Long on integrity?
- 5 Mar 08, 10:36 PM
So the government won a comfortable majority of 63 in its efforts to stop a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. The Conservatives emerged for once as the most united party on an European matter, whilst the Lib Dems, normally at one on EU matters, saw a quarter of their MPs defy the whips.
It was a lively debate, and my favourite moment came when Peter Lilley tried to compare the Foreign Secretary David Miliband with the corrupt and long-deceased former governor of Louisiana, Huey Long. Long was once asked by an aide how he would explain to people why he'd ditched an election pledge. "Tell 'em I lied," Long is reported to have said.
When Lilley said Miliband and his colleagues didn't even have the integrity of Huey Long, the deputy speaker said it was un-Parliamentary language and he should back down at once. "I withdraw that remark," Mr Lilley duly said. "They have the integrity of Huey Long."
After the laughter had died down, Mr Lilley was forced to withdraw that comment too!