"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

PMQs: Summary & Videos

The House paid tribute to Captain Rupert Bowers; Sgt Luke Taylor & Lance-Cpl Michael Foley who lost their lives in Afghanistan and Cpl Jack Stanley who succumbed to injuries sustained.
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Another noisy game of verbal ping-pong was played today and the House was particularly noisy. Miliband led with the cut in 50p tax rate - is it true that it would it be worth £40m pa to "Britain's millionaires". Cameron switched to the improved unemployment figures released this morning and effectively asked and answered his own questions. Miliband quickly turned the topic around again to tax increases, pensioners, charities, pasties, churches, families with children. He quoted a report from the Institute of Fiscal Studies which shows families with children will be £500 pa worse off this year.

Cameron did his best to rebut Miliband but it probably got lost in the jeering and cheering. He couldn't resist a dig at Livingstone's tax returns, the Bradford West bye-election, Galloway, the fuel strike, the Unions and Miliband had a dig at Osborne's two hats, Francis Maude and anything else he could think of. They were like two dogs, each growling and gnawing furiously on their own bones. Harman smirked and Balls mouthed and gesticulated. From what I could see, Cameron was flanked by Sir George Young and the laid-back Osborne.

During backbenchers' questions Douglas Carswell asked Cameron to explain the disparity between two comments he made - one in Britain and one in Burma - regarding the sway of Civil Servants. A bit of a ruckus ensued when Cameron told him to get a sense of humour. It was all go in the House today and the HonMembers left their dignity at the door, as usual.

Your MP: Toadie or Independent Thinker?

Naomi Long, Alliance, East Belfast; Stephen Barclay, Con, North East Cambridgeshire; Karl McCartney, Con, Lincoln; Rev William McCrea, DUP, South Antrim; Steve Gilbert, LibDem, St Austell & Newquay; Kerry McCarthy, Lab, Bristol East; Richard Bacon, Con, Norfolk South; Teresa Pearce, Lab, Erith & Thamesmead; George Freeman, Con, Mid-Norfolk; Andrew Smith, Lab, Oxford East; Andrew Selous, Con, South-West Bedfordshire; David Blunkett, Lab, Sheffield Brightside & Hillsborough; Stephen Mosley, Con, City of Chester; Ian Murray, Lab, Edinburgh South; Paul Uppal, Con, Wolverhampton South-West; Kelvin Hopkins, Lab, Luton North; Caroline Dinenage, Con, Gosport; Gordon Marsden, Lab, Blackpool South; Douglas Carswell, Con, Clacton; Alex Cunningham, Lab, Stockton North; James Clappison, Con, Hertsmere; Anas Sarwar, Lab, Glasgow Central; Claire Perry, Con, Devizes; Kate Green, Lab, Stretford & Urmston; Andrew Percy, Con, Brigg & Goole; George Galloway, Respect, Bradford West;

Matters raised:
Transparency of political parties in N Ireland; NHS doctors who can't speak English; getting on top of the deficit/Standard & Poors' UK credit rating; Kingsmills massacre in N Ireland; 'Pasty' tax; dinner party donations/rising cost of food; sale of Lotus in Norfolk; staffing levels at HMRC; Livingstone/tax avoidance;  closure of ACE children's learning centre; Ken Livingstone & his tax arrangements; criticism of judges/politicians /libel/parliamentary privilege; human rights in Burma; tax cuts or millionaires/by how much will Cabinet benefit; hi-jacking of postal votes amongst 'South Asian' voters; 'Granny tax'/pensioners; bungled investigation into young British girl missing in Germany; 20% VAT rate on places of worship; the Sir Humphrey factor - true or false; charity tax; universities admitting students on basis of merit; unemployment; keeping children safe online/ISPs shd do more; child benefit & child poverty; tax on business/mobile caravans; Afghanistan/accelerated withdrawal of British troops

A Point of Order was raised immediately by Ed Balls regarding the 50p rate and the PM's figures but Cameron had already left the House. Bercow accused Balls of "using a contrived device to continue the debate".

Videos to follow.

By the way, take a look at this: eFIG . I caught part of an astonishing interview between Andrew O'Neil and a Kenneth Freeman, chairman of the European Federation of Interior Landscape Groups (yes, really) who are responsible for maintaining the twelve fig trees in Portcullis House at a cost to the taxpayer of £30million pa.

Here's Galloway in action:






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