Matthew Taylor

Sunday shows round-up: Starmer calls Boris ‘corrupt and contemptible’ over Paterson

Sunday shows round-up: Starmer calls Boris ‘corrupt and contemptible’ over Paterson
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Keir Starmer: PM’s actions over Paterson ‘corrupt and contemptible’

If the government could write its own headlines, the last week would doubtless have been awash with the litany of pledges being churned out at Cop26. Instead, Boris Johnson has managed to earn the ire of not just the opposition, but also his own side of the House of Commons, after putting forward some hastily-retracted plans to reform Parliament’s disciplinary process. To cap it all, Owen Paterson, the MP whose career the proposals were transparently designed to save, has announced that he will be leaving the House after all. The leader of the opposition, Sir Keir Starmer, condemned a ‘pattern of behaviour’ that he said was bringing Parliament, and the country, into disrepute:

KS: Instead of upholding standards, [the PM] ordered his MPs to protect his mate and rip up the whole system. That's corrupt, it is contemptible and it's not a one-off.

We need to ‘make Brexit work’

Marr also asked the Labour leader about whether he would be looking to make changes to the UK’s relationship with the EU, especially any changes that would see the UK drifting more closely back into the EU’s orbit. Starmer said that he was against this, at least for the foreseeable future:

KS: I think we need to make Brexit work… No re-joining, no ripping up the current arrangements and starting again… Don’t just say ‘get Brexit done’ – make Brexit work.

George Eustice: Lobbying u-turn a ‘storm in a teacup’

Environment Secretary George Eustice joined Trevor Phillips to put on a brave face and give the government’s side of the story. Eustice said that he had no doubt that Parliament wanted a reform of the disciplinary process that allowed for a right of appeal, which Paterson in particular felt had been sorely lacking:

GE: I think what we’ve seen is a sort of Westminster storm in a teacup... Yes, we made a mistake in bringing that forward in the way that we did, so we withdrew it.

Tory donors are ‘philanthropists’ who should be ‘considered for the Lords’

Eustice also found himself having to defend a story broken in the Sunday Times, which showed that the Conservative party had an excellent track record of offering peerages to its major benefactors. The paper has claimed that a donation of £3 million or more and a fairly brief stint as the party’s treasurer results in a guaranteed offer of the right to wear ermine:

GE: These people will be philanthropists… who give huge amounts to charity… and therefore on those grounds ought to be considered for the Lords.

Thangam Debbonaire: Johnson and Rees-Mogg should consider their position

The Shadow Leader of the Commons, Thangam Debbonaire, also joined Phillips and wasted little time in calling for heads to roll. Laying into ‘Tory sleaze’, Debbonaire took aim at the Prime Minister, and called the position of her opposite number, Jacob Rees-Mogg, ‘untenable’:

TD: I think their reputation, frankly, is in tatters, and I hope that Boris Johnson also considers his position this weekend, and takes the steps he needs to to repair the reputation of politics.

Susan Hopkins: ‘Long and difficult winter’ ahead without vaccines

And finally, Dr Susan Hopkins, who is now working for the new Health Security Agency, told Marr that people should get their booster vaccinations ahead of the Christmas period:

SH: It’s so important for [people] to come forward for their third dose… Unless people get vaccinated, we will have a long and difficult winter.