Paul Waugh Profile picture
Chief Political Commentator, @theipaper. News, insight and analysis from the House of Commons. Presenter, BBC Radio 4's The Week In Westminster.
LittleGravitas — 🇪🇺 💙 #FBPE #JohnsonOut Profile picture William Hite Profile picture john Profile picture 4 added to My Authors
3 Oct
In the @ConHome fringe, @michaelgove namechecks Marc Stears for his work on the way communities can save capitalism.
Stears was @Ed_Miliband's chief speechwriter.
Among other "political thinkers engaging with the big questions of the moment", he also namechecks Robert Puttnam and Paul Collier.
Gove says her prefers a 'covenant' approach to a 'contractual' approach to politics. Building societies, mutuals etc, part of the debate.
If you want to know what senior Conservatives like Gove are thinking, follow this fringe live here:
conservativehome.com/video/2021/10/…
Read 5 tweets
3 Oct
In Manchester for Tory conference and the first thing to note is just how small the auditorium is. They've shrunk the normal space significantly.
One drawback is that @OliverDowden speech is being conducted against a background of hubub noise from exhibition stalls/cafes outside the auditorium, over the other side of this partition.
Then again this is for graveyard slot. Mere smattering of applause so far. Actually so little at the end it was difficult to even realise he'd finished.
Read 5 tweets
3 Oct
Striking how combative and self-confident @BorisJohnson was on Marr.
Plus his direct messaging ("trust the police", wages growing, fastest ec growth in G7, pandemic triggered 'fiscal meteorite' neither Thatcher nor Wilson faced)
Big contrast to Starmer just 1 week ago.
Of course there were also the usual evasions and misdirection. The point is he's still ahead in the polls and held onto reservoir of public good will in part because he's v good at simple messaging. And also because Labour often isn't.
Note direct message to Leave voters (esp Red Wall): “When people voted for change in 2016 and when people voted for change in 2019, they voted for the end of a broken model of the UK economy that relied on low wages and low skills and chronic low productivity."
But problem is...
Read 4 tweets
29 Sep
Within seconds of @Keir_Starmer starting his speech, some left activists chant 'Oh Jeremy Corbyn'. I don't *think* Starmer heard it.
Best line so far from @Keir_Starmer as leftwinger heckles him. "This time on a Wednesday it's probably the Tories heckling me."
Huge applause from vast majority of audience.
Heckling tactic clearly aimed at disrupting the whole speech. As he talked about "our worst defeat since 1935", one leftwinger shouts "It was your Brexit [second referendum to blame]."
Read 13 tweets
28 Sep
At packed meeting with @Barry Gardener's #fireandrehire campaign, @johnmcdonnellMP says "One step to uniting the party is to restore the whip to Jeremy".
Asked about Andy McDonald's resignation, @johnmcdonnellMP describes it as "principled".
"If I was Keir Starmer I would accept the conference motion [on £15 an hour] and invite Andy McDonald back [into shad cab]."
Read 7 tweets
27 Sep
.@RachelReevesMP promises the next Labour govt would introduce "the biggest wave of insourcing of public services in a generation"
Says she's giving notice to firms who failed to deliver PPE and other contracts that Labour would claw every penny back.
Labour would create a new 'Office For Value For Money'.
Some would say that ought to be the Treasury.
But it's clear Reeves knows she needs to add an extra level of reassurance to voters to convince them Labour can be trusted with their cash.
Reeves says "I will be Britain's first green chancellor".
I don't *think* that's a side-eye at Gordon Brown's pro diesel cars tax changes...
Read 4 tweets
15 Sep
I've long thought @trussliz would be Williamson's replacement. Ex minister of state at DfE, comprehensive educated and....more than aware that a certain M Thatcher was Education Secretary.

#justspeculation #reshuffle
But if @trussliz becomes the new Foreign Secretary, her future leadership credentials certainly will be burnished even more.
V popular among Tory grassroots and in any final run-off with Rishi Sunak, members could back her.
Read 4 tweets
15 Sep
.@BorisJohnson notably ducking @Keir_Starmer #PMQ about how many extra hours a single parent would have to work to make up Uni Credit cut.

Wonder why he's not repeating No10 defence that @theresecoffey was referring to those on Work Allowance [ie parents] before taper kicks in?
One issue that this whole UniCredit/extra hours controversy puts front and centre is that many on Uni Credit *do* work.
Interesting that @BorisJohnson response includes attack line that Labour wants "uncontrolled immigration"
Read 5 tweets
14 Sep
Chris Whitty just burned @nickiminaj for promoting untruths about Covid jabs and it was a beautiful thing.
❤️‍🔥
Fair play to @BorisJohnson for saying "I am not as familiar with the works of @nickminaj as I am with the works of Nikki Kanani, superstar GP of Bexley [Medical Director of Primary Care for NHS England], who will tell you vaccines are wonderful'
Whitty: Minaj line re male impotence 'designed to scare' + 'just untrue'.
On antivaxxers who discourage others from getting jabbed: “Many of those people, I regret to say, know they are peddling untruths but they still do it. In my view, they should be ashamed”.
Mic. Dropped.🎤
Read 7 tweets
13 Sep
BREAKING: Chris Whitty and chief medical officers of UK APPROVE Covid jabs for over-12s.

huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/covid-ja…
What's most interesting about their advice is:
🚨 children in most deprived areas hit most by loss of schooling
🚨 serious risk to mental and physical health over short term and long term from disruption to education
🚨 'competent' under-16s can get jab without parental consent
Key line from their advice: "It is essential that children and young people aged 12-15 and their parents are supported in their decisions, whatever decisions they take, and are not stigmatised either for accepting, or not accepting. Individual choice should be respected."
Read 5 tweets
22 Jul
On plans to exempt 'critical workers' from isolation, @KwasiKwarteng tells @BBCr4today: "I don't think it's a question of applying...we will be publishing today the sectors that will be affected."

2 days ago, No.10 said firms *would* have to apply + there'd be no list of sectors
PM's official spokesman on Tuesday: "We’re not going to be producing a list covering individual sectors, these business-critical areas will be able to apply for exemptions to their host departments."

So, another U-turn today. Dizzying rate of these this week.
I explicitly asked the spokesman why the govt was not repeating its practice last year of precisely defining list of critical workers exempted from overseas travel bans in the 1st lockdown.
He said cos this was a smaller list of ppl it would be done on a "case by case" basis
Read 5 tweets
21 Jul
U-turn on a U-turn.
Govt press release confirms 3% pay rise for NHS staff.
.@sajidjavid “We asked the independent pay review bodies for their recommendations and I’m pleased to accept them in full, with a 3% pay rise for all staff in scope, from doctors and nurses to paramedics and porters...
"NHS staff are rightly receiving a pay rise this year despite the wider public sector pay pause, in recognition of their extraordinary efforts.."
Read 6 tweets
21 Jul
Interesting mask wearing by party allegiance in #PMQs.
I'd say only a quarter of Tory MPs are wearing face coverings.
Every Labour MP, @theSNP
and @LibDems MP wearing masks.
DUP MPs also not wearing masks.
Update, more Tory MPs have now out them on.
Current count: 14 with masks (tho just two on front bench), 17 without (including the Leader of the Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg)
Read 4 tweets
19 Jul
Just asked Jonathan Van-Tam which restrictions he wd reimpose if the NHS looks like it can't cope this summer.
He said Sage would have to assess but pointed out "close contact indoors" would be the big factor.
Sounded like a new mini-lockdown wd be needed (ie masks/WFH marginal)
Also asked Sir Patrick Vallance if he should level with the public this unlocking is a huge experiment.
He sd govt had made clear the risks.
"It's very likely we'll get to above 1000 hospitalisations a day, it could be quite a lot higher than that."
When I asked @BorisJohnson if @JeremyFarrar was right that his decision to delay a public inquiry to 2022 was just "political manoeuvring", the PM said it wd be wrong to ask senior officials to focus "energy and mental space" on it while dealing with the current third wave.
Read 5 tweets
13 Jul
BREAKING Govt wins overseas aid cut vote by 333 votes to 298. Big Tory rebellion
Criticism has been swift from aid charities. Church of England's Bishop of Worcester now wades in: "The criteria which the govt has now set out for a return to 0.7% are so stringent that it risks making permanent rather than temporary the reduction in our overseas development"
Read 10 tweets
13 Jul
NEW: No.10 defends Priti Patel after Tyrone Mings ( @OfficialTM_3 ) criticism. “The Home Secretary has been clear there is no place for racism in our country and that's why she is backing the police to hold those responsible accountable [for racist abuse]..."
PM's official spokesperson said: "The Home Secretary is working every day to clamp down on hate crime, racism and violence..."
PM opened today's cabinet meeting with a condemnation of the racist abuse aimed at some of the England team.
Spokesperson: "He said the abuse was utterly disgraceful and had emerged from the dark spaces of the internet...
Read 6 tweets
12 Jul
Exclusive: Masks Will Be Optional For MPs But *Compulsory* For Parliament Staff From July 19
huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/mask-wea…
.@ProspectUnion chief Garry Graham: "It is frankly ridiculous that staff will be required to wear masks around the estate but the very MPs and government ministers who set the rules will not.”
A spokesperson for Speaker Hoyle told HuffPost UK: “We have no employment or contractual relationship with Members which would enable us to mandate the wearing of masks. We therefore encourage Members to support us in keeping the Estate safe.”
Read 5 tweets
12 Jul
No.10 "totally rejects" claim by @GNev2 after Euro2020 that @BorisJohnson has himself “promoted” racist abuse with language like Muslim women looking like letterboxes.

“I totally reject that claim," PM's official spokesperson says.
"The prime minister set out this morning his response to some of the awful comments we've seen. He said this England team deserve to be lauded as heroes not racially abused on social media, those responsible for this appalling abuse should be ashamed of themselves,”
On Neville claim that PM + other ministers suggested it was fine to boo players taking the knee, he added: “It’s not accurate.

“The PM was clear that he wanted to see everyone getting behind the team to cheer them on. He made that clear on the 11th, before England’s first game.”
Read 7 tweets
5 Jul
.@BorisJohnson suggesting mask wearing depends on different types of train, depending on crowds.
Says there is "a difference between traveling on an overcrowded [commuter] train and sitting late at night in a virtually empty carriage on the main line"
Clear that Chris Whitty thinks mask wearing STILL needed "particularly at this point when the epidemic is clearly significant and rising" + when made others uncomfortable..
Tension with PM on this one is obvious

huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/boris-jo…
That Whitty quote in full: “I would wear a mask under three situations, and I would do so, particularly at this point when the epidemic is clearly significant and rising.
1/4
Read 8 tweets
30 Jun
Here's the case that @Keir_Starmer was raising in #PMQs.
Johnson shrugs it off by referring to the vaccine rollout, claiming Hancock was a 'Westminster bubble' issue. Tone deaf alert.

bbc.co.uk/news/uk-englan…
.@Keir_Starmer quick to pick up on the 'bubble' line. Johnson fails to withdraw the line.

PM says: "Of course he’s right about the sacrifice [of families like Ollie's]...the best response to their grief and their pain..is to get on with a new health secretary..."
Last week, Johnson appeared to dismiss concerns about rape victims as 'jabber'.
This week, he appeared to dismiss concerns about funeral restrictions on Covid families as 'the Westminster bubble'
Simple tone-check stuff, which he could avoid if he mixed the pace of his answers.
Read 6 tweets
29 Jun
Speaker Hoyle letting rip at Govt for failing to send cabinet ministers to Commons to answer Qs on transparency.
“I'm sorry the minister Gove wasn't here to take some of the questions because most of them are named for him...
"This House won't be taken for granted when statements are made outside here [ie by No.10 or in press conferences], continue to be made, that's why I'm going to continue to grant UQs...
"So let's get used to it. The government doesn't want to come here, I'm going to make sure it is heard here..."
Read 5 tweets