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M4: Meeting Transcript Release
So, it seems as though there were notes but not a transcript. I feel a bit perplexed at this, but for the sake of this motion I would be inclined to argue that the notes would be sufficient for our purposes.
I think it is fair to say that the Government has managed to be both technically correct and yet less than candid with the House. It is a bit like someone who, instead of asking for a ticket on the next train out asks for a train that leaves at 1200 and is told by the ticket agent that there is no such train since the train has been delayed to 1205. There is a train leaving at about the right time from the station but the agent gives the impression that there is none.
Thus it is with this motion. The Government gave of the distinct impression that there were no records of the meeting...no train, as it were...when there were in fact records, just not the precise ones asked for...the re-scheduled train.
The assertion that one of my colleagues from across the House has made, that the Prime Minister was "just being courteous", seems to take a willful ignorance of the tone that is strongly implied here. From what I think we can all tell, the tone was not that of a kind reminder but of Harold Shand inquiring about a late protection payment. To imply otherwise makes one wonder about my colleagues' ability to understand conversational context.
Fundamentally, the Met have declared that the allegations made by the Shadow Foreign Secretary are correct in form. I think that should dispose any histrionic demands for resignation...demands that at a bare minimum were premature and at worst are signs of blinkered opportunism.
And for the record, I absolutely blame the Prime Minister for trying to cut the Leader of the Opposition out of the loop. The fact that members of the Labour Party so desperately do not want him to become Prime Minister does nothing to mitigate his role in our system, to be the leader-in-waiting of a potential next Government. If they have specific concerns that they can articulate then they should raise them through the proper channels, but the complaints that amount to 'We don't like him' are not grounds for this sort of misbehavior.
Let us be clear again: Members of the Government benches have engaged in almost insane histrionics in reaction to being called on the carpet. They climbed out on a branch. And the Met has now cut that branch.
As things stand, I would not blame my party's leadership for refusing to go into a room with the Prime Minister alone, such is the abuse there...if only because the members of the Government will circle the wagons and hurl unfounded abuse across the House even when they have no realistic basis for it. They apparently won't even try to confirm what did or didn't happen with their colleagues...they just go with a default reaction and dig in. And that, Mr. Speaker, is for shame.
Steven Andrews, MP for Croydon South
34 Policy/18 Media/23 Parliamentary
The met investigation has ended exactly as this government has expected - with the Prime Minister cleared of wrongdoing. This government has not disputed anything the Shadow Foreign Secretary had said, unlike him, we had no intention of declassifying any section of the transcripts just on a whim. He has still set a dangerous precedent with his actions and I have no doubt the consequences could damage this country in the future - that is ignoring his completely disastrous approach towards our allies and international commitments. I still strongly believe he should resign and reflect.
The Shadow Chancellor says this comes down to us 'disagreeing' with the Opposition, Madame Speaker, unfortunately it is more grave than that. I'll be absolutely transparent that following the Shadow Foreign Secretary's actions I would be absolutely hesitant to share any crucial intelligence with him or any members of the Opposition. This isn't about disagreement, it is about distrust.
Cozying up to the Opposition is not this government's responsibility, Madame Speaker, but protecting national security is. Until the Opposition can prove that they're serious on national security, they cannot demand any seat at the table where they're subject to crucial intelligence. I have absolutely no shame in saying that.
"[we] would rather die than leave the Labour Party." - Emily Thornberry.
Madame Speaker the Met investigation cleared my Right Honourable Friend the Shadow Foreign Secretary of any wrong doing, it did not clear the Prime Minister of any wrongdoing beyond that which is criminal. Indeed Madame Speaker the police clearly stated that the Prime Minister attempted to intimidate the Shadow Foreign Secretary into silence.
Madame Speaker intimidation and fear are the weapons of the autocrat and the dictator, they should not be the weapons of a British Prime Minister. The Prime Minister should apologise for attempting to intimidate opposition members into silence and for using the nature of her meeting as cover for it.
Conservative MP for North East Bedfordshire
Leader of the Opposition (2014-16)
Prime Minister (2014)
Parliamentary Experience: Novice (25)
Media Experience: Experienced (62)
Policy Experience: Novice (29)
When political interests have more consideration and importance over respect and good forms, democracy dies. What we saw a few days ago has been one of the greatest attacks on our democracy, a complete shame, and more if it's coming from Government, then it's power abuse.
My fellow members, according to independent investigation, specially Police investigations, my Right Honourable Friend the Shadow Foreign Secretary has been completely exhonarated from any wrongdoing, and all of this after the constant pressure received by the Coalition Government, a Government that accused him as a traitor, and the worst of all, a Government that used public institutions and taxpayer's money to gain political battles, a complete and clear abuse of power, now we understand why Labour and LibDems are friends and support high taxes, to have more means to attack the Opposition.
When an attack against democracy happens, and if it's performed by the Government, it's the obligation of the Opposition to ask them explanations, we are here today trying to get answers, but we can only see a weak Government hiding behind their actions of abuse, there should be a responsible for this horrible action, for this great insult to British democracy and constituents, and the greatest responsible of a Government is the Prime Minister and I didn't see her today, don't hide behind Downing Street and give answers.
MP for Richmond Park
Parliamentary: Unknown (8)
Media: Novice (22)
Policy: Unknown (6)