Westminster Times
Westminster Times

Labour's Newport MP is a doughty campaigner on a number of issues and the latest is against the government's highly controversial anti-lobbying bill.

He has now tabled a Commons motion on the planned law which should stand as an example to all other politicians of how it should be done.

Paul Flynn writes: "That this House notes that the ludicrously mistitled Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill was conceived in fear, drafted in haste and malice and presented with incompetence; observes the bill's failure to reform 95 per cent of lobbying excesses while gratuitously and vindictively imposing unnecessary bureaucratic costs on charities and trade unions; and believes that this bill will be recognised as the signature policy of the ineptocracy created by the coalition government."

So he is against it then.

Thatcher Day

The prize for the best joke at the Liberal Democrat conference in Glasgow - yes, it is not a very big field - must surely go to Nick Clegg who, in the middle of his big speech, delivered this little gem when poking fun at some of the ideas Tory backbenchers had come up with for an alternative manifesto.

"There were some real crackers, honestly, you couldn't make it up. Bringing back the death penalty, the return of national service, privatising the BBC. I even got a mention: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (Abolition).

"They also, by the way, also wanted to introduce an annual Margaret Thatcher Day. I would like to see that on the streets of Glasgow - the first bank holiday where people would rather go to work. "


Is this the fastest split in a political party in living memory?

On the eve of the Ukip's annual conference - which, by the way, sets an example to the other parties by restricting it to a weekend - the English Democrats claimed a coup by announcing it had recruited Ukip's former deputy leader, Euro MP Mike Nattrass, to its ranks.

Even better, it revealed that Nattrass would be its leading candidate in the elections to the European parliament in 2014.

Nattrass is the man who quit Ukip, claiming it was a "totalitarian regime" run by Nigel Farage who excluded anyone who did not agree with him. He disapproved of its high-handed approach to members.

Robin Tilbrook, the English Democrats' party chairman, greeted the defection: " I am delighted to welcome Mike Nattrass as a member of the English
Democrats and look forward to getting him re-elected again as an English Democrat MEP on 22 May, 2014."

Except, he was a little premature - maybe even a touch high-handed?

Within moments of the announcement, Nattrass declared: " I am not going to join the English Democrats. However, I will be speaking at their conference in Leicester on the subject of HS2."

Boris blunders - again

Another example of how London mayor Boris Johnson can get away with just about anything.

Speaking at the Institute of Directors' convention he declared that the economy had reached its "Costa Concordia moment".

"After two years of parbuckling, I think you would agree that the keel is off the rocks and at last we can feel motion beneath."

The universal reaction seems to have been: "There he goes again. It's just Boris being Boris"

Those with long memories, however, will remember Margaret Thatcher's former transport secretary Sir Nicholas Ridley who committed a similar blunder shortly after the Herald of Free Enterprise car ferry sank with the loss of 193 lives after setting out to sea with its bow doors open in 1987.

Ridley had to apologise and his career suffered a significant setback when he told a press conference he would not be embarking on a particular policy "with the bow doors open".

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