Yesterday Barbara Keeley produced one of the worst Ministerial replies I have heard during the proceedings on the government’s rushed and incompetent Bill to change the arrangements for paying MPs allowances and salaries. It was so bad her boss Jack Straw also gave a wind up speech on the same amendments, to try to calm the House down. Those of us who asked her to clarify her proposals received no answers of any kind. Shortly afterwards the government lost a vote on the much hated Clause 10 of the Bill, so that clause was struck out.
Sadiq Khan was dragged to the House around 8pm to tell us about the nationalisation of the East coast mainline rail franchise, which everyone else had heard about hours before on the media. I asked him how much money the taxpayer would have to put in as share capital and working capital to set up the nationalised company that would run the service. There was of course no answer, as Ministers apparently have gone ahead with their plan to do this without working out the numbers and the money at risk. As always, they only do soundbites.,
Sarah McCarthy Fry, a junior Treasury Minister, completed the trio by being unwilling or unable to answer basic questions about how their new scheme to encourage saving for people on benefit and low income would work.