Making Parliament work

I spoke in Parliament this week on a link from home, as MPs are encouraged to do. I am grateful to the Speaker and House authorities for their hard work in making sure Parliament can meet whilst  obeying the social distancing rules. They responded to those of us who requested we meet.

 We can only have a Parliament by limiting numbers strictly in the Chamber itself, where I would rather be. A Parliament working remotely is better than a Parliament not meeting at all, but there are losses from this temporary system. An MP cannot intervene on another to debate an issue or challenge an assertion. You cannot spontaneously ask a question or decide to make a contribution to a debate. You have to book a slot well in advance, with plenty of competition for such slots. Parliament is meeting for less time so opportunities are more limited.

Readers may be relieved to know there are still plenty of other meetings and communication underway between MPs, though we no longer  benefit from those many informal conversations and rapidly convened meetings that characterise a usual Parliamentary day. Ministers are making themselves available by tele conference. Groups of MPs and committees meet through Zoom or Teams. There is intensified email traffic and phone calls. Many of us are trying to find substitutes for the many face to face meetings and conversations which help shape government policy and government responses to problems.

Meanwhile I sit at home watching Parliament live tv, frustrated that whether at home or there it is not possible to intervene based on  the flow of the debate.

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  1. Lifelogic
    Posted April 30, 2020 at 5:17 am | Permalink

    Good but can parliament get the Government to do some sensible things for once. Do they even want to?

    Cancel HS2 and the zero carbon expensive energy lunacy for a start.

    Yesterday you said the UK was a leading advocate of Free Trade worldwide. Well perhaps worldwide but in the UK (thanks to government) we do not even have free trade or a fair market in health care, energy, schools and universities, housing, transports, employment, the BBC broadcasting and much else.

    The government ensures this (largely with its free at the point of use ruse that virtually prevents real competition and other misguided market interventions). This does massive damage, in the case of the NHS (and indeed energy) it actually kills thousands and make millions suffer delays and incompetence.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 8:30 am | Permalink

      First though, we need to know why we are worst in class at keeping people alive in a pandemic. Let’s look at some of the likely reasons:

      1 -unregulated care home sector, which has to charge high prices because of sky high property costs, themselves due to silly government “help to buy” schemes and similar and too high demand through immigration.
      2 -government-run NHS totally inefficient in its administration and ability to look after staff. If I send staff in to run a machine without a protective cover, I get H & S all over the company like a rash. Yet the NHS can send their staff into worse without penalty., because the gamekeeper is also the poacher, i.e. the government.
      3 – an overcrowded island with too many different culture sets, too close proximity and no proper border control. Somebody stands on a Sussex beach and sees those people arriving who haven’t been picked up already and given safe tenure by the government. Thousands fly in to fan a pandemic without restrictions or testing. Hancock says that doesn’t matter because the effect is small. Well so is the effect of every single resident circulating normally by themselves. The government is culpable.

      Frankly people are going to lose faith, as government appears to be either ineffective or actively against the interests of the indigenous population.

    • Hope
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 10:21 am | Permalink

      Ah JR, you poor thing sneaking out a whopping 3.1% pay rise taking MPs to the top earners at £82,000, with £10,000 additional Chinese virus payment. You must be struggling. We read yesterday how a blackford and Trevelyan in top five epense claims over £240,000. It must be. Worry for you all. MPs also sneaked out the the 650 of you must remain despite all those promises for radical reform following the expense scandal. Nothing under the Tory govt came to fruition, more Secrecyfor investigations and hiking salaries, pensions and expenses to stop the fiddling! As you wrote the other day BoE is not really independent, nor is IPSA. Disgraceful. Were you all, or any of you, clambering to ask for your salaries to be cut by 20% as we are all in it together?

      Ten years of Tory broken promises, targets tests, principles i.e. economy, immigration, interest rate rises, Brexit deadlines etc. In contrast record high taxation, record high immigration- legal and illegal, reord high knife crime and murder rate, record high NHS waiting times and record high debt! Today another broken target. Yet South Korea claims its success to quarantine, testing and tracing! Raab looked like a clown complete plonker trying to justify open borders without any restriction whatsoever! I think it is safe to ignore anything a minister says. 15 minutes after Raab blurbing rubbish about stay home etc a box of champagne delivered inside PM address by a person not social distancing, not delivering essential items and not social distance from the doorman! How many t es has Johnson broke the law/rules he set for the country? Second home, shaking hands etc.

      Buckland made his self look a plonker today, the one who let out 4,000 prisoners to family despite risk of spreading Infection! The broken promises of grooming gang rape of children now to be kept secret, broken promise not to change abortion under the cover of Chinese virus. Now the nation under house arrest because of comsistent tory govt failing over the Chinese virus expected to be told more dither and delay, who coined that phrase?

    • ukretired123
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

      LL agree that the road to hell is paved good intentions and SMEs ( as recently demonstrated by the PPE debacle) do not get to share the workloads monopolised by the Public Sector in all the areas you mention.
      In the meantime I fear for the SMEs as they have had a very raw deal as never understood by the Establishment who pander to Big Business instead consulting advising with vested interest in the status quo.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 30, 2020 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

        Vested interest in the status quo and the ability to often take politicians on as ‘consultants’ and to pay lobbyists at EU, local and UK levels. To restrict competition and often force new products and costly red tape onto consumers that they did not remotely want.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted April 30, 2020 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

        It’s called ‘Corporatism’ as opposed to Capitalism.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

      L/L. Agree. On top of Covid19 and the financial pressures I am sure we will all experience afterwards the last thing we need are extra taxes to drive our diesel cars. People need their vehicles and can’t afford to buy electric so don’t need penalising for driving a diesel.

    • Peter
      Posted May 1, 2020 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      “The government ensures this (largely with its free at the point of use ruse that virtually prevents real competition and other misguided market interventions). This does massive damage, in the case of the NHS (and indeed energy) it actually kills thousands and make millions suffer delays and incompetence.”

      This is simply not true. Most people in the UK are very happy indeed to live without fear of being bankrupted to fund expensive medical care.

      Governments – both Labour and Conservative – have lumbered the NHS with the huge expense on funding PFI projects – a failed accounting wheeze to make the numbers look good in a cursory inspection.

      To add to that, the NHS finds parts of the service are in the sights of the big Health corporations for the lucrative, but uncomplicated, business.

      Furthermore there is now a vast overhead of Health Service bureaucrats on inflated salaries who move from one authority to the next if they fail or need to be removed.

      Things were far better in the early days when hospitals had more autonomy and were efficiently run by Sir Lancelot Spratt and Hattie Jacques types.

  2. Peter Wood
    Posted April 30, 2020 at 5:21 am | Permalink

    Good Morning,

    The system is not ideal but to the outside viewer it can provide clarity. I watched Mr Gove being questioned on Brexit, the questions were mostly apposite and Mr Gove gave clear and informed answers. I came away well satisfied with progress, particularly with the confirmation of no further delay.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      Yes, the questions were good and the answers were good. Likewise when Prof Whitty gave evidence to a parliamentary committee recently. It really shows up the MSM political reporters who can’t manage to form one coherent useful question and don’t listen to the answers anyway.

    • Andy
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      Mr Gove’s performance was dreadful.

      He gave at least one false answer – saying any extension might continue indefinitely
      when that is expressly ruled out by the withdrawal agreement.

      The man is woefully out of his depth. As usual with the Brexiteers they have badly mistaken the big picture and have no grasp of detail.

      It is already clear that one of three things will happen:
      1) We’ll extend
      2) We’ll break the terms of the withdrawal agreement, an international treaty
      3) Or we’ll capitulate and accept whatever terms the EU offers.

      The most likely outcome is 3). Johnson will rely on his skills as a snake oil salesman to tell you he has achieved an unachievable good deal when everyone had predicted a bad deal. I doubt many Brexiteers will even read it.

      This is what he did with the withdrawal agreement. Where he sold out Northern Ireland, agreed to a border down the middle of our country – and accepted –
      bill of billions of pounds which we will be paying until the 2060s. Every Tory MP voted for this capitulation. I doubt any of them read it.

      Most interesting will be to see how Johnson sells his betrayal of the fishing industry.

      • bigneil(newercomp)
        Posted April 30, 2020 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

        Andy – not noticed that these lockdown extensions are going the same way as Brexit extension?

    • Hope
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      Peter, I think Mayhab confirmed no delay to 29/03/2019 108 times in parliament! A furtherthree failed dates, including a do or die or die in a ditch pledges. How many times do you have to be deceived before realising that you cannot trust the Tory govt!

      Perhaps you believe the Tories to balance the structural deficit by 2015, 2018, 2021 then dropped for a permanent deficit in 11th March 2020 budget during Chines virus outbreak, they are low tax despite record high taxation in fifty years, perhaps the immigration targets to be elected three times and record high figures showing the opposite and then for it to be dropped, Cameron would not be involved in EU bail outs- the U.K. was and gave a loan to Ireland, Cameron reformed the EU did you not notice the changes? Johnson claimed Mayhab’s deal was dead, we are now in vassalage because he signed up to it! Johnson publicly said Brexit is done move on, so what is David Frost doing at the moment and Gove answering questions about? How many times do you need to be punched on the nose before you realise it hurts?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 30, 2020 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

        Much truth in this.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

      I did not see it but Gove worryingly does now seem to be another believer in the climate alarmism religion (at least he has shut up about VAT on private school fees). Users of private schools pay three times over already mate. These English Graduates no maths or physics alas. I often wonder (looking at the degrees they hold when they do have them and listening to them debate say climate, transport or energy) how many A levels in say Further Maths and Physics we have among all these MPs? About 50 maybe in total For the 600 odd MP? We even get chancellors and PMs who failed their O level maths!

      No wonder we are so badly governed.

  3. Mark B
    Posted April 30, 2020 at 5:29 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    Thank you Sir John for the update.

    I understand that at least one of your colleagues has questioned the government’s new powers. I cannot remember his name but, he was most keen for this to be debated and, I am sure, once parliament is reconvened, seek to have these new powers repealed. I trust that you are in support ?

    It is vital that the government is seen to be running as close to normal as possible and, that MP’s can speak to their Cabinet colleagues on a whole range of issues. We need to seriously start to open up the country and, if large retailers can sell their products while keeping social distancing, I see no reason why other business (eg garden centres) should be able to do the same. It is important for the government to start to relax the rules as quickly as possible. It is both unfair and illogical for a large retailer to remain open but a small shop with a smaller foot fall to remain closed. If people are to keep faith with the government and its measures it must be seen to be even handed in this.

    • Hope
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      Mark, If the nation can watch on national news television a box of champagne being delivered inside no.10 failing social distancing and PPE the govt can hardly claim it was essential travel or shopping. Against the backdrop many have caught the virus from inside No. 10! Johnson and Symonds have travelled to his second home while ministers condemn others, same for Jenrick and chief Medical officer for,Scotland. At least she had the honour to apologise and resign.

      • Mark B
        Posted April 30, 2020 at 4:31 pm | Permalink


        I am slowly seeing more and more shops opening. A large French sounding sandwich chain had one of its stores open today. Only a limited number of people allowed in. How is that essential ?

        People are becoming more aware that the risk is low. We will see how enthusiastic people are at 8pm today now that the Sun is not shining 😉

        • Fred H
          Posted April 30, 2020 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

          they sell food. Is that different to supermarkets? We gotta eat.

        • Hope
          Posted April 30, 2020 at 7:22 pm | Permalink


          I think when it becomes apparent that the economy has been devastated, huge job losses, businessmbust and homes reposed, reminiscent of Major years the. The people will be angry.

          Johnson forbid Peston on TV today not to use the word austerity! I want to know where that Tory magic money tree is? Corbyn’s plans now appear sane compared to what Johnson has done.

          It must be remembered the Tory Govt. chose to destroy the economy it was not the Chinese virus or inevitable. It was a deliberate choice. Just like the 11th March massive give away budget with a permanent deficit, against ten years of stark contrast promises to balance it!

          JR wanted also wanted more debt! Despite Chinese virus spreading across the world!

          I also seem to remember Johnson snatching the mobile from a journalist who wanted to show him a boy on a hospital floor because it was overwhelmed. He had to ask him to give it back when the camera was rolling! Mass immigration has overwhelmed the NHS for years, no GP appointments, dentists, etc. That was of no concern to the Tory Govt. now they demand we clap! Mayhab was deliberately spiteful to the police, but she failed to realise the public would suffer!

    Posted April 30, 2020 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    When one considers the socially and morally destructive legislation now on the Statute books as a result of your party’s collusion with the opposition we must be thankful that Parliament isn’t sitting in the way it should. Being partially disabled in this manner means it can do less damage and harm if it were sitting at all.

    Parliament is now nothing more than a conspiracy against normality and conventionality. This institution is now owned

    It is my belief that in the next 5 years we will see laws passed by this abhorrent place that directly forbid the expression of all views regarding many aspects of our immediate environment, politics and the world in which we live

    When an institution can pass laws criminalising emotional harm (an undisguised attack on freedom of expression with laws codifying identity politics) and exposing children to social engineering then one can only conclude that it has become not only a danger to itself but a danger to us all

    Please close yourself down. You have done nothing but harm since 1997

    • Peter
      Posted May 1, 2020 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

      “Being partially disabled in this manner means it can do less damage and harm if it were sitting at all.”


      Belgium was just fine without a functioning government for 589 days in 2010/11.

  5. Lifelogic
    Posted April 30, 2020 at 5:34 am | Permalink

    So the government is finally admitting to the many deaths outside of hospital and in care homes. Taking their total Covid19 death figure to circa 29,000. But the excess deaths to date are about 46,000 so what are they suggesting killed (or advanced the deaths of) the other 17,000?

    The truth is that this 45,000 was almost entirely (indeed perhaps more than entirely) Covid19. Are they suggesting 17,000 have died due to lack of NHS care and cancelled procedures in other areas? Why would Government want to do this? Especially as it is not even true?

    The reality is that death in other areas in the short term have probably/almost certainly gone down due to cancelled operations not up. This is what usually happens when surgeons and medics go on strike.

    When the government experts said fewer that 20,000 deaths would be a good result. I suggested it would be nearly a miracle. I put it are more like 100,000 which is about what we will end up with alas. Barring some miracle treatment or early vaccine being found.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      “Admitting” ? What are you on about ? The deaths have always been reported and in the public domain via the ONS data – of course if you get your information exclusively from newspapers you wouldn’t know this.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 30, 2020 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

        Everyday Ministers have been talking, almost exclusively, about just the hospital death numbers at their press talks, until yesterday. Even now they still hugely underestimate. There are, it seems, about the same number of Covid caused (or accelerated) deaths outside hospital as inside. A total now that must be about 46,000. Many deaths in care homes are surely due to hospital pushing out patients as they were told to (often ones infected in hospital) to the care or recovery homes.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted April 30, 2020 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

          Or back home.

      • miami.mode
        Posted April 30, 2020 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

        RG, most people get their news from television and a government minister is there every day telling us what has happened, but obviously selectively.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 30, 2020 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

        Boris just now “no patient was deprived of intensive care, no patient deprived of a ventilator ……”

        So why have about 23,000 patients died without even getting to hospital then? Did they all opt out of any hospital treatment? It seems somewhat unlikely. The NHS after all denies people prompt treatment all the time (even under normal circumstances). Perhaps then he can tell us how many have died in hospital without having be given full ventilation as a last resort and for what reason? Germany and the UK now have had a similar numbers of cases. Mortality (hospital only) in the UK is about 16% in Germany it is 4%. Why do the government and their experts this this might be? It is a very big difference.

    • miami.mode
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 8:11 am | Permalink

      LL, noticeable how figures seem to dip at the weekend with Sunday always being lower than Saturday. This would suggest people aren’t working at weekends.

      Also it appears that some deaths may have occurred days before being announced so they should have 2 charts with one being continually updated with the correct date to give accurate figures.

      With care home figures being ignored until now, this is typical of government workers who are only interested in what they themselves do and do not really consider what goes on outside their closeted world.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 30, 2020 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

        Indeed why do they not correct the figures by date later to give a clearer picture and a smooth curve?

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      “(or advanced the deaths of) ” – There are many old people ( inc. me ) who need regular visits to the chiropodists to get their thick , harder than diamonds, toenails cut, followed by scalpels to cut the rock hard skin that develops on the sole. Now the nails will grow into the surrounding skin, cause infections. The rock hard skin makes walking difficult and puts pressure on old spines. Some will inevitably fall and break bones – and old bones with breaks cause yet more problems etc – – So – – you could well be right LL. After all – old people have long been classed as a burden – after a lifetime working and paying tax they are seen to now have no usefulness.

    • Hope
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      LL, because it is clear Care Home deaths will come to severely bite the Tory Govt through deliberate negligence who forced out elederly people from hospital to care homes without testing or quarantining thereby condemning those infected and those in the care homes to death.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 30, 2020 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

        But the alternative explanation is far worse (and not even true). That circa 17,ooo have died due to not getting proper treatment from the NHS for other conditions. Do they prefer this?

        • Hope
          Posted April 30, 2020 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

          It is clear Johnson panicked and changed course mid March thinking the NHS was going to be overwhelmed, there was piss poor planning by PHE and NHS England, hence Op. Cygnus must be kept secret.

          Prof. Neil Ferguson, to my knowledge, has still not provided the code so his modelling, that scared the Govt. can be verified by peers and other professional bodies. He was wrong on several previous occasions.

          R number still a thumb in the air and at best guess work, until mass testing can be used as part of the equation.

          You. Ishtar recall Johnson saying the reason for nation house arrest was to flare. The curve and squash the somnerero. The goal posts moved several times since then and now some five tests!

          To deflect blame of PPE inadequacies a czar appointed which resoundngly demonstrates Hancock and PHE did not prepare properly. Another deflection a vaccine task force.

          Wow- why would the govt not think a vaccine would be required if there was another SARS type virus ? What bodies would it task to find one? A bit like PPE if there was a world pandemic, clue in title, where or how would it source it from in the country?

          How come South Korea and neighbouring countries of China have performed the best? Perhaps starting by not trusting China and preparing from SARS like test trace and treat, including quarantining and closing borders! Oh and not accepting/ignoring what WHO told them about keep trading and travel open to China! At least Raab was led by the nose to the nation’s detriment.

  6. formula57
    Posted April 30, 2020 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    Reassuring though it is that “Ministers are making themselves available by tele conference” I note you have not expressly advised us of replies from Cabinet members to your letter about reviewing lock-down of over two weeks ago (@ ).

    Surely none of the recipients suppose that just because the world is in crisis they might escape application of the career-ending designation “correspondence challenged”?

  7. oldtimer
    Posted April 30, 2020 at 5:54 am | Permalink

    As a family we are using Google’s Duo to stay in touch. All four families can share a conference call via phone or tablet with four screens even on a small phone. There are versions for both Android and Apple phones. The principal snag is the temptation for members of the family to talk about different subjects at the same time as if they were all physically in the same room. There is lots to discuss. It has been a great way for everyone to stay in touch but is not a substitute for actually meeting together.

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 7:56 am | Permalink


      Agreed whilst video conference type calls are certainly better than nothing, and are useful for keeping in touch, there is no substitute for human contact where a conversation can flow easily to and fro amongst many people, where little nuances, chuckles, laughs, and reactions add to the conversation, not cut it off.

    • a-tracy
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 8:50 am | Permalink

      That sounds better than Facetime where the four family images jump around making everyone seasick 🙂

  8. Javelin
    Posted April 30, 2020 at 5:56 am | Permalink


    I watched President Trump yesterday talk for an hour about how many states will be lifting the lockdown. Millions of tests have been done. State Governors are opening shops and restaurants. The stock market has made record rises.

    Then I look at the British Government. With less people dying of corona than the 80,000 who died of flu in 1968. The Conservative Party are collapsing the economy with less skill the Chairman Mao telling the people to go into their gardens and melt down all their steel into pig iron. Boris Johnson is truely bringing the destruction of a communist revolution … but without the communism and revolution bit.

    • a-tracy
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 8:57 am | Permalink

      Javelin I wonder why we can’t come out regionally, such as the South West come out but restrict human travel outside of the South West and use it as a test area.

      Cheshire East and West has had relatively low figures, I really would like to know who are the new patients now being admitted into the 3 main hospitals in this region, are they workers from our bread factories, meat processors, supermarket and the warehouse staff, Manchester Airport staff that are dealing with repatriated Brits, how many are NHS workers, and how many are care home workers? Why can’t we be told it is a small area to check on, and feedback if the 2m distance but work anyway advice is causing new patients?

    • Hope
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      Either and delay to justify the Tory gcot. Flip flop strategy, hide behind the phrase follow the science, not listen or be guided but follow. And the UK science is disputed around the world and their is no proven evidence the house arrest scheme works or worked- according to Swedish experts. In Con Woman yesterday we read how other experts claim the peak death rate was 8-10 April and the infection peak about three weeks before. Experts around the world claiming it peculiar that 130 countries have border closures and checks while U.K. Remains totally open especially from Chinese virus hotspots ie flights continued from a Chinese areas where internal lock down of flights imposed, 17 flights from Lombardi after the region shut down! Raab claims it makes no difference. How did this island get the virus and how did it spread?

  9. SM
    Posted April 30, 2020 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    At this extremely difficult time John, it seems to an outsider like me that you and your colleagues must be deeply happy that the HoC now has a Speaker who behaves in an exemplary fashion, encouraging co-operation rather than conflict.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 7:47 am | Permalink

      Indeed he seems a decent chap, even if he was daft enough to join and remain in the Labour party.

      Thank goodness we are rid of the appalling Bercow.

    • a-tracy
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      Indeed this Speaker is such a nice change.

    • Hope
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      Those MPs over three years who betrayed the mandate of the nation still getting their RPI pensions, parachute payments, allowed to take their computers with them etc. Do they care? Why is there no sanctions against them? The last three years and last expense scandal showed Parliament is institutionally corrupt. All promises by all parties came to nothing, the last betrayal of cutting the number of MPs made under the cover of the Chinese virus.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 30, 2020 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

        Indeed, even the ones who were involved with pandemic planning decisions and burying the report into the Cygnus exercise.

    • Mark B
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 4:45 pm | Permalink


    • Sea Warrior
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

      For me, he stamped his decency of the disgraced Commons when he squished an attempt – by the Lib Dems, I think – to extend the voting franchise to 16- and 17-year olds for the last general election. What a hero!

  10. Sea Warrior
    Posted April 30, 2020 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    I am disappointed to see so much scarce time being wasted – usually by back-benchers. Yesterday: endless congratulations. Most PMQs: Conservative MPs trying to get their names in Hansard through the device of mentioning their own constituencies and asking the PM to congratulate some school or community group, for this or that. Most debates: low-quality ‘interventions’ by MPs of the same party as whoever it is who has to ‘give way’. It’s all very annoying.

    • glen cullen
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      I agree much time is wasted in both chambers, the speaker, leader and the whips are responsible for smooth running and orderly debate….I hold them all in contempt for seeking PR opportunities at our expense

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 30, 2020 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

        +1. What does Parliament cost per minute of active debate – £10,000 or so perhaps? So just saying “I refer the right honourable gentleman to the reply I gave some moments ago” must have cost about a £billion over the years?

  11. Steve
    Posted April 30, 2020 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    Pitiful isn’t it? One of the oldest continuous representative assemblies in the world brought down by a virus that has a lower death rate than flu. The whole country terrorized by less deaths than a single day in one of the World Wars and that’s if the numbers weren’t grossly inflated (which they are). What a bunch of snivelling cowards we have become walking around with masks and gloves and running away from any contact all on the word of “experts” most of whom are in the pay of Bill Gates, the Vaccine King. Collectively we’re too stupid to realise we have wrecked the economy and given the rich vast bailouts, again. Well they say we get the leaders we deserve and we get what we deserve and we have. If you have a god then pray to him because the political gang won’t save us.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      What’s the problem with Bill Gates ?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 30, 2020 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

        I have no problem with Bill Gates at all he was right in his advance predictions and he is right with his proposed solutions. A shame he (or indeed anyone with a brain) did not do the UK’s pandemic planning. His foundation does exactly the right things to my mind.

        His software however was very time wasting and irritating indeed – but I forgive him for that.

      • Original Chris
        Posted April 30, 2020 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

        Roy, if you google Gates, Fauci, Dr Buttar, big pharma, vaccines, quantum dot tattoo tracking, Corona virus epidemic simulation exercise late 2019, you will have food for thought.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted April 30, 2020 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

          Yep, enough to choke you!

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      ” If you have a god then pray to him ” – or a text or an e-mail Steve. God has moved with the times.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 30, 2020 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

        I sent him a text:- So why did you give us this CORONA virus then? I move in mysterious ways was the evasive reply. He is clearly a politician.

    • Mark B
      Posted May 1, 2020 at 4:46 am | Permalink

      Hear hear. I too am amazed at how pathetic, selfish and greedy we are.

  12. Bryan Harris
    Posted April 30, 2020 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    You say that “You cannot spontaneously ask a question or decide to make a contribution to a debate”
    Then the technology is failing you, or it is not being fully exploited – There are ways for this to be made to work. With the Speaker still in control of who speaks, and when.

    We will hopefully be seeing a lot more use of teleconferencing by business and government now that Parliament has shown it is possible to do it, even if it is in a slightly different way. We probably now need greater network capacity.
    This means there should be no requirement for jollies under the pretense of saving the world, for example with climate change conferences.

  13. Ian Wragg
    Posted April 30, 2020 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    What the lockdown has shown is the nonsense of building HS2 and the clamour to herd us all onto public transport.
    The car is king which doesn’t sit well with the likes of St Greta of Thunberg the xxxx and her puppeteers.
    Back to the drawing board I think John.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 8:48 am | Permalink

      I think the lockdown is starting to crumble. The plumber on our street is taking jobs, the scrap metal lorry is back and our hippie opened yesterday. If you continue to stall on the lifring of house arrest, people will make their own decisions.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted April 30, 2020 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

        I made mine. If Boris can flit about attending births, visiting the holiday home etc so can I.

    • Andy
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 8:48 am | Permalink

      I don’t think so. They have continued HS2 construction throughout the lockdown.

      Though it is pretty shocking that you – an elderly man – choose to insult an autistic teenage girl.

      • Anonymous
        Posted April 30, 2020 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

        PS, We’re getting a close up look at precisely what Greta Thunberg wants.

      • Edward2
        Posted April 30, 2020 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

        Says the middle aged man who spends his time on here insulting all older people.

      • Sea Warrior
        Posted April 30, 2020 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

        His comment was fair. She is being used.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted April 30, 2020 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

          Indeed she is.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted April 30, 2020 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

        I thought that the autism was what made her superior!

  14. Roy Grainger
    Posted April 30, 2020 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    Have you done a proper security assessment on the use of Zoom for private meetings ? It has China’s fingerprints all over it which a lot of MPs have been telling us is a bad thing.

  15. Ian@Barkham
    Posted April 30, 2020 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    Sir John
    Surely the root of the problem is there are to many MP’S as such they extend their reach into affairs best left to local communities – those closer to the action get things done.

    At the daily briefing last week we were introduced to the Army, after the meeting he was asked how the Army had achieved so much so quickly. In response he said it was easy to recognise the structure in place was too centralized to much top down control
    With everyone waiting for orders from above, so they entrusted those at the front end to get the job done and the job got sorted. So it is with this overpowering centralized Government. To many people trying to do things that are best left to those that can do the job.

    Central Government should but out and reduce their numbers and then the Country will thrive. As it is this purgatory will be extended for longer than is reasonable, surgesting it is more about ego than good management. Just like being in the EU ruled by a Commission – the people stay muzzled and harnessed

    • Bryan Harris
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 9:17 am | Permalink


      A government that can stick to a budget and pursue the aim of the vast majority is also what we want.

      Many feel that it is time for a new contract between Parliament and those they represent – It is now overdue.

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 10:09 am | Permalink

      In simple terms to get a Country up and running, first thing to do is ‘Trust the People’.

      That has been beyond successive UK Governments for many years. In fact the feeling comes over that our Governments are in fear of the people. So instead try to over manage and over control and fail badly at it.

      • Bryan Harris
        Posted April 30, 2020 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

        Yes, I get your point Ian

        If the government were to take a step back, relaxe some burdensome regulations and allowed people to innovate things would surely improce easier.

        Too much government dulls the soul.

    • acorn
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      The UK has the most centralised government system in Western Europe. Local government spends £180 billion, 21% of general government spending (was 25% before austerity Osborne arrived); but, only raises £30 billion from the one and only local tax, Council Tax. It also gets to keep half the national Business Rate tax.

      UK local government is basically central government’s remote operating unit with very little discretionary spending ability; hence, there is little reason to bother voting in local government elections, it’s fake democracy.

      On the Brexit front, it may be time to start circling the wagons. The EU version of project fear is reving up across the Channel. “Getting ready for the end of the transition period”.

    • Anonymous
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      Sergeant. The second most powerful rank in the army.

      Bring back Matron.

    • Mark B
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 4:49 pm | Permalink


      Read the story of Hong Kong post WWII. An island with only two natural resources. A harbour and hardworking inventive people. Minimal government.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted April 30, 2020 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

        British Government – so 3 resources. Sadly we seem to have Mao!

        • Mark B
          Posted May 1, 2020 at 5:57 am | Permalink


          No ! Only 2.

          Sir John. I have posted this link in the past and you have allowed it. Many thanks.

          He arrived in Hong Kong in 1945 and was assigned to the Department of Supplies, Trade and Industry.[2] He was asked to find ways in which the government could boost post-war economic outlook but found the economy was recovering swiftly without any government intervention.

    Posted April 30, 2020 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    ‘Readers may be relieved to know there are still plenty of other meetings and communication underway between MPs’

    That’s even more depressing news. MPs huddlin’ together plotting their next moves. Parliament is held in complete contempt. Whether it sits or doesn’t is of zero significance to the future of this nation’s peoples. No longer does Parliament protect democracy and freedom, it actively conspires to nobble democracy and freedom

    To see the ex-head of the CPS (part of the judiciary and supposedly an impartial body) become leader of the second main Parliamentary political party is the evidence I need that shows just how deep Labour’s client State actually runs. Labour’s grip over many aspects of our world continues to strengthen

    Johnson’s agenda is the preservation of the status quo when most thought he’d embrace reform of the leftist construct that now includes the BBC, CPS, Electoral Commission, OFCOM, Police, Judiciary. NHS, public sector and on it goes without end

    This PM is a massive disappointment. There is nothing that he’s done to show he has any intention of confronting the poison of the activist left that is now tearing its way through all British institutions

    • Fred H
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 10:36 am | Permalink

      Dominic – – your last para is the one that strikes with me. Boris has been all noise and bluster so far — he really must step forward and deliver.
      What does the report card say?
      Contributes noisily in class, skips over homework, supports failing classmates, when exams come around likely to be found severely wanting. Relys on those around him without personal effort.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted April 30, 2020 at 8:59 pm | Permalink


    • Everhopeful
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      So brilliant!

    • Hope
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      Dominic, totally agree. Sidwell got,rid of Williamson last year, Rutman is trying to get rid of Patel and the FCO PPS undermine the govt over PPE and asked to make a correction. Any other business he would be gone without golden handshake not allowed to continue spreading pro EU poison among the civil service! How many will he promote under his own image? How many will he influence? Most previous cabinet secretaries being made Labour Lords! All PPS need to be replaced with someone from outside the civil service to bring fresh blood and outlook.

    • agricola
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

      Dominic , you may not have realised that we are in the middle of a national emergency. Current measures are both necessary, late in application in some cases, and have highlighted the inadequacies of our provisioning of PPE and the criminally omissions in the provision of elderly care. That the resident trolls would like to heap their contempt on the present government is predictable. A government that has been in power for around six months. Inadequacies that are the result of government ineptitude for the last twenty years at least.

      This is not the time for reform though an absolute necessity. When the present emergency is over thanks to the scientific endeavour of research and the determination and self sacrifice of the medical profession then reform can come. I can almost guarantee you will not like it either. The “proles” have spoken once in 2016 and again in 2019, you would do well to pay attention. I do not see them meekly returning to their burrows, their antennae are alert to any reversion to an establishment status quo.

    • Original Chris
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

      Absolutely right, Dominic. Also, the country needs a very strong and bold leader, and it is very concerning that while Boris has been ill, and during his recovery, we do not seem to have courageous leadership, dedicated to serving the people of this country.
      It is wonderful for Boris to be a father, and it will be such a joy for him and Carrie. However, as parents know the sleepless nights over a long period take their toll, and Boris needs much greater support from his team if he is to free up this country from the EU and the stranglehold of the Left on our key institutions.

      He needs people who are true Conservatives and not those vying for position, nor those who favour greater centralisation of power, greater state control and monitoring of individuals. Unfortunately there are apparently rather a lot of those types of MPs in our so called Conservative Party who are near the levers of power.

  17. Martin in Cardiff
    Posted April 30, 2020 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    But you and your friends in the media have turned a large proportion of the electorate against Parliament.

    They now hate it when it does its conventional and historically established work.

    They instead want you MPs to be their delegates, and for Parliament to be no more than a rubber stamp for mob rule.

    You were apparently content for the whole second chamber and for individual MPs to be libelled as enemies of the people and as traitors in the popular press, along with the UK’s highest legal authority.

    That was an utterly reckless electoral gimmick, and this country will suffer as a result for a long time.

    In any case, with a majority of eighty, comprised in large measure of insecure newcomers, the government will be unhindered by Parliament.

    So you have your Rubber Stamping Agency, and far more docile than the European Union’s Parliament ever was too.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 8:15 am | Permalink

      What does it matter to you Martin ? You’ve got your own Labour-led Welsh assembly which presumably (I have not checked) has put Wales absolutely at the top of the world league for Covid response, no doubt they locked-down weeks earlier than England as Sir Keir Starmer advised, had no PPE shortages due to their stewardship of the Welsh NHS, likewise no lack of ICU capacity and equipment, no care home deaths, and the lowest death rates overall in the world. Just like in Scotland as run by the SNP (I have not checked there either).

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted April 30, 2020 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

        The UK Parliament is as much mine as it is yours.

    • dixie
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 8:31 am | Permalink

      It was the euphilic activists, turncoats and liars in the previous session that turned a large proportion of the electorate against parliament.

      As for Rubber Stamping, remind me again what your heroes Blair and Brown did with their majority, the wars and lack of PPE for troops being sent in harms way.

    • Andy
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 8:45 am | Permalink

      Hear hear.

      Look at the current make up of Parliament. Its greatness was its breadth. Its experience, its quirky characters from all sides.

      Sacrificed for Brexit.

      I’m afraid the Brexiteers still do not understand the forces they have unleashed. But Coronavirus and the resulting economic collapse is perhaps the last piece of the jigsaw needed to turn us into 1930s Germany. The Brexiteers have done the rest already.

    • Edward2
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      You extreme lefties are incapable of accepting any election result.
      Just as you still refuse to accept the referendum result.

      Not a peep from you about “mob rule” and “rubber stamping agency” during Labour’s 15 years in power.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted April 30, 2020 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

        I accept the result of the General Election absolutely.

        Now you must accept that any mess made by the Government can be blamed on no one other than itself and on the voters who put it into office.

        • Edward2
          Posted April 30, 2020 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

          That’s how it works.
          We both have another chance to vote in an election soon.

    • Anonymous
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      Where is the *mob* ?

      The only *mob* I’ve seen recently has been XR (strangely quiet) and narcotics rioters who rampage when police try stopping gangstas.

      Oh. Martin means people who use the ballot box they way he doesn’t like.

      You should be happy, Martin. We’re getting Corbynism on speed !

  18. Newmania
    Posted April 30, 2020 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    Readers may be relieved to know there are still plenty of other meetings and communication underway between MPs,

    Well thank god for that , for a moment I was concerned . Whilst we sigh with relief that our taxes are being so gainfully spent , might you consider doing something useful.
    The country is creaming with rage that Broad Band speed is not workable in many areas and periodically for most
    Children cannot be educated
    Business cannot be transacted
    Deadlines are missed
    You know …real life and the response is more or less the same one we got from Southern Rail for a year ( blah blah blah no solution )

    Can nothing be done ?

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 10:12 am | Permalink

      “Can nothing be done ?” – it certainly looks that way on the Border Farce fetching them from Calais. Priti has “promised” – -so did Cameron.

    • Ginty
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      If only Newmania – The People’s Poet – had studied Satellite Technology instead of poetry.

      Looks like Oxford might be first to a vaccine.

      Will Newmania still be bashing his own country if that happens ? Yes. I think he will.

      Words words words. He has nothing else to offer.

      • hefner
        Posted April 30, 2020 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

        ‘Words words words. He has nothing else to offer’: I am afraid that could apply to an awful lot of people on this site, ‘on both sides’ of whatever ditch you will want to dig: left/right, leaver/remainer, tall-small, Cons-Labour&co, elite/non elite, pure Brit/no so pure Brit, right-handed/left-handed, …

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

      Yes I couldn’t apply for a job working from home as it required a fast Internet speed. What a joke.

  19. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted April 30, 2020 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    Any Jeremy Corbyn turning up in person? He is over 70 isn’t he. Typical socialist – one draconian rule for you, another for me.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 7:41 am | Permalink

      Do as I say not as I do is indeed very typical of socialists. Rather like all the celebs, royaly, actors and actresses – lecturing us on limiting our small C02 emmisions while flying round the world first class or in private jets & helicopters. Or indeed sailing in £million racing yachts with flown in sailing crews.

    • Northern Lass
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      I agree, he should be in lockdown with the rest of the over 70’s. If he can be out and about why can’t the rest of us. He’s setting a very bad example.

      • a-tracy
        Posted April 30, 2020 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

        To be fair to him, he is still working not retired, he must consider that he is not in an at-risk medical group and the rule is to try to work from home other than if you can’t and need to attend the workplace then keeping a distance of 2m and taking other precautions like mask-wearing, visors or goggles if you need to be in closer contact, I’ve not seen any age restrictions as this wouldn’t be correct under the equalities act.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted April 30, 2020 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

          All of the 70 and 80 and 90 years olds will ‘still be working’ – do you realise what it will take to pay for this madness? I think all 70 and under IQs should be put into immediate and permanent lockdown. That will halve the number of MPs.

          • a-tracy
            Posted May 1, 2020 at 9:43 am | Permalink

            Yes Lynn I do realise how much this is costing! It’s waking me up at night.

        • Narrow Shoulders
          Posted May 1, 2020 at 7:08 am | Permalink

          To be fair to him…..

          Over 70s were told to stay at home.

          MPs can work from home.

          He is a belligerent old leftie who thinks rules are for other people

  20. Everhopeful
    Posted April 30, 2020 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    Is “ social distancing” actually based on any science?
    What on Earth is the govt hoping to achieve by all this?
    I see that Boris is NOT going to ease the lockup yet I know that several firms were given a nod and wink for mid May.
    If we have the worst figures in Europe for cv deaths ( the same as seasonal flu ..which admittedly can be rather nasty) then obviously lockup has not worked. A little fresh air maybe?
    But then again…what can one expect from the most densely populated European country?
    Having said all that…MSM and govt have got us all so TERRIFIED. I would not want to take a chance and nor would I wish to see JR going into physical Parliament.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 7:39 am | Permalink

      In is all a shocking, 3am nightmare MESS!

      • hefner
        Posted April 30, 2020 at 8:44 am | Permalink

        Except if you live in Gibraltar (4328 p/km^2), Guernsey (990), Jersey (774), the rest of the U.K. (267 p/km^2) has a smaller population density than the Netherlands (393) or Belgium (337).
        But I guess it must make you feel good to write such things without checking. Ah, relieving the home-bound stress…

        • Everhopeful
          Posted April 30, 2020 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

          How pettyfogging. You are not familiar with the word “if”?
          And I was just about to congratulate you on your choice of film..obviously that’s how you are spending your lockup?

      • bigneil(newercomp)
        Posted April 30, 2020 at 10:09 am | Permalink

        In just a few weeks the govt has managed to get the whole population acting as if every other person will kill them through their closeness. It must be classed by the govt as the most successful trial of mass control ever. Now to be used to force personal trackers on us by calling them “contact tracing” apps. Mobile phones quietly reading other mobile phones details by Bluetooth connection – a govt (AND scammers) continual state of ecstasy. The govt has already said that “Things will NEVER go back to what they were. A VERY blatant and chilling warning. Really REALLY glad i’m old and near the end. The young cannot understand what they are walking into.

        • Original Chris
          Posted April 30, 2020 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

          It is very frightening indeed, bigneil. There is a very good monologue by Tucker Carlson on Fox News on just this, and how the left (Democrat governors) have swept in with controls, but these controls do not apply to the political elite.

          Thus Obama gets driven 40 miles to his country club to play golf, but his wife entreats DC citizens via a mobile phone alert to stay at home, and only go out if absolutely essential. One state governor had been seen going out to have her hair done, thus breaking the strict rules she had apparently imposed on the people. Her justification apparently was that as she was an important person making television appearances, she had to look smart.
          From Fox News:
          “Tucker says coronavirus lockdowns have made America ‘an oligarchy managed by bureaucrats and tech moguls'”

          This is all about control by the Left over the people. It is not healthy and will not end well. We have to wake up. There are the treatments in this country, the USA and elsewhere for corona virus, and these could free us from this rule by fear, and the attempted power grab by the Left. People should be asking what medication Boris received at St Thomas’. It is not called the Lazarus treatment for nothing.

          • anon
            Posted May 2, 2020 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

            Indeed why does Boris not deny outright that he received treatment routinely denied to others by the NHS.

            Specifically HCQ with AZ or similar.

            Different strokes for different folks ?

            Can’t wait to hear the latest misdirection by the latest spokespeople.

            Shame the opposition don’t seem to want to probe that do they? Maybe the 650 odd know they will all get special treatment.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      We don’t have the worst figures in Europe. Many countries are not reporting care home deaths (Spain, Italy). And anyway the time to count is in 1-2 years time, not now.

      • hefner
        Posted April 30, 2020 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

        ‘The time to count is in 1-2 years time’: why that? Please explain.

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      Spain, Italy and Belgium are all doing worse than us.

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

      If the government is involved, then the only science being applied is political science.
      The point of anything they do is so as to make themselves look good and have others to blame if things go wrong – the Chinese for introducing the virus, the NHS managers for not being prepared with adequate PPE stockpiles, the care home managers for not having suitable infection control procedures prepared, people who didn’t obey the lockdown rules. There, that should do it.

  21. hefner
    Posted April 30, 2020 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    O/T: sorry for that. ‘Planet of the Humans’ a film by Jeff Gibbs produced by Michael Moore. 1h40, very watchable (for free on YouTube), going some way along LL’s lines and with very dispiriting conclusions.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 8:29 am | Permalink

      The documentary attacks renewable energy sources alleging that they are not a “real solution” to saving the planet which is clearly true.

      Any sensible (and honest) engineer and physicist would fully agree. This is very clear indeed. But a lot of people are making lots of money out of the renewables religion and the war on plant food. Shoveling taxpayers money into private pockets.

      Listen to the endless drivel we get from the The Committee on Climate Change.

      It claims to be an independent non-departmental public body, formed under the Climate Change Act (2008) to advise the United Kingdom and devolved Governments and Parliaments on tackling and preparing for climate change.

      Get rid of the act and this appalling committee now Boris.

  22. Everhopeful
    Posted April 30, 2020 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    It isn’t really surprising that there’s been a spike of deaths in care homes.
    Residents were sent back to care homes from hospital…to make way for cv patients!
    Crazy goes nowhere near describing this present fiasco.
    Several cardinal sins maybe do!

    • miami.mode
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

      Agree there Everhopeful. Big government in action. The masters in charge of the NHS know full well they have the power of the state behind them.

    • Mark B
      Posted May 1, 2020 at 5:34 am | Permalink

      Care homes have been using the NHS to dump the elderly. Now the NHS have the perfect excuse to send them back and to hell with the consequences.

  23. Robert Bywater
    Posted April 30, 2020 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    But we have to be careful. There are already indications that Zoom and similar communication tools are compromised by a malevolent major power that for well deserved reasons just had a * appended to its name. This nation* is on the defensive after having rightly been criticised from several quarters for their role in allowing the release of a potent human-to-human pathogenic virus onto the rest of the world. They feel aggrieved, without having the remotest excuse for being so, but it leads them to want to attack us in every way possible, including, or especially, our communication channels.

    • Original Chris
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

      The Chinese must be laughing at our uptake of Zoom. However, we can hardly be blamed when our own PM sets an example and apparently succumbs so easily to Huawei. We are such an easy target.

  24. Lifelogic
    Posted April 30, 2020 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Let us hope this goverment does not listen to the absurd idea being pushed by retailers, restaurant chains and the BBC that landlords should be forced by law to forgo shop and restaurant rents. If the tenant can afford to pay then they should pay, if they cannot then some negotiation is needed between tenant and landlord. It is certainly not something that government should intervene in. It would be hugely damaging if they did. In essence it would be theft from one business to give to another one. One that might well be better off than the property rental business is anyway.

  25. William Long
    Posted April 30, 2020 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    I understand your frustration, particularly at the inability to intervene in debate, but the flip side of the coin to the viewer, once the inevitable cowtowing congratulations to the NHS are out of the way, does seem to be less grandstandstanding and much more succinct and informative answers to questions. I think the House has something to learn here for the future.

  26. Roy Grainger
    Posted April 30, 2020 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    Odd that Matt Hancock would set a 100,000 tests a day target when it turns out there was no chance of him meeting it. I mean it is an arbitrary target anyway, no-one ever got cured by testing, certainly not by testing 100,000 instead of 60,000, so why announce it ? Now the BBC/Daily Mail/Guardian will unleash their usual “Doctors fury as Hancock breaks promise” and those fools asking questions at the daily press conference will pile in with “Will you apologise/resign ?”. There will be no credit at all given for the effort to get capacity up to 70,000 or whatever it is.

    • Original Chris
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

      Roy, I don’t think they (politicians) care at all about making promises now. They would just argue it was only a target, after all. I think that Matt Hancock was perfectly well aware that he couldn’t meet the target. Perhaps he thought it sounded good and that we would be fooled into believing him?

  27. Andy
    Posted April 30, 2020 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    There is little point in having Parliament at the moment anyway.

    Tory MPs are all sycophants to the failing Johnson / Cummings pseudo-dictatorship.

    And despite far more people voting against you than for you, you have a big majority.

    Questioning of any sort it met by a harsh response by Kim Jong Cummings. Fake news supremo.

    So you might as well all take the next five years off and let unelected Dom do it all.

    He doesn’t like Tory MPs anyway. He said so.

    • ukretired123
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      Did you enjoy the Happy Birthday fly-past for 100 yr old Captain Tom Moore raising £30 million for the NHS and First Great Western naming a new intercity train after him yesterday Andy?
      What have you contributed by comparison given that the NHS has saved you twice already and isn’t it fantastic that older folks are better at coping with setbacks due to their real life post war hardships.

    • Richard1
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

      We have a parliamentary democracy. This govt has a majority because it got the most votes. It got far more votes and on a higher turnout than some of the leftwing govts in the past which you supported.

      It has more support than any other govt in Europe. Boris Johnson was elected on 44% of the vote. M Macron in France for example got 24% on a comparable basis when he was in competition with all parties. And on a lower turnout.

      When the chance to change to change the electoral system was put to UK voters we rejected it. Decisively.

      There’s no dictatorship. Mr Cummings is just an adviser. Just like advisers in other govts in the past. Like mr Campbell who probably thinks the same way as you.

      All that’s happened is we had a general election and you lost. Get over it.

    • Edward2
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

      Too many paragraphs again Andy.
      Read up about GCSE English requirements.

      • bill brown
        Posted May 2, 2020 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

        EdwRD 2

        British Empire ” the only one that gave up its territories”

        When, di you read a history book last time? Or has the propaganda just taken over your mind?
        WAKE UP

    Posted April 30, 2020 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    Wake me up when Sir John Redwood MP directly calls for the wholesale privatisation of the Marxist BBC and their now total political allegiance to the Labour party and the left

    The Parliamentary Tory party has completely let down this nation and its people. I cannot think of one single political issue this party haven’t capitulated to the left upon

    Labour is an existential threat to this nation’s democracy and rule of law. The Tories have protected Labour and their client State from political harm for fear of Labour being replaced by a true conservative party in the north

    utterly shameful and utterly shameless

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

      The BBC has been pretty well privatised, all except for the Board Of Governors along with News and Current Affairs.

      Almost everything that it once did has been out-sourced or out-contracted, from canteen ladies to transmitting stations to the production of many strands of programme.

    • Original Chris
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

      I agree, Dominic.

      • M Davis
        Posted April 30, 2020 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

        Hear! Hear!

  29. glen cullen
    Posted April 30, 2020 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Has remote electronic voting been established ? and will it continue after lockdown ?

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

      They are just working out how to explain receiving 1,900 votes via the automatic system. Once that has been cracked I’m sure automatic electronic voting will be introduced!

  30. Javelin
    Posted April 30, 2020 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    I strongly suggest you and your readers spend sometime reading the comments in the Daily Telegraph. Especially the lead story that the lockdown will continue.

    You will see 100% of the comments are saying Boris has overreacted and that the people are going to go back to work to save their jobs. The specific opinion is that the NHS didn’t plan and prepare for the pandemic, that the initial medical and scientific advice over inflated the risk, that the medical response has been too general and there is no context or balance in the response. It’s difficult to argue with.

    I have found watching trends on social media as the best way to judge the national debate on an issue. You can argue whether they are right or wrong, but the conclusion of Conservative voters is the Government have mismanaged this issue and are expect the Government to continue to mismanage this issue.

  31. Sakara Gold
    Posted April 30, 2020 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    If democracy means anything in this country, there has to to be consequences for those responsible for the government’s failure to get a grip on the Chinese plague virus crisis.

    Using the Official Secret Act to silence whistleblowers on the SAGE committee is a dereliction of Parliament’s duty to be accountable to the public and Prity Patel should be ashamed of herself.

    The government’s constant manipulation of fatalities data in an attempt to put a positive spin on the figures, the failure to lock down our borders properly (17500 people flew into the UK on Monday), the quantantine system failure, the disastrous PPE response, the testing fiasco – the list is endless.

    Officially, we have had ~26000 deaths due to this disease. A more realistic figure that I have seen is 42,000 – absolutely appalling.

    Today S Korea reports zero new cases. Her Majesty has complemented the PM of New Zealand for beating the virus – it has now been eradicated there. Taiwan has their epidemic well under control. Even the Isle of Man is close to eradication. The rest of the UK has the unproven “herd immunity” strategy. Whoever devised it (Vallance & Whitty?) should be stripped of their honours and banished from the kingdom.

    Th one voice of commonsense that I’ve heard is that of Dominic Raab, who has been firm and anounced that in spite of the economic damage, the lockdown must continue for at least another 3 weeks.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted May 1, 2020 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

      Yes, generally, where there are fatal consequences, there is a legal convention in criminal law, that recklessness is no better than wilfulness in causing them.

      That condition seems to me to be eminently justiciable in these matters.

  32. Iain Gill
    Posted April 30, 2020 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    how comes corrupt evil state bodies like the electoral commission and the financial ombudsman service are still getting away with it? how comes the government is not helping freelancers because its “too hard” to use the words of the chief sec to the treasury yesterday? how comes we are still printing work visas like confetti for skills even more in oversupply than they already were before this? etc

  33. Christine
    Posted April 30, 2020 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    ‘Meanwhile I sit at home watching Parliament live tv, frustrated that whether at home or there it is not possible to intervene based on the flow of the debate.’

    Welcome to our world.

    We elect politicians based on their manifesto and what we get is a left-wing virtue signalling sham.

    Only a few MPs, you included, stand up for what the majority in this country are crying out for. Public opinion has been silenced by our media and elected officials. MSM in this country is no better than the propaganda we see in communist countries.

    • Fred H
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      ‘Meanwhile I sit at home watching Parliament live tv’.

      Oh Dear. Try other channels, watch recordings, read a book, phone somebody, contact family, old friend or acquaintance by email….
      Have you a garden, can you walk to a pleasant area?
      Get a bottle of wine out, G&T? – not for me – but ‘the cup that cheers’.

      • miami.mode
        Posted April 30, 2020 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

        …..but Fred, he’s working at his elected job.

        • Fred H
          Posted April 30, 2020 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

          Not the point. Why get frustrated sitting at home watching it? I just tried to help Christine do something else.

          • Christine
            Posted May 1, 2020 at 9:26 am | Permalink

            I was quoting John. I wouldn’t waste my time engaging in our parliamentary debate as we the people are unable to influence anything outside their preordained agenda. What I was referring to was John feeling as Impotent as us to influence events.

      • M Brandreth- Jones
        Posted April 30, 2020 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

        I don’t think john will be ever short of interests or people to effectively communicate with, but the parliamentary session is his job!

  34. rose
    Posted April 30, 2020 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Another disadvantage is that if the Chairman of a Select Committee is the wrong sort of person, she can repeatedly shout down the Minister being interviewed, as is done by broadcasters. This was evident when the Home Secretary appeared before the Home Affairs Committee. I really wanted to hear what he Home Secretary had to say, but the Chairman had other ideas.

  35. a-tracy
    Posted April 30, 2020 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Now, this is frustrating “Mr Johnson will warn the public only modest relaxation of the lockdown measures will be carried out next week. The Government is increasingly fearful of a second wave of the coronavirus and is keen to protect the NHS from being overwhelmed.” if you can believe anything in the Express.

    This just isn’t going to wash for much longer, we want more facts and figures to support this continuing. If we are averaging 4,000 to 5,000 new cases a day (where have they been for the last six weeks?) How long are they being treated for in hospital 5 to 10 days, 10 days to a month? How many thousands do we have in each hospital in the Country right now? There are how many hospitals even operational right now? If we have 1200 hospitals with 16,000 patients thats what about 14 patients per hospital?

    You want business owners to loan money they’re personally liable for to try to survive, you want to pay people 80% of the average of their previous year’s earnings with overtime in it compared to people working full time now five days per week without overtime and maybe shorter hours and you honestly think potentially another three weeks of this is acceptable because (as we’re told by the Guardian) this Government chose not to lock down early enough, didn’t have sufficient testing in place as Germany did, and kept our hospitals without the capacity to treat patients or contain the virus. Do your government think it is ok for those that aren’t ‘safe’ in their homes social isolating to be the only ones putting themselves and families at risk week after week without any facts about local treatments, recoveries and current patients?

    How are our hospitals treating people? What drugs are they using, is everyone getting early treatment the same as Mr Johnson? How long are patients typically in a hospital when admitted with Covid 19? Has everyone in hospital currently got covid19?

  36. zorro
    Posted April 30, 2020 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    JR, I sense deep frustration and a touch of resentment. Things seem to be playing out as I thought they would. You will see what a ‘puppet Parliament ‘ looks like now. This is only going one way with the seemingly endless introduction of SOCIAL DISTANCING as the ‘new normal’. This is no longer a democracy and we are no longer free…

    So perhaps you will contemplate your collective part in enacting a police state through the Coronavirus bill whose emergency powers will last only two years. Is that like the temporary introduction of income Tax during the Napoleonic War? Like Nixon going off the gold standard in 1971? Or temporary money printing and temporary negative interest rates in 2008?

    Will the coronavirus bill only last two years?

    No, it won’t

    Section 89 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 details just how many sections and sub-sections are not subject to the expiry clause. As well as all the “conditions” which, if met, would enable Ministers to waive the expiry clause on certain other sections and regulations.

    The list is hugely long.

    Sections 1, 2, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 17, 19(11), 21(7), 59-70, 72-74, 75(1) and 76. As well as parts of Schedules 1, 4, 5, 7, 8 and 10 through 13.

    Fully one quarter (and possibly more) of the entire bill will never expire.

    What do these excepted clauses cover?

    For starters, sections 11, 12 & 13 grant permanent legal indemnity to the government, and any employees thereof, for any harm done when a patient is being treated for Covid19 or “suspected Covid19”.

    With a possible vaccine speeding through the testing phase (or skipping it altogether) this could be important down the line.

    Sections 59-70 cover the government’s power to postpone elections and are not subject to the expiry clause.

    Section 75 totally removes the cap on government assistance to industry when that assistance is “coronavirus related”.

    Section 76 simply says:

    Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs are to have such functions as the Treasury may direct in relation to coronavirus or coronavirus disease. Which is peculiarly vague. Whatever it means, it will never expire.

    And hanging over all of that is section 89(3):

    A Minister of the Crown may by regulations make transitional, transitory or saving provision in connection with the expiry of any provision of this Act

    …which seems to grant the government power to over-ride the expiry of any section of the act, should they deem it necessary.

    So, to sum up, no these emergency measures won’t “expire in two years”.

    Some of them might expire in 2 years (unless a minister decides they shouldn’t) and others will last forever.



    • Everhopeful
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

      Actually…this was exactly what many were expecting, you prob included, zorro?
      Shame, shame, shame people didn’t vote sensibly when they had the chance instead of being beaten down and allowing true opposition to be outlawed.

    • Original Chris
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      Zorro, this is not a Conservative government, full stop, yet true Conservative MPs, like Sir John, have supported it through thick and thin. The MPs had a chance to do something about it and make it the part of the grassroots again, but they chose not to, and that includes Sir John.

      Boris is not a true Conservative, nor is Gove, who is biting at his heels, but is of the left leaning ilk, and under him we will not get rid of PC, gender identity politics, the foreign aid scam, HS2, the subservience to the UN Agenda 21 and 2030 (with the associated climate change targets and taxes which will bankrup the country), and infiltration of this country’s security by Huawei. Nor will Boris be draining our swamp and getting rid of the Marxist agenda and operators who are now firmly established in our key institutions.

      Boris and his team, are a massive disappointment, in my view, and I fear greatly that our country’s future is not safe in their hands.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted April 30, 2020 at 9:16 pm | Permalink


      • Mark B
        Posted May 1, 2020 at 4:58 am | Permalink

        The politicians of late, from TB to the present, are all careerists. They do not possess one shred of ideology, of any side, in their body.

    • steve
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 4:42 pm | Permalink


      An excellently written hypothesis.

      However, I doubt things will pan-out the way you fear. For one thing in order to have a police state in this country there would have to be a ban on general elections, which is never going to happen.


      • zorro
        Posted April 30, 2020 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

        Try postponement…. just as good


      • Mark B
        Posted May 1, 2020 at 4:55 am | Permalink

        What about putting the whole population, including MP’s, Lords, and the Head of State under house arrest ?


    • Mark B
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 5:08 pm | Permalink


      BRILLIANT !!!!

      This is as I feared. Someone, somewhere, knew that such a drama, made into a crisis, would give government powers of a wannabe dictator. Frightening ! And our parliament and its MP’s and Lords, waved it through in an eyeblink.

      Shame on them.

      • zorro
        Posted April 30, 2020 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

        As I have said, pit it this way, they didn’t come up with this 329 page Bill in a few short days but it clearly had been in preparation for a while. There is a reason why they used it instead of the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 and it wasn’t for our good health!

        As John Philpot Curran said – “The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance.”


  37. ukretired123
    Posted April 30, 2020 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Happy Birthday to 100 yr old Captain Tom Moore has admirably demonstrated that stereotyping old folks is for the birds as we refuse to be pigeonholed by some shallow thinkers.
    You can never underestimate the older generation’s significant contributions to making Britain what it is. Only recently a study discovered over 65s were more adaptable to setbacks as they have had more experience of how to cope with them and I notice years ago that the smartest youngsters never hesitated to listen to what they had to say. (Also it is often said be aware of those who listen more than talk as they hoover up knowledge but give nothing away).

    • Mark B
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 5:09 pm | Permalink


  38. Nerd h
    Posted April 30, 2020 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    Lagarde speaking in her new job as ECB person of the year, says state led national strikes of most of their workforces and massive increases in strike pay has hit economies badly. She’s an economics whizz kid.

  39. Iain Gill
    Posted April 30, 2020 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    So Fauci has announced that proper randomised blind trials have proven that remdesivir helps treat the virus.

    We need to take this seriously, and start making it, buying it, and using it.

    This is the first medicine with actual proper proof behind it.

    Ask the government when we can expect it to be dished out routinely by the government.

    The other thing we need is Vitamin D tablets, if for no other reason than the entire population is not getting enough sunlight to make Vitamin D in the skin naturally. The government needs to start distributing Vitamin D tablets.

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

      Are you sure about Vitamin D? My understanding is that anyone taking a bit of exercise outdoors will be getting enough of it.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted May 1, 2020 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

        anyone entitled to a free flu jab or old age, or a bunch of other conditions like being actually or potentially pregnant, have been told to stay indoors all the time…

        plus the people with symptoms told to self isolate

        its something of the order of 30 million of the people in England.

        lots of the rest are scared and staying in anyways.


      • Fred H
        Posted May 1, 2020 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

        correct, but lots of kids are growing up staring at screens, going out wearing hoodies, or live in flats with no gardens, or fearing gang violence in parks.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

      And telling us to sit in the sun! Shirt off 30 minutes is what you need.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted May 1, 2020 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

        its hard to “sit in the sun” when you dont have a garden and the police will move you on if you try it

    • anon
      Posted May 2, 2020 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

      Relatively small trial, but its an option to provide to Doctors and Patients.

      New drugs do make lots of money whereas old drugs tend not to make much. They will not therefore attract profit seekers, but arguably a state body, should be very interested. Doesn’t sound that way?

      Being able to plan, store or source produce supplies locally in a country you control, in a pandemic, might be useful?

      Meanwhile i suspect this will be another factor in our outlier performance. Interesting to note legal immunity is already in the coronavirus bill.

  40. Iain Gill
    Posted April 30, 2020 at 2:13 pm | Permalink
  41. Graham Wheatley
    Posted April 30, 2020 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Sir John,

    I have similar feelings whenever I listen to the platitudes offered by panellists on both “Question Time” and “Any Questions” (and often to the wholly unnecessary interruptions from the BBC’s worst female presenter, Anita Annand, on “Any Answers”).

    Come to think of it, that applies to most news programmes, especially those involving Evan Davis, Andrew Marr and Sarah Montague – I want to hear the views, opinions and information supplied by YOUR GUESTS and not the voice of the presenter continually interrupting with “yes but what about….” partway through an answer!!!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

      Touchy feely Anita Annand, nice enough lass I suppose, but not too bright. If you say anything remotely sensible, significant, honest or remotely un-PC she just cuts you off in a panic. BBC think to her core. I assume she went to a private school and has a degree in English, languages, gender studies or similar but I cannot really be bothered to look it up.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 30, 2020 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

        A typical BBC person so zero grasp of science, business, engineering, logic or economics.

  42. M Brandreth- Jones
    Posted April 30, 2020 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    We are being pix celled ;everything in order ,one thing after another and no going back again until the computer says so. No shouting at the TV John; they will laugh when you cry and and get angry when say something light and caring. That is the problem no real communication , although as you say it is better than nothing.

    This type of interaction has been steadily increasing as the years go with phone calls in a queue , 30 options and not the want you want , I am only here to take calls don’t ask me? on line ordering with money taken and goods not arriving but not able to stop the money . Restricted freedom of speech , the boo hoo hurray brigade saying what they want with the only right to answer edited so the truth or opinion isn’t put forward .

    In the past I have answered the radio in the car, talked to it as though it was a person, shouted my comments and then looked a little sheepish when someone is watching me talking to myself, however these days everyone uses hands free and can look as though they have someone to talk to . There again the 5 appendage the cell phone also talks if you allow it but doesn’t know the answer due to RIRO.

    The height of miscommunication is where someone passing by your car tries to communicate with gestures and expects you to interpret their body language in relation to you personally . A V sign etc is easy although you don’t know why you are at the receiving end and what they mean . Ah well this is likely to stay and robotics are the future . I hope they can dig the land an plant vegetables.

    • M Brandreth- Jones
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

      was watching .. mixed tenses ! oh dear.. quantum physics says everything happens at the same time!

      • Mark B
        Posted May 1, 2020 at 4:50 am | Permalink

        Yes. And nothing really exists.

  43. APL
    Posted April 30, 2020 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    JR: “Making Parliament work”

    You mean ‘Making Parliamentarians do some work’

  44. Lynn Atkinson
    Posted April 30, 2020 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    Andrew Lilico saying tonight that he has to think about whether he can bring his children up in this country. I’m wondering whether I can get old in this country, I’m sad to say that many of those who can will be making their way to Heathrow (Gatwick apparently redundant) and leaving those who can’t escape to their lonely fate.

    • Fred H
      Posted May 1, 2020 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

      where will you go? Andy, Martin, MH et al still here.

  45. Rhoddas
    Posted April 30, 2020 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

    To add to the interventions needed:

    Over 5 million people have cancelled their tv licence tax. BBC need to be asking themselves why so many have turned their backs on what was once a jewel in the crown.

    BBC started pandering to the abnormal minority and lost the plot, competition authority should have a look at it imho, how can you have a service that forces people to buy it even if they don’t want it. Model for financing has changed and its now create content that people will pay for, not create content that some Beeb people want and make people pay for it.

    Parliament could take this into account in their BBC review on top of the obvious pervasive bias.

  46. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted May 3, 2020 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    Is this virtual parliament as efficient as the real thing? I think not. Questioning of Ministers cannot be as thorough. Furthermore, no mechanism for voting on legislation has yet been developed.

    Members of Parliament are less effective and are partly redundant.

    I have a question for Sir John. It is not a rhetorical question and I want it answered. In view of the reduced effectiveness of parliament, would MPs accept a 20% reduction in salary to show that “we’re all in this together”.

    Trials by jury have been put on ice. These might have been replaced by trials by judges but I suspect not. Should not judges accept a 20% reduction in salary for the same reason?

    And have civil servants who are not key workers been furloughed?

    We can’t have one rule for the private sector and another rule for the upper echelons of the public sector.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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