Friday, 18 September 2015

Telegraph Morning Briefing..

Can we trust MPs to police themselves? The Commons Committee on Standards, composed mostly of MPs, decided on Thursday to clear that Jack Straw and Sir Malcolm Rifkind over a "cash for access" revealed by the Telegraph, and now some of its members have expressed major doubts about the rules.

This comes after our reporters, working with Channel Four's Dispatches programme, found that both Parliamentarians were offering to use their positions on behalf of a fictitious Chinese company in return for payments of at least £5,000 per day. Despite this, Parliament's Standards Commissioner Kathryn Hudson found that "there was no breach of the rules on paid lobbying" after accepting assurances from Sir Malcolm and Mr Straw that they were speaking "off the cuff" and were not intending to back up their words in meetings with actual actions. The Standards Committee in turn issued a thinly-veiled threat to journalists not to carry out such investigations in future, promising to "consider further the role of the press in furthering … understanding and detecting wrongdoing."

Can the public trust a regime where MPs are effectively marking their own homework? They now need a sensible outside watchdog. "The sorry tale of Sir Malcolm and Mr Straw and the standards committee's shameful response prove beyond doubt that MPs cannot be trusted to regulate themselves over lobbying," we say.


"Obviously the system is flawed...the House of Commons is incapable of regulating itself." Martin Bell
If At First You Don't Secede...
If At First You Don't Secede...

David Cameron today marked the first anniversary of the Scottish independence referendum by urging Nicola Sturgeon to "move on" and stop obsessing about breaking up the UK. This comes as Alex Salmond boasted to the Independent that the pro-independence side "would win" if there was another referendum. "One feels for the Prime Minister: he has enough battles to fight," Fraser Nelson writes in today's paper. "But the battle for Scotland is still very much one of them."

PM: #JezHeCan't
PM: #JezHeCan't

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will get "nowhere near power", David Cameron has claimed. Michael Deacon was struck by the Prime Minister's "thumpingly frank" remarks, which did not mention Corbyn by name. "The Tory plan make Mr Corbyn and the entire Labour party synonymous, so that Mr Corbyn's successors will be damaged by him too," he adds.

This comes as members of the Privy Council have warned Jeremy Corbyn that he will "embarrass" the Queen if he fails to kneel when he joins next month. Owen Paterson told Chris Hope: "He should grow up or go back to the back benches and play around like some sort of bearded activist." Dan Hodges sympathises with Corbyn, writing: "Let's not force him to his knees...let him keep his self-respect."

Taxing Questions
Taxing Questions
Jean-Claude Juncker has denied any role in designing the corporate tax system of Luxembourg, a country he governed for two decades, which is said to have helped multinational companies cut billions from their tax bills.
McDonnell Sorry After IRA Ire
McDonnell Sorry After IRA Ire

John McDonnell, Labour's shadow chancellor, has been forced to apologise "from the bottom of his heart" for saying the IRA should be honoured but faced criticism for attempting to "justify" his remarks by saving they helped to save lives.

Red Mist
Red Mist

Labour MP Jess Phillips has apologised after telling Diane Abbott to "f**k off" during a heated row about a lack of women in the top shadow cabinet jobs. Asked by HuffPostUK's Owen Bennett (no relation) what Ms Abbott did after her blunt request, she replied: "She f**ked off".

I Came, I Saw, iPlayered
I Came, I Saw, iPlayered
The BBC should ensure that people are able to use the iPlayer when they travel abroad, John Whittingdale has said
Spy Hard
Spy Hard
The head of MI5 has launched an unprecedented attack on social media companies, saying they have a "responsibility" to pass on intelligence of potential terrorism, Tom Whitehead has more.
Tweet of the day
"I'm just going to keep telling @JeremyCorbyn he's for Scottish independence until he starts saying it too. #SexySocialism"
Stats of the day
£5,000How much Rifkind and Straw wanted per day to use their positions for a fake Chinese firm
£67,060Their annual salary as MPs
More stats & analysis from our Politics team
From The Telegraph
Fraser Nelson - Cameron must wake up – the battle for Scotland, and the Union, is still being fought
Jeremy Warner - More firms are about to go bust - and that's a good thing
Liam Fox - London mustn't have a veto on Heathrow
From Politics Comment
Sophy Ridge - Meet the next leader of the Labour party (sorry Jeremy Corbyn)
Kate Andrews - Donald Trump slumped in the Republican presidential debate, and yet he still won
Glyn Gaskarth - Poor people need more bobbies on the beat
Julia Hartley-Brewer - Why should I pay for Jeremy Corbyn's friend Claire to have so many children?
From Elsewhere
Andrew Marr - Between revolution and reform: the challenge facing Jeremy Corbyn
Lord Ashcroft - Corbyn is doing the job as he understands it – and as his supporters intended
Isabel Hardman - Grumpy People
Today - First anniversary of Scottish Independence referendum/John Kerry begins three-day visit to London to meet Philip Hammond
Also - "The World Goes Pop" exhibition on at Tate Modern/Rugby World Cup begins with England v Fiji at Twickenham
09.05 - Nick Clegg MP speaks at the Royal Television Society convention in Cambridge
11.00 - Prime Minister David Cameron holds discussions with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades
20.00 BBC Radio 4 - 'Any Questions?', with guests Deputy Leader of the House of Commons Therese Coffey, Labour MP Tristram Hunt, Owen Jones and Allison Pearson
Tomorrow - Lib Dem Autumn Conference begins