A 24-hour whirlwind saw the government spend political capital defend a particular conservative who was caught in violation of lobbying rules, narrowly win the vote, to execute a U-turn the next morning, only for the Conservative deputy a resign anyway. After the backlash from angry voters who made their views known to Conservative MPs, and following the decision by the Labor Party and other opposition parties to boycott the newly established committee, Jacob Rees-Mogg revealed Thursday morning that the government would sought cross consensus after House of Commons leader also said any new system will only apply to “future cases” as he identified a “strong feeling” among MPs that “it should not be based on a single case or applied retroactively. “. Owen Paterson learned this news and resigned.
Labor is hoping this is not another scandal – like Priti Patel, Greensill, shady contracts and many others – that the Tories somehow manage to overcome seemingly unscathed and with a stable lead in the polls. With Paterson’s resignation as an MP, the party had to change its plans to move forward with history. Angela Rayner picked up the jaw-dropping comments made by Secretary of Affairs Kwasi Kwarteng, who suggested Independent Parliamentary Standards Commissioner Kathryn Stone consider her position and called for an investigation. This was a “blatant abuse of his power and influence, when he knows full well that the commissioner cannot defend himself,” Rayner told the prime minister’s independent adviser for ministers’ interests.
But Labor is unwilling, as previous reports had indicated, to step aside in the next North Shropshire by-election in favor of a cross-cutting “anti-sleaze” candidate. The proposal was inspired by the 1997 Martin Bell v Neil Hamilton contest, but there are crucial differences: Paterson will not show up this time, and this will be a by-election rather than a general election that automatically offers higher turnout. However, some criticized Labor’s decision not to adopt the plan.
If there was going to be a by-election provoked by a 30-day suspension of Paterson and a recall petition with the required number of signatures, perhaps it was worth thinking about. The idea that opposition to corruption can stay in the news longer is tempting, and no opposition party has much of a chance of winning in this secure conservative seat without a cross-cutting solution. However, without Paterson on his feet, the idea doesn’t really fly. And although discussions took place between opposition parties yesterday, they only highlighted the practical difficulties of such a plan. Also, if Labor wants to make this a clear dividing line between itself and the Tories, rather than between politicians and everyone else, shouldn’t the anti-sleaze candidate be yours?
There are a lot of by-elections coming up. In the secure conservative headquarters of Old Bexley and Sidcup, Daniel Francis of labor will face Louie French on December 2nd. We still don’t know if the Tories will want to do North Shropshire sooner or later. There is also Southend West after the killing of David Amess, although the opposition parties will follow Batley and Spen’s precedent in 2016 and refuse to resist.
The most interesting is Leicester East. Claudia Webbe was expelled from the Labor Party, we revealed yesterday when the independent MP, showing little sign of resigning, received a prison sentence of less than one year. This means that unless your legal appeal is successful, a recall petition will be initiated. 10% of eligible Leicester East voters would need to sign it to force a by-election. The battle would spark another great conversation about the coalition of Labor voters and would be the most important for the party by far outside this group.
Potential candidates have already begun to contact Joblist. Advice from locals on what’s happening in Leicester East to prepare for a possible contest is more than welcome.
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