Former Labour MP Falkirk MP Eric Joyce has apparently been in yet another Commons bar fight less than one week after completing his sentence for a similar incident. Joyce was given a 12-month community order on March 2012 — this expired just six days ago.
The Scottish MP has refused to stand down despite being expelled from the Labour party. A source familiar with the situation in his Falkirk constituency told Scrapbook:
“People have been trying persuade him to step down but he’s having none of it. He’s even been on about standing as an independent in 2015.”
Joyce seems to have taken the maxim “fighting for your constituents” literally.
A Westminster Hall debate today on the work capability assessments conducted by ATOS was interrupted by shouts from the public gallery, as a newly-promoted Chris Grayling attempted to justify the tests.
Philip Hollobone, chairing the debate, threatened to clear the public gallery as members of the public repeatedly shouted such slogans as “Shame on you!” and “Atos kills, so do the Tories!”
ATOS, as the contractor with responsibility for the work capability assessments, has borne the brunt of criticism over the high numbers of people classified as fit to work, only to win on appeal. Almost 40% of appeals, since the test’s introduction, have been successful.The firm’s sponsorship of the Paralympic games has also come under heavy criticism.
Any hopes that Grayling’s departure for the Ministry of Justice will mean a let up for the disabled are probably misplaced, as his former boss IDS will remain at the DWP.
The Chancellor’s goodwill amongst the Tory right has been severely flagging of late, so the strong positions of Grayling and IDS will not be welcomed in Number 11, especially after they have proved resistant to the idea of further departmental budget cuts. Additionally, Ken Clarke’s apparent “oversight” role could be seen as a threat to Osborne’s economic primacy.
And it looks like Pound’s powers of precognition are right on the money, as it seems she’s being replaced by fellow Lib Dem and disgraced former minister David Laws, at Michael Gove’s Department for Education.
Scrapbook is surprised that Teather’s razor wit wasn’t enough to save her from the chop.
Recess has plucked David Cameron from the House of Commons – but the bullying figure of Harry Paget Flashman from Tom Brown’s Schooldays still stalks the Tory benches. The video above captures the moment when the Tories’ leader in the Lords, Tom Strathclyde, snaps with an opposition member (zoom to 1m06s).
Distinguished peer Lord Barnett — who created the so-called Barnett Formula to apportion public spending in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales — was on the receiving end after he accused the coalition of sneaking out a written statement rather than facing colleagues in the chamber.
It seems Nazi-partying MP Aidan Burley has taken to lecturing others on how to behave. In the wake of an incident in which Lords reform rebels were ordered off the parliamentary estate by whips for fear that another Tory “might do an Eric Joyce” and fight them, Burley opined:
“We have a problem … the late-night, boozing, alcoholic culture of this place. That is something that is made worse by having to wait around until ten o’clock to vote … It is also at lunchtimes, they say.”
Perhaps he should have a word with his girlfriend, Cannock Chase councillor Jodie Jones. Having split with ex-Sky TV presenter Helen Boyle — just months after shamelessly press-releasing their engagement to the media, replete with cheesy picture and cringe-worthy headline – Burley has finally come clean over his relationship with “Britain’s sexiest councillor”, who also works in his office.
Cllr Jones previously piqued the interest of the Daily Mail, after the paper got their hands on pictures of her sprawled in the street with a bottle of wine in each hand.
With rumours that scandal-prone Burley will not be defending his marginal seat in 2015, perhaps Jones would fit in well on the parliamentary terrace.