After the indignity of having his own adjournment debate cancelled (to the intense annoyance of the travel industry lobbyists who had worked late to observe the session on air passenger duty), Henry Smith has further shamed himself by lying about the incident to his local paper.
Contacted by the Crawley News to explain why he was late, the Tory MP felt his “dog ate my homework” instinct kick in:
“There was some last-minute business which overran and as a result the adjournment debate had to be rescheduled.”
As Henry well knows, adjournment debates are not cancelled because previous business overruns — a similar session on dangerous dogs got under way at 12:38am last year. The Table Office have confirmed Smith’s tardiness with another Commons official telling Scrapbook:
“They are not affected by the previous business overrunning … The only reason it wouldn’t take place is that the member wasn’t there.”
The incident recalls “Porky Pie-gate”, in which Labour minister Frank McAveety was sacked as a Scottish minister in 2004 after telling Holyrood he “was unavoidably detained” on ministerial business when he was, in fact, scoffing a plate of pie and beans in the Parliament cafe.
Thankfully, however, as a rebel in last night’s EU vote we won’t be seeing Smith near a red box for the foreseeable future.