Lib Dem MP, Jo Swinson, went ballistic this week when she discovered that Tory MP, Brandon Lewis, had voted in a crunch Brexit vote. The problem was that they had a pairing agreement. She was on maternity leave so couldn't vote and he agreed to not vote either.
Pairing is an arcane parliamentary tradition invoked if a member cannot vote for reasons of illness or maternity leave, for example. To make it fair, an MP from the other side agrees not to vote either. Except, Mr Lewis reneged on this arrangement, helping Theresa May inch a little bit closer to Brexit Armageddon.
He claimed it was “an honest mistake” but Swinson wasn’t having any of it. “It’s called cheating”, she raged. Another word is “lying”!😈
Turns out that Lewis was apparently ordered by chief whip, Julian Smith, to break the pairing, and vote. The Times reported seeing evidence that that had been the case and Theresa May got herself into yet another pickle. Then it emerged that Mr Smith has form when it comes to targeting women on maternity leave. Apparently he had previously “lied” to Tory MP, Andrea Jenkyns, allegedly ordering her to come to London to vote, on multiple occasions, while she was on maternity leave.
Fortunately, Tory veteran Michael Heseltine, waded into the row and helpfully explained the fundamental flaw that underpins the pairing protocol. “It’s a gentleman’s agreement” he said. Pausing whilst the slower listeners (it was a Radio 4 interview) caught up. There you have it. The gentleman's agreement, like the old boys' club, is an exclusive club. Women need not apply and if you dare. By god, there will be penalties.
Britain, like the Tories, is in the final stages of decrepitude. I can literally hear the bones creaking.
Elsewhere, Trump left our shores, amid contrails of flatulence and fury, to hang out with the man to whom he owes his presidency. Vladimir Putin. During a Press Conference in Helsinki, he dismissed FBI and CIA claims that Russia meddled in Trumps presidential election. Trump said there was no reason why Russia would interfere with the US elections. But, when it all kicked off back home and people in his own party were calling him a traitor, he helpfully clarified that what he meant to say (though it should have been obvs – PEOPLE – jeez – cue rolling, mad eyes) was wouldn’t. Got it? There’s no reason why President Putin wouldn’t interfere in his presidential election! It’s a double negative, apparently 😱
So, integrity, truth and decency in politics have been replaced by stupidity, lies and contempt for democracy -on both sides of the pond. What could possibly go wrong.
I’m off to have a Brexit breakdown at an undisclosed, secure location. On arrival, all gadgets and electronic equipment will be removed so that I won’t be a danger to myself - or others. For the next 5 weeks, I’m pulling the plug and going off grid.
In the meantime, I'll leave you with this little vid - one of my personal favourites of the 2017 General Election. It's called Liar, Liar. Enjoy!