore, represent both the inability of peers to regulate their own house – and the unwillingness of politicians to act on this issue.

Time for a clear-out

The House of Lords is already the second largest legislative chamber in the world, behind China’s National People’s Congress. There are more peers than could ever sit in the chamber at the same time and the bulk of the work of the House is done by a much smaller group of peers.

Make no mistake: these new additions are an insult to voters. Given that all parties claim to want to reduce the size of the second chamber, they should act on their word.

We’re calling for the House authorities to refuse to allocate time for the introduction ceremonies in line with that. It is now time for cross-party legislation to finally reform this archaic and super-sized second chamber. We’ve had years of stalling on this front – the main parties must now act.”


Sign their petition here:

“Over a million elderly people missing out on help they need due to dire state of social care system, watchdog warns”

“More than a million vulnerable elderly people are missing out on help they need because of the dire state of the social care system, the UK’s spending watchdog has said.

The National Audit Office (NAO) called for urgent action as it published a detailed report citing evidence showing the number of people over 65 with unmet care needs jumped by some 200,000 in the last year alone.

The body said a spiralling turnover of poorly paid staff and increasing job vacancies are at the root of the problem, which is being worsened by ongoing deep cuts and fewer employees from the European Union since Brexit.

In particular, the NAO struck out at the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) for being unable to demonstrate how it is going to fund care for the elderly in the face of burgeoning future demand.

Ministers know working out how to pay for social care is one of the biggest challenges they face, but have been unable to bring forward clear proposals of how to meet it.

The report said the DHSC’s own modelling had shown the number of full-time jobs in the care system would need to rise by some 2.6 per cent per year until 2035 to meet increased demand.

But the annual growth in the number of jobs since 2013 has been two per cent or lower.

The report said: “The failure of formal care to meet this increased demand may have contributed to the growth in individuals’ care needs not being met.

“Age UK estimated that 1.2 million people over the age of 65 had some level of unmet care needs in 2016/17, up from one million in 2015-16.”

The NAO found that In 2016/17, the annual turnover of all care staff was 27.8 per cent – with care workers. …”


DON’T do as I say! Political hypocrisy at its very best!

“Theresa May’s 2004 Question Time Exchange

Question: “Has the government lost control of its immigration policy?”

Theresa May: “Yes I think the government has lost control of its immigration and asylum policy. Frankly I think we see a degree of chaos in what is happening and what is perfectly clear from what has taken place and been admitted by the Government and by Beverley Hughes in particular at the beginning of this week is that we have in this Government Ministers who simply don’t know what is going on in their Department, we have Departments that deny the truth and have to have it dragged out of them.”

David Dimbleby: “What’s the political remedy?”

Theresa May: “I think there are two things. I do think Beverley should resign as Minister on this particular issue. And I find it absolutely extraordinary that she has said in front of the Select Committee and in the House of Commons she blamed officials in her Department for this particular decision having been taken.

“I find it extraordinary that a Minister isn’t willing just to step up to the plate and take responsibility and it seems to me that you don’t have to take a Ministerial job, you don’t have to take the care and the extra pay and so forth. But when you do there is responsibility that has to be taken with it. And I’m actually sick and tired of Government Ministers in this Labour government who simply blame other people when something goes wrong and are not willing to take responsibility for what is happening under this government and their decisions.”

When Hughes said she couldn’t be expected to manage the civil servants in her department, May responded: “But Beverley, you are the minister who is responsible for what happens in your department.”

The Home Office has also been unable to say how many Windrush Britons have been wrongly deported, blaming a mix-up in paperwork.

May has also faced criticism for failing to act sooner after Jeremy Corbyn raised the issue with May at Prime Minister’s Questions a month ago. …”