Anna soubry

End of the party: Change UK shutting up shop

And so, with little fanfare and somewhat inevitably, The Independent Group for Change (formerly Change UK, formerly The Independent Group) has announced the gradual cessation of all party activity. In reality, the party was over the moment Boris Johnson successfully managed to engineer a general election, and probably well before then. Undoubtedly this announcement will be a bitter blow for the remaining handful of TIG faithful (no sniggering, please). The party promised a radical transformation of British politics. But these promises were somewhat undermined when TIG revealed that they had been forced to change their name following legal action by the petition website The old Twitter account was then

Where are the howls of protest when Anna Soubry appears on the BBC?

Political debate, as we are forever being told, has become coarser in recent years. But there is a bigger change of which rather less is said. Debate seems to focus less and less on actual arguments and more and more on seeking to deny the legitimacy of those who are speaking. Never mind what they are saying – what right do they have to be granted this forum? This phenomenon is never more prevalent than when Nigel Farage pops up on the television, and Twitter is instantly filled with people demanding to know: “who does he represent?”. “Never elected to UK parliament on the seven occasions he tried and with

Change UK holds post mortem after EU election humiliation

Change UK has been holding post-mortem meetings about its failure to win any seats in last week’s European elections, I understand. Members of the newly-formed party met up this week to discuss what to do next after it only secured 3 per cent of the vote overall.  Critics have suggested that it’s already all over for Change UK, and even its optimistic members accept that the party is going through a very difficult phase. There is talk in some quarters of a merger with the Liberal Democrats- and it was notable that both Mike Gapes and Anna Soubry praised Jo Swinson, who is standing to lead that party. Even those

Portrait of the Week – 10 January 2019

Home The government drifted towards a vote by the Commons, which it had cancelled in December, on its withdrawal agreement from the EU. British and European officials discussed extending the period under Article 50 before Britain leaves the EU, which would otherwise come into effect on 29 March. ‘We’re continuing to work on further assurances, on further undertakings from the European Union in relation to the concern that’s been expressed by parliamentarians,’ Theresa May, the Prime Minister, said. She even invited groups of MPs for a drink at 10 Downing Street to court their votes. The government was defeated by 303 votes to 296 on a cross-party amendment to the

Eight people who’ve changed their Brexit position

It can be hard work keeping track of how Brexit is going. Last week alone we had the government adopt a series of amendments which were designed to wreck the very plans they had put forward, a minister resign in order to support the government’s original position, and a president argue that the proposals both would and would not make a trade deal possible with the US. Meanwhile, other politicians have contributed to the general level of confusion by dropping their old beliefs at will and adopting new ones with newfound zeal. Whether these changes of heart are indications of the power of argument and persuasion, or simply politically expedient

Blue on Blue: Nadine Dorries attacks Anna Soubry – ‘they’ve lost the plot’

Oh dear. As No 10 attempt to stop more Commons rebellions today on the customs bill, relations between Tory Remain rebels and Tory Brexiteers have hit an all-time low – and that’s saying something. Appearing on the Daily Politics, Nadine Dorries launched a broadside against Anna Soubry over her comments in the Chamber on Monday – when the Tory MP accused her Brexiteer colleagues with a ‘gold-plated pension and inherited wealth’ of backing Brexit to the detriment of people’s jobs. One such Brexiteer colleague’s response? Dorries just described it as ‘one of the worst moments that we have ever seen or witnessed in the chamber’. “No longer anger, they have

Will Amber Rudd now join Anna Soubry in the Brexit awkward squad?

To the disappointment of Conservative MPs and the delight of Labour politicians, Amber Rudd has resigned as Home Secretary – but the best politicians can always clutch victory from the jaws of defeat. Or at least that appears to be what Anna Soubry is trying to do. The arch-Remainer has taken to social media to lament Rudd’s passing – praising her ‘great courage and immense ability’. Soubry goes on to add that she will give her a ‘huge welcome on to our back benches’: V sorry that @AmberRuddHR has resigned. She is a woman of great courage & immense ability. Amber will be missed in many ways. We’ll give her

Burns burns Soubry

Oh dear. This week Boris Johnson will give a speech intended to unite the country over Brexit – and, most importantly, reassure Remain voters that Brexit Britain is a country that can and will reflect liberal values. Offering a trailer for the speech on Westminster Hour was the Foreign Secretary’s PPS Conor Burns. Speaking to Carolyn Quinn, the Conservative MP hailed BoJo the man to restore ‘hope and optimism’ in the country. Only he stopped short of saying Johnson’s optimism would be enough to win over chief Conservative Remainer Anna Soubry. CQ: Mr Johnson’s big Brexit speech is billed as an appeal for unity on Valentines’ Day. Restoring love between

Will Labour Brexiteers keep the withdrawal bill clean?

With second reading of the EU withdrawal bill coming this week, there’s a lot of speculation about Tory rebels and what amendments might be able to command a majority at committee stage. But there won’t just be rebels on the Tory side. There will be some Labour MPs who will be prepared to defy the party whip in the interests of getting the bill through without any changes. These Labour rebels could be crucial. For every Labour rebel, will cancel out a Tory one. It doesn’t matter if Anna Soubry votes against the government, if Kate Hoey votes with it. One minister closely involved with the bill told me last

Was this Tory MP watching a racy clip in the Commons?

Parliament is back – but already some MPs are bored. One Tory backbencher was snapped glancing at his phone during the opening session in the Commons this afternoon. Yet the picture of the MP watching a clip on his mobile – which was tweeted out by Anna Soubry – raised a bigger question: what on earth was he watching? The unnamed MP appeared to be watching a racy video on his phone, with rumours flying around about what exactly was keeping the politician so occupied. Mr S. isn’t sure – although he can’t help but think that whatever the honourable member was up to, it doesn’t look to be Parliamentary business… Update: It

Brexit Bill debate: MPs are confused about their job description

The debate over the Bill allowing the government to trigger Article 50 has been surprisingly good-natured, so far, given the stakes. There have been some impressive speeches from all sides, and even some humour. We have learned very little about what the Bill entails and have been largely unsurprised by what each MP has said: Labour is in a very miserable place and shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer laboured this point with great feeling. Ken Clarke opposed the referendum, opposes leaving and isn’t going to change his mind. Nicky Morgan and Michael Gove are unlikely to consider sharing office facilities any time soon (the europhile former Education Secretary intervened on

Irvine Welsh has a taxing time on Question Time

Last night’s Question Time saw David Dimbleby joined by Anna Soubry, Chris Bryant, Douglas Carswell, economist Ruth Lea and Irvine Welsh. As Soubry, Bryant and Carswell all bickered about the government’s use of £9m of taxpayers’ money for EU leaflets, Welsh — who lives in Chicago — said that even if he had a vote, he probably wouldn’t use it. While the Trainspotting author leans towards Brexit, he says the choice is a ‘spurious’ one as either way the economic system will not work to the advantage of the masses: ‘It’s a spurious choice, life goes on very much in the same way and we’ve seen how the world economy operates. How the global

The government would not do more for the steel industry, even if the EU allowed them to

Sajid Javid is the driest and most Thatcherite member of the government. So, it is no surprise that he is — rightly, to my mind — rejecting calls for the nationalisation of the steel industry following Tata’s announcement that it plans to sell its UK steel-making business. But the steel issue has now got caught up in the EU referendum, with the Out side pointing out that EU state aid rules limit what the UK government can actually do to help the steel industry. Now, personally, I doubt that the government would want to do more even if it was allowed to. Yet, some ministers keep suggesting that the government

Dermot Murnaghan vs Anna Soubry: ‘are you sure you’re in government?’

With the Sunday papers filled with stories suggesting David Cameron’s party is in turmoil over the EU, Sky’s Dermot Murnaghan decided to raise the issue with Anna Soubry during an appearance on his show. Alas he got more than he bargained for when the Minister for Small Business — who is known not to mince her words — proceeded to take Murnaghan to task over his ‘seriously boring’ line of questioning: DM: Are you saying ‘oh dear it’s all turning a bit nasty’? AS: No, I’m saying: ‘oh dear this is so boring for ordinary viewers who are not interested in this media bubble, mainly centred in Westminster’. Out here in the real world people

Members of Cameron’s Cabinet are now free to speak their mind on the EU. Here’s what they’re saying

David Cameron’s two hour Cabinet meeting is now over, and the campaign has now started. His Cabinet members are now free to back (or oppose) Brexit, here is a list of who’s saying what. Out camp Michael Gove: The Justice Secretary is to back Out. Entering No.10 he informed reporters that he would be making a statement after Cabinet — only to head straight from Downing Street to Vote Leave’s HQ –where the Cabinet members who are backing Brexit have gathered. Gove has issued a statement — via Vote Leave — describing the decision as the ‘most difficult’ of his political life: ‘I don’t want to take anything away from

Watch: John Bercow takes Anna Soubry to task in Commons showdown

Last year Alex Salmond told Anna Soubry to ‘behave yourself, woman‘ after the pair clashed in the chamber. While it was Salmond who found himself in the firing line on that occasion for his choice of words, Soubry is now back in the spotlight over her Commons etiquette. John Bercow took the small business minister to task on Friday during a debate about job losses in Sheffield where Labour MPs accused her of lacking compassion. Soubry repeatedly heckled Gordon Marsden as he spoke, leading him to ask: ‘will the minister stop chuntering from a sedentary position?’ The Speaker then launched into a rant — urging Soubry to show ‘a basic dignity’: ‘Order! Minister, you have had your

On Question Time, will someone please ask Mehdi Hasan about his views on infidels?

Various readers have been asking if I am doing Question Time, This Week or Any Questions this week. It’s not the BBC’s fault but I’m not able to be in the country at the moment. I am particularly sorry not to be able to do Question Time now that I learn that the line-up includes Mehdi Hasan and Anna Soubry. So could someone else on the panel or in the audience please point out that Mehdi Hasan has expressed similar contempt for us infidels as Isis have? Here is a reminder of a sermon he gave in 2009: ‘The kuffar, the disbelievers, the atheists who remain deaf and stubborn to the teachings of

Anna Soubry and Alex Salmond bury the hatchet following sexism row

Only last month, Alex Salmond found himself at the centre of a sexism row after he told Anna Soubry to ‘behave yourself woman‘ during a Commons debate. The chippy Cabinet minister went on to criticise the former SNP leader for his comments, claiming he had a 19th century attitude to women, by which they ‘should be seen, and not heard’. Happily, the pair now appear to have put their differences behind them during a trip to Aberdeen. Soubry reports that Salmond provided great entertainment on their flight from Aberdeen back to London. The feeling is mutual, with Salmond boasting that Soubry behaved ‘impeccably’ this time around. She even gave him

Dennis Skinner: ‘Gordon Brown and I were the Northern Powerhouse’

After Dennis Skinner successfully won the SNP turf war over his favoured seat in the Commons, the Labour backbencher has been relatively quiet of late. So Mr S was pleased to see him back on fighting form this lunchtime during Business Questions. In what could only be described as an ambitious move, the Beast of Bolsover decided to take on Anna Soubry over George Osborne’s pet project, the Northern Powerhouse. After Soubry talked of the great work the Tories have carried out in the North, Skinner went on to claim that it was actually he who was behind the Northern Powerhouse: ‘I’ve listened carefully for the last half an hour to find out exactly what

Alex Salmond tells Anna Soubry to ‘behave yourself, woman’

Alex Salmond’s reintroduction to Parliament has hit a few bumps in the road this week. He was criticised on Tuesday when he appeared to use Charles Kennedy’s death as an opportunity to push Scottish independence. Now, Salmond has told Anna Soubry, the small business minister, to ‘behave herself, woman’. During a House of Commons debate last night on devolution, he stopped his speech and scolded Soubry for her behaviour in the chamber: ‘Luckily the honourable lady is on the front bench so therefore won’t be standing for chair on one of these select committees, otherwise she would have done her chances no good whatsoever. The Treasury bench should behave better in these debates,