Archive for the ‘John Bercow’ Category

The PR middleman, the Barclay brothers and the expenses scandal

24 June 2009

Henry Gewanter, interviewed on Newsnight last night, is the middleman who was asked to field the MPs’ expenses data to news outlets, with strict conditions attached.

The newspapers were to publish the expenses of members of all parties but not to expose the identity of the source, even under threat of legal action.

Most of the newspapers approached were eager to obtain the data but sought to impose conditions that were unacceptable to Gewenter and the leak’s source. One paper wanted to use the data to destroy the Labour Party (if only) – a detail that has not been reported in British newspapers.

Gewanter said: “This was clearly the biggest exclusive that any journalist on any newspaper I’ve ever talked to would ever get,” Mr. Gewanter said. “And yet I still had to go to more than one newspaper. I was amazed at the lack of vision.”

Nadine Dorries postulated that neither Labour nor the Conservatives were sufficiently eurosceptic for the Barclay brothers who had a hidden agenda in publishing the expenses data. She wrote on her blog that the Telegraph “set upon a deliberate course to destabilize Parliament” by making members of both parties look bad, with the aim of benefiting far-right groups that want Britain to pull out of the EU”.

The Barclays’ lawyers are alleged to have demanded a retraction, causing Nadine to take her blog offline temporarily while she removed from it the offending bits. The lawyers described Nadine’s allegations as “absolutely untrue and highly libelous.”

Whether or not the allegations are true, the Telegraph has done the country a great service, allowing the scandal to flush out the troughers and herald a new dawn in politics. Potentially.

It remains to be seen whether or not Speaker Bercow will push for the needed changes and whether or not MPs, the ultimate deciders, will sanction such changes.

Their judgment of late has been little short of dire, so I don’t expect anything but the most superficial changes – and then, business as usual … until the next election, when we pass our judgment on them.



The island of Sark,
home of the Barclay Brothers.

The hypocrisy of Labour – smearing again

23 June 2009

Labour MP Salter, John Bercow’s campaign manager, called Bercow’s critics “intolerant” and “bigoted”. He claimed that Dorries’s assertion that Mr Bercow received only three Tory votes was “a lie and a smear”.

Asked about the Conservatives’ attitude to Bercow, Salter said: “I think they should grow up. The election of the Speaker is above party politics.

“It’s a shame that these people are so intolerant, so bigoted, that they cannot give the new Speaker at least a few weeks.

“There’s no way that this was organised by the front bench of either political party. No Speaker has achieved such wide support.”

He then went on to smear Dorries, saying that she has: “clearly got severe personal problems with John Bercow. She wrote a disgraceful attack on him in the Mail on Sunday of all places. She said that he’s unfit to serve as Speaker because his wife is a Labour voter.”

“I did the numbers and to get 321 votes we would have needed at least 15 to 20 Conservatives. So that is a lie and a smear, along with all the other lies and smears.”

It’s laughable that a Labour MP who accuses Dorries of a smear, then goes on to smear Dorries! The hypocrisy of Labour seems to know no bounds.

Grubby MPs do it again

23 June 2009

Just when you think you’re at a turning point in depressing times – that things can only get better – Labour MPs indulge in grubby politics and elect the most unsuitable of all candidates to be Speaker.

Did anyone notice that during Speaker Bercow’s acceptance speech in the Commons, he addressed mainly the Labour benches? He fawned. It was as though he were affirming some pact which he had made with them.

Tory MP Nadine Dorries accuses Labour of playing party politics with the vote and says it is “almost a two-fingered salute” to the public.

Not that Nadine’s star shines much. But she’s right.

Bercow is Speaker of the House

22 June 2009

The first Jewish Speaker in Parliament’s history.

From PoliticsHome:

Third ballot

John Bercow 322
Sir George Young 271

Second ballot

John Bercow 221
Sir George Young 174
Margaret Beckett 70 (withdrew)
Sir Alan Haselhurst 57 (withdrew)
Sir Alan Beith 46 (withdrew)
Ann Widdecombe 30 (eliminated)

First ballot:

John Bercow 179
Sir George Young 112
Margaret Beckett 74
Sir Alan Haselhurst 66
Sir Alan Beith 55
Ann Widdecombe 44
Parmjit Dhanda 26 (eliminated)
Richard Shepherd 15 (eliminated)
Sir Patrick Cormack 13 (eliminated)
Sir Michael Lord 9 (eliminated)

Did anyone notice how Bercow, in his acceptance speech, addressed mainly the Labour benches?

He has the responsibility of resurrecting Parliament to the respectable institution it once was. Let’s hope he succeeds.

Speaker – results of first voting tranche

22 June 2009

594 votes cast in total – one spoilt.

Bercow 179 30%
Young 112 19%
Beckett 74 12%
Hazelhurst 66 11%
Beith 55 9%
Widdecombe 44 7%
Dhanda 26 4%
Shepherd 15 3%
Cormack 13 2%
Danda 13 2%
Lord 9 2%

Candidates are deciding who is to drop out – those with less than 5% automatically drop out.

Voting for the resumes at 18:00.

The Speakership election schedule can be found here.

Updates:

19:08: Only Sir George Young and John Bercow in the race. Next voting round at about 19:25 and the final result probably out by 20:30.