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Tittle tattle?

Nick Robinson | 14:28 UK time, Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Arise Sir Keith or will it be Lord Vaz or Governor of Bermuda?

Keith VazWhat began as a barbed joke at the expense of the chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, Keith Vaz turned into a significant exchange at today's Prime Minister's Questions.

Just nine minutes before PMQs began the Telegraph dropped a cracking story about a letter sent by Labour's Chief Whip to Mr Vaz .

It was written the day after the knife edge vote on 42 days detention without charge which Gordon Brown only just won and, according to the Telegraph, read as follows:

"Dear Keith...Just a quick note to thank you for all your help during the period leading up to last Wednesday's vote. I wanted you to know how much I appreciated all your help."
"I trust that it will be appropriately rewarded!...With thanks and best wishes, Geoff."

David Cameron - who'd clearly been forewarned about the story - used it to demand to know what plain old Mr Vaz, for now at least, had been promised. Of course, we'll probably never know. What's more, if anything was promised or even hinted at it's much less likely to be delivered now.

I suspect that Geoff Hoon will say that he was teasing Mr Vaz after the jokes that had been circulating around the Commons about what had been promised.

What may prove more significant in the long term is the PM's repetition of his claim that "no deals" were done to secure victory. If, as they expect, Northern Irish MPs soon greet extra government investment or a concession on this or that government proposal it is a claim that will be scrutinised very hard.

Of course, deals are done all the time in Westminster in the search for coalitions needed to win tight votes (although they're usually implicit rather than explicit so as to be deniable.)

This begs the question - why when first asked about deals did Gordon Brown offer up yet another hostage to fortune rather than simply declaring that he'd done what was necessary to make the country safe whilst dismiss talk of deals as Westminster village tittle tattle?


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  • Comment number 1.

    The nation has stopped listening to Brown and his ilk.
    The Vaz letter just reinforces the duplicity of New Labour.
    I wouldnt believe anything Brown said.

  • Comment number 2.

    I can't believe there is anyone in the country who doesn't believe that deals were done.

    Gordon Brown just looks like he is telling lies.

    Not that I agree with the 42 day policy, but for the sake of integrity he would have been better saying that "the government did what was necessary for the sake of the country".

    Too many times we see Gordon trying to pull the wool over the publics eyes. He thinks he is very clever, but his web always untangles and he ends up with egg on his face.

    Tony Blair used to skip over the sort of hurdle Gordon runs into face first.

  • Comment number 3.

    Perhaps what he really should have said was why dont you ask Mr Hoon.

  • Comment number 4.

    Of course deals are done.
    What the PM was referring to was deals done in the form of bribes.

    As for Cameron, this is distasteful to comment on private correspondance probably obtained by sinister or even illegal methods.

    Who had what to gain by making sure this reached a newspaper, especially a Conservative leaning one?

    And what motives lay behind the perpetrators actions?

    Is this the behaviour of a would be PM and what signal does it send to the young?

    As I see it this is behaviour unbecoming to a would be PM, what honour was ther in David Cameron's actions...None

    Politics at it's lowest form.
    What a level to sink to. I doubt if he can sink much lower than this episode.

  • Comment number 5.

    When it comes to what to believe, I think I'd believe someone like Diane Abbott on this kind of thing.

    She's an insider with her ear to the ground who physically sees/hears it all happening, and, being a Labour MP who's spent years praising Brown at every opportunity, when she says that what was going on behind the scenes was shameful I'd tend to believe her.

    If she thought the deals were truly happening and were very very bad/nasty, then my guess is that the real truth of what was going on must have been much much worse.

  • Comment number 6.

    I can just imagine wee Gordie Broons thought process when Dave asked him to confirm no deals were done.

    "Oh Blimey what does he know that I don't"

    "Yes we have no bananas"

    Then the letter is shown that some deal was done.

    "Oh no I've been rumbled........again!"

    "We were just thanking him for doing the right thing" "taking a deal and voting with us" Phew dodged that one maybe no one will notice what a bungling buffoon i really am. I wonder if i left now i could get Wendy's job in Holyrood.

  • Comment number 7.

    Brown is lying, simple as. He can't possibly have not known about this. Will there be repercussions? Of course not. Well, not for the MPs anyway. Just like in 'The Thick Of It' re: the housing scandal--- the government announce there's going to be an 'inquiry' and all the MPs cheer. And what's more irritating than anything is that Brown isn't even lying for a worthwhile cause. He forced the 42 days legislation through purely to make himself look tough. Maybe that's why he always accuses Cameron of being soft on terror--- psychological overcompensation. It is Brown who is soft, and he's destroying our country for the sake of his reputation. He lost the plot a long time ago and now both his reputation, the Labour party, our civil liberties and the country at large are in tatters. Someone ought to do the decent thing and oust him along with his ragtag band of useless buffoons.

  • Comment number 8.

    No deals were done, just like he never intended to call an election last Summer.

    This man is finished. It gets worse every week.

    Fun for us though.

  • Comment number 9.

    So Nick... David Davis WAS right to take the stand he did... Are you going to say sorry?
    David’s website is - daviddavisforfreedom .com

  • Comment number 10.

    The past 12 months have provided a torrent of evidence that Gordon Brown is both dishonest and cowardly. This story merely adds itself to an ever lengthening list.

  • Comment number 11.

    Not so much the 42 day issue (though it will take 42 days to die down) another example of the Government being careless with the data.....

  • Comment number 12.

    Oh dear, here we go again.

  • Comment number 13.

    No deals done!!! Another what I call “rye” (Rollup Your Eyes) moment from Brown. As you commented today, why can’t he just be open and say “I did what was necessary for the security of the country”. His instinct seems to be, deny in the face of the facts, using some legalistic twist in the language to reject accusations of lying. It does not wash anymore

  • Comment number 14.

    I agree with you, Nick.

    It's almost like Brown wants to be seen as above normal politics and, because people realise that obviously he isn't, he comes across as shifty and with something to hide. Or, as Cameron has it, he is taking the public as fools. Same with the election that never was and many other issues.

    The public realise that something is wrong when he says these things and do not therefore wholly trust him.

  • Comment number 15.

    "knife edge vote" Nick, surely?

  • Comment number 16.


  • Comment number 17.

    I am sure the repremand to Buff will not be "dont make promises" it will be "dont put your promises in writing".

    The government have continually lowered the level of 'proof' required against defendants in criminal trials. It is time the level of proof required against politicians followed suit.

    Lack of evidence clearly does not ensure innocence.

    When ministers fail to respond to interview requests maybe they should be reminded of the warning "should you fail to mention now something that you later rely on..."

    And what about their previous records -- Blunket keeps popping up, his dishonesty isn't going to be forgotten is it?

    And integrity relating to expenses? as is continually pointed out, 'poor people' go to prison for lesser things.

  • Comment number 18.

    Trudy Victoria

    'What a level to sink to. I doubt if he can sink much lower than this episode.'

    I think it is hilarious that you say this about the person who brings the disreputable deed to the attention of the public, rather than the person who actually committed the deed!

  • Comment number 19.

    What a non-story.. deals are always done in politics its how the world works

  • Comment number 20.

    firstly, when one reads the letter, it does come across as a jest; particuarly the inclusion of the exclamation mark - does anybody disagree? also, if Vaz was going to receive a knighthood or what have you in return for his support, would Geoff Hoon really have written it down? coming back to the bribes point, if Brown had to take such measures, then it was only due to the playing politics of the opposition, who were desperate to weaken Brown further. how many conservative MPs voted along with the party line? how many of them voted with the 28 days? nearly all.

    secondly, #4 was spot on. disgraceful to see the leader of the opposition brandishing a document which undoubtedly was illegally gained.

  • Comment number 21.


    Trudy i love your indignation.

    My kids exhibit similar reactions when caught doing what they shouldnt have.

    If no deal had been done then no letter could have been written.

    as for your interpretation of the incumbant PM in your first paragraph, well it made my cat laugh

  • Comment number 22.

    According to the BBC's own news archive, back in 2002:

    "The Commons standards and privileges committee has found Mr Vaz committed serious breaches of the MPs' code of conduct and showed contempt for the House of Commons."

    just do a search on the bbc or google for his name and you'll find everything you need to know; then make up your own mind about whether or not you'd believe him when he says that nothing was offered.

  • Comment number 23.

    I thought you were very good on The Daily Politics today, Nick.

  • Comment number 24.

    Trudy_Victoria @4 exceeds her usual ZaNuLabour hyperbole ("sinister or even illegal") by writing:

    "Politics at it's lowest form. What a level to sink to. I doubt if he can sink much lower than this episode."

    This gob-smackingly ridiculous accusation is made against those exposing a government who has evidently bribed MPs in order to further erode our liberties.

    No T-V, I'm not debating you - just pointing out to what despicable depths NuLabour supporters can sink.

  • Comment number 25.

    There is still hope in a naughty world. With all the talk of racism in the Met, whether valid or not, the bestowing of peerages and honours in the UK is certainly not. I believe we have a wider range of ethnics as new peers and lords than there are of the native UK subjects.

  • Comment number 26.

    Is it me or are Trudy_Victoria and Grandantidote the same person.
    Certainly siamese twins!

    Mind you you have to admire ability to see to type with thier collective head so firmly burried in the sand alongside GB's

  • Comment number 27.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 28.

    Oh look, not only has a certain letter been leaked but Peter Hain's in trouble again. Another very bad day for Labour. It's not all doom and gloom though--- with every offence Labour step ever closer to the political abyss. They'll be gone soon! :)

  • Comment number 29.

    Post #4 Trudy

    Hi Trudy,

    Although it's unclear whether or not the promises to Vaz are true or not, the letter, however it was obtained, hints at a very sinister arrangement being made.

    42 days is an issue of great importance in relation to the liberties of people in this country and the possibility that any MP was swayed by the vanity of an honour is sickening - more so the Chair of the Home Affairs Select committee.

    Judgements made by any MP voting on an issue of such great importance should be based on sound, informed thinking that passes the rigours of debate and not on the, implied or otherwise, gift of the government.

    Why shouldn't David Cameron raise it in this forum - it's not as if they'll (the govt) really raise it themselves is it?

  • Comment number 30.

    What matters is not whether any deals were done, but that most people (certainly according to these posts) believe that deals WERE done.

    So presumably, all of these people think that, when Gordon Brown states that he did no deals, he is lying.

    Not good form for a PM who needs to go to the country within 22 months.

  • Comment number 31.

    Brown is a British version of the Iraq information minister. He stands there telling us one thing while we can quite blatantly see hes lying. There has to be some medical condition he is suffering from surely. Joe Bloggs off the street could get away with things better as PM than Brown. He gets caught and makes a mess of everything.

  • Comment number 32.

    Isn't this all a bit precious? Politics has always been in part about conviction and in part about rewards. (Oh and by conviction I don't mean the sort you receive before the 'beak'!) Mutual back scratching is part of the territory. Stick and carrot - that is what most things are about.

    As a journo, Mr Robinson you must know this. This type of story diverts your 'blogists' from discussing more important things such as the colour of David Cameron's tie or if (Sir) John Major did wear his shirt inside his underpants!

    Do they still distribute title 'bungs' is a brown paper envelope? We should be told! Tell us now! or there will be no more buns through the bars of your cage!

    Gravitas, Mr Robinson please.

  • Comment number 33.


    I'm a bit confused.

    No comment on Hazel Blears who said "If you look at Keith Vaz's position on the 42 days he was always going to support it - this wasn't a case of, you know, 'if you vote with us, we will offer you this'."

    This is on the BBC site.

    However, didn't Vaz and the home affairs committee originally oppose the 42 day detention until concessions were made.

    Is this a minister forgetting ... being stupid ... being just Hazel Blears ... or yet one more lie who only the BBC report without comment ?

  • Comment number 34.

    When are we going to get a vote of no confidence for Mr Bean. Or will the oaf ignore thats happening too. The country is crying out for this man to go, who is going to be the strongest to oust him and at least attempt to get things back on track.

    Good ole Gordie is not fit for this job in any shape, form or fashion. Start the campaign "Oust the Oaf!".

    All Gordon seems to be doing is staggering quite poorly from one disaster to another. I'm pleading with the Labour Party, if you are desperate to keep in power get your act together and get Gordon out

  • Comment number 35.

    How about a couple of passports for him to pass on to his friends - he has done that before so he may appreciate that as a reward.

  • Comment number 36.

    Steve_HMFC_CF: You've missed the whole point.

    We all *know* a deal was done. We don't like it, think it's wrong ... but we know it was done.

    The story is that our Prime Minister just stood up at the despatch box in Prime ministers question Time and lied through his teeth (until interrupted by Gorbals Mick.)

    He lied, Steve ... he lied to the commons, he lied to the country. The man is a liar.

    That's a huge story.

  • Comment number 37.

    Just a few observations…

    I can’t believe some of the commentators here are attacking Cameron for raising the issue. Given the contents of the letter and Brown’s stated position – can anybody really name a past leader of the opposition who wouldn’t have used it?

    However, I don’t believe for one moment that the letter confirms that a bribe or reward had been offered to Vaz. The Chief Whip was almost certainly making a jokey reference to the rumours of bribes etc…. After all, if there had been an inducement, no GVN minister would have been foolish enough to refer to it in writing. Furthermore, I suspect that in private most Conservative commentators know this to be the case.

    Equally since the 42 day vote was presented as an issue of national security and a near confidence vote in the PM; I’d be amazed if the whips hadn’t cajoled and arm-twisted a few backbench MP’s into supporting the GVN. This is normal practice in parliamentary system the world over; so why did Brown choose to explicitly deny the obvious? In doing so, he has created the conditions for Cameron’s opportunism – so if Labour supporters want to blame someone – blame the PM. Period.

    For an astute politician, he is remarkably accident prone.

  • Comment number 38.

    re: 34

    Yes! Oust the oaf! Boot out Brown! Get out Gordon! Wake up everyone, the PM is a liar--- no, hang on--- an UNELECTED liar. Nobody wants him there, he has no right to be there and there've been scandals every day all year. What else needs to be said?

  • Comment number 39.

    #4 Trudy-Victoria
    "Politics at it's lowest form.
    What a level to sink to. I doubt if he can sink much lower than this episode."

    Baby - you ain't seen nothing yet! If you want to play with the big kids, wise up a little. What a limited small person you sound. Get real!

  • Comment number 40.

    How bad do things need to get before the New Labour supporters finally pack it in and have a bit of a crisis - i.e. admit to themselves that it's all been a Wizard of Oz act?

    What will they believe in then? They obviously don't want to go with the hard left wingers, and they feel uncomfortable with Dave and Co.

    You get the feeling that the limbs are still twitching with a desperate desire for survival / not see the truth.

    Perhaps there's still mileage yet in the cobblers that Balls and Blears come up with! lol

    And tell me again what the PM's "vision" is again? Or is it just the Emperor's Clothes?

    Apologies for the clash of metaphors ;-)

  • Comment number 41.

    Right Brain of Britain at 38#

    Tell me when this Country EVER elected a PM!!

    When was it and which party did he belong to?

  • Comment number 42.

    The reply came load and clear Nick..
    Sending a letter to someone to thank for their support is now perceived to be bribery, but having it black on white that someone paid a nanny hundreds of thousands of pounds from the public purse is correct.

    So far Cameron has been the best leader to jump on the bandwagon to earn votes.

    Ask them about what they would do with regards to the car tax regime and they will give the impression that they have some kind of a magic formula that they will tax, but not hurt, they will not tax, but agree to green taxes.
    Where were they when in all previous budgets including Tories ones, when the chancellor used to increase tax on vehicles that were bought years before? Why call it retrospective now, because people are feeling the pinch?
    They will tax cause they are green, but then when it comes to speaking with the hauliers they say that the Government should actually reduce tax on all fuel.
    NO ONE AROUND THE WORLD IS REDUCING FUEL TAX. This would be counter productive.

    By the way, who are the poor that bought a new car some 7 years ago. A car that has a 2.4 litre engine and does 10 miles to the gallon, and now cannot afford higher road tax? The poor people I am aware of, own vehicles that were even greener then new vehicles because they have 800 or 1000 cc engines. These will not be paying anything, and the Mondeo man is not considered to be poor either. I live in a rural area and I am not aware of any poor people, that own Range Rovers, BMW, and other extravagant 4x4 that cannot afford higher car tax.
    Good night Nick.

  • Comment number 43.

    A prime minister who makes himself more unpopular every time he appears at the dispatch box, on the TV, on the GMTV sofa. What a tremendous result for NewLabour. Death by a thousand cuts.

    Even Polly Tuscanybee can't stand him anymore. Come on the Guardianistas! get rid of Gordon now!

  • Comment number 44.

    It's a little silly for T_V to through her hands up in horror about a leaked document. It was, after all, from the Labour Chief Whip to a senior Labour MP. Possibly passed on by yet another Labour politico who's not too happy with the current state of affairs.

    Blair used Campbell to leak - or organise the leakage of - masses of selected information. (Remember poor Dr. Kelly, who was not even given a proper in-depth inquest?) Brown/Balls used Whelan. So what's new?

    Political horse-trading goes on all the time in Parliament, so it's not even a surprise.

    But it could be disappointing. You would hope that on issues concerning defence of the Realm and defence of civil liberties, MPs would have the courage to vote with their conscience.

    We all hope it never happens, but it would be interesting to see how the provisions of the "42 day" act really work. It will also be interesting to see what happens when, after 42 days there is still inadequate evidence to pursue a trial. (Especially if another country stumbles over some potentially useful evidence which can't be collated until day 44...

    I'm not sure this was a great topic, Nick.

    I'd be interested to understand where the Bank of England gets the money to cover all deposits in UK banks up to UKL50,000. Any idea what the total exposure is?

    And if the BoE has all this money, why do Governments rack up UKL 300+Billions of debt, on which we (tax-payers) have to pay massive interest?

  • Comment number 45.

    Gordon Brown is good in a crisis (we are told).

    But it is well known in management thinking that people who are good in crises tend to create them! (read Belbin)

    It is probably too late for "Huge Intellect" Brown but management (the PM's job) is about taking timely decisions that are good enough not waiting until all the information is available because by then it will be too late. That is called hindsight! I have had to rescue too many projects because very bright people could not take decisions in a timely and effectively way.

    Scary when he is running the country (down?).

  • Comment number 46.

    God, what IS wrong with Gordon Brown? Why does he continue to keep up with this pretence he is St Francis of Asissi reincarnated?

    Deals were done, Cuban sanctions were lifted, the substantial ego of (Lord) Vaz was massaged for as long as it took to get what he wanted - oh, and the Ulster Unionists walked away with the cream..

    And as a result, our freedoms have been chipped away at, yet again.

    Why does this man Brown continue to insult our collective intelligence with his child-like insistence that deals were not done?

    It's just so pathetic.

  • Comment number 47.

    Trudy Victoria-did you attend the Labour School of Spin or did you do the correspondence course? Either way, I must congratulate you as you obviously passed with honours.
    Are you related to Charles E Hardwidge? I only ask as we haven't heard from him recently.

  • Comment number 48.

    I'll bet there were more deals done over the 42 days than in a poker game. Great heavens this nation is terrible trouble.

  • Comment number 49.

    re: 41

    Erm let's see--- 1997, Blair. It was a landslide as I recall. I don't remember ever having the chance of voting for Gordon Brown. That was denied to us, remember? You mindless Labour supporters sure have selective memories.

  • Comment number 50.


    You are about as barking mad as Cameron if you think for one minute that a lawyer of Geoff Hoons stature is going to put anything in writing that may incriminate him.

    The problem is for you Tories is that for years you were all caught up in the mire of sleaze and corruption, you do not realise that there are others who do not share your sentiment.

    I can understand why you feel that way and for thinking the way you do, after all you had 18 years where you knew no better.

    Dispute that if you can or dare.

  • Comment number 51.

    In the past lying to the house was a resignation matter. Times and honourability have changed for the worse, unfortunately.

  • Comment number 52.

    I have to agree with an earlier poster that the significant thing about this episode is that there is now a knee-jerk willingness to believe that such an obviously jokey comment in a personal note has sinister conspiratorial implications. That must be of tremendous concern to the government, because this sort of mind- set, even when based on a degree of irrationality, is very difficult to turn around.

    I am willing to give Cameron the benefit of the doubt since it appears that he only saw the report less than 10 minutes before PMQs, so he didn't have much time to think about what he was going to do. My own feeling is that on reflection he will tend to think that he was unwise, but now that he has raised it he will have to keep on trying to make as much capital as he can out of it.

    The issue with the DUP looks like another non-issue. Brown is not as good a politician as Blair (who I greatly admire) when it comes to ducking and diving, but he simply could not make such clear statements about there being 'no deal' if in fact there had been. Too many people would have been involved, including at least 9 (?) who are hardly political allies, to have had any chance of keeping it quiet. As Nick said on TV this lunch time, there was a very straightforward position to adopt if there had been a deal since deals are the lifeblood of politics; no need at all to commit political suicide by trying to hide something that couldn't be hidden.

  • Comment number 53.

    The short answer to both of these questions is emphatically NO!!.

    I have never ever been a cared holding member of the Labour Party either, just in case that was your next question.

    And no to the next question I frequently get asked, I do not have insider knowledge either.

    just a strong Social concience and a great interest in politics

    The sole reason I can comment on these things is, I have forgotten more about politics than some will ever know.

    Plus the fact, I check my facts and I will argue the toss with anybody if I think I am right.

    And like a Jack Russel I will not let go or be brow beaten by anybody.

  • Comment number 54.

    We should remember:

    First they came for the Jews
    and I did not speak out
    because I was not a Jew.
    Then they came for the Communists
    and I did not speak out
    because I was not a Communist.
    Then they came for the trade unionists
    and I did not speak out
    because I was not a trade unionist.
    Then they came for me
    and there was no one left
    to speak out for me.

    Pastor Martin Niemöller

  • Comment number 55.


    Erm when did the electorate ever elect a leader?

    In this Country we elect Parties not leaders, or do you know something we do not?

    A lot of people voted Labour who detested Tony Blair as they did Thatcher.

    But perhaps you can contradict that can you?

  • Comment number 56.

    I have just reread Hoon's note.

    I think it is clever wayfor MR GB to get out of having to deliver on the promises made to Keith Vaz - can hardly ennoble him or give him a knighthood now can they?

    Or is just a blunder?

  • Comment number 57.

    If you watch the footage carefully… Jack Straws horrified face says it all.

  • Comment number 58.

    #55 Trudy_Victoria

    Erm when did the electorate ever elect a leader?

    In this Country we elect Parties not leaders, or do you know something we do not?

    T_V I don’t know about you but I voted for a prospective/standing MP who was a member of a particular party.

  • Comment number 59.


    It would be helpful if you were to point out that Vaz only got the role of Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee as a result of some underhand measures last year by the then (impartial) Leader of the House, the grate Harriet.

    Having gone to great lengths to get him into that post, it was surely beholden on wee Keith to come up trumps when the time arose.

    Personally, I wouldn't believe a thing either Gordon, Harriet or wee Keith said, especially the latter as detailed in an earlier entry.

    Meantime, all three are guaranteed a huge payout from us the taxpayers when they are finally given the heave ho. Is it only in Britain that we see such ineptitude followed by such reward???

    We have Gordon (Mr Bean), Hoon the buffoon, Hazel I lost my laptop, Yvette two homes / two allowances and Dave who believes that Gordon isn't keen on being on Centre Court.

    The leadership of the Labour Party? It really is a case of new Balls please (NOT)!

  • Comment number 60.

    And watch how the speakers saves Brown.

    Even Brown is expecting to speak again and stands up. But the speaker brings in another question.


  • Comment number 61.

    Sorry I can seem to post the link this systems rubbish

    Its all on just go looking for PMQs

  • Comment number 62.

  • Comment number 63.


    One has never heard such stupidity in saying that we elect Prim Ministers.

    In UK we elect parties and we never vote or chose a PM.

    I do not know how old you are No.49, but let me start by telling you to stop throwing toys out of your pram.

    Or are you another so called aid, paid from the public purse, (maybe a nanny), to come up with such stupidity? Go to sleep and be quiet, it’s past your bed time.

  • Comment number 64.

    @ 56,

    My dear, only the Tories do those kind of things.

    They used to give them to DICTATORS like Mugabe.

  • Comment number 65.

    #61 RussellHolmstoel

    Sorry I can seem to post the link this systems rubbish

    Its all on just go looking for PMQs

    If you are commenting on PMQs earlier today it can be viewed on the BBC Political page under;

    The full story: PMs questions.

    Yes and I agree with you, they now even prohibit links to other BBC articles or stories.

  • Comment number 66.

    As distasteful as I find this timid, cowardly and pathetic prime minister, it's even worse when you see that cretinous Hazel Blears on The Politics Show.
    It's then that you realise just how bankrupt Brown's supposed "government of all the talents" really is. Unless, of course, she's there to represent the talent of being thoroughly stupid, annoying and incompetent.

  • Comment number 67.

    #63 Onlywayup

    One has never heard such stupidity in saying that we elect Prim Ministers.

    In UK we elect parties and we never vote or chose a PM.

    I don’t know about you but I voted for a prospective/standing MP who was a member of a political party.

    I do not know how old you are No.60, but let me start by telling you to stop throwing toys out of your pram.

    Or are you another so called aid, paid from the public purse, (maybe a nanny), to come up with such stupidity? Go to sleep and be quiet, its past your bed time.

  • Comment number 68.

    Truth is most people have no trust in those at Westminster . The ones who cravenly followed Blair's imaginary weapons of mass destruction to wage an illegal war deserve all the opprobrium they get - regardless of party . It is obvious since then that their standards haven't risen at all and the voters know this . Talking of social conscience easy but condemning the actions of a 'Socialist' government which killed and maimed thousands of women and children takes more than that .

  • Comment number 69.

    66. subedeithemomgol

    Shes there to make him look good.

  • Comment number 70.

    60' Your lack of political nous is definately to the fore with those remarks.

    The speaker intervened because David Cameron like you was too wet behind the ears to know that a question like that should be put to the Standard Committee and not to the PM.

    Cameron should have but did not know better the protocol regarding these matters.

    So much for a potential PM.

  • Comment number 71.

    #42 Onlywayup


    Probably because no other country is ripping of people at the pumps with an almost 70% tax on fuel.

    With regard to the proposed VED changes, buried in the small print is the scrapping of the exemption for older cars from the highest rates of vehicle excise duty. I don’t know about you but I have not seen many middle income earners, high income earners or rich drivers with cars over 10 years old. Yep once again Mr Bean is hitting the lowest paid workers in Britain.

    Looks like NuLabour are the party that are driving our lowest paid workers off the roads.

  • Comment number 72.

    I suggest you get a dictionaryu and look up the word cretin.

    You are going far to far calling Hazel blears that.

    In fact once years ago a labour MP called Sir Alec Douglas Hulme a cretin and was quite rightly suspended from Parliament for doing so.
    Apolologies if I have his name spelled wrong.

    It is a disgusting thing to call any human being, but still I expect you to know no better.

    Have you never been taught manners?


  • Comment number 73.

    The shocking thing is the stupidity of all of this. As Nick says people will be looking at the Northern Island MPs and Vaz. Many activists will have walked away after 10p and then 42 days. He has gained little and lost public trust and confidence (the Crewe budget for example) for a short term poll boost that appears not to have happened.

    He's lost it. He is detached and I am starting to wonder if the "psychologically flawed" thing was not just a jibe.

  • Comment number 74.

    For all those who love to demonstrate their knowledge of our electoral system by telling us that we do not judge in Prime Ministers...

    The attitude to Mr Foot and Mr Kinnock in the 70's and 80's that helped Labour suffer so badly.

    It's all well and good to quote that the electorate vote for their local MP first but what the vast majority of people look for is a LEADER and FIGUREHEAD!

    On that basis many people who voted for a party that was very much styled by the former PM, now feel that they have a party that they cannot connect with.

  • Comment number 75.

    70. Trudy_Victoria

    Im pleased you brought up NuLabour standards

    Dont panic thought its just another

    'Innocent mistake'

  • Comment number 76.

    No 72, I suggest that you look at your dictionary, where you should find a second (colloq) definition of cretin which is "stupid person".
    That defines Blears and - interestingly enough - you.

  • Comment number 77.

    Actually Trudy-Victoria, I absolutely agree with you. #66 subedeithe momgol raises many excellent points, and I agree with him as to the quality of Brown and his government.
    He is, however, wrong in calling Blears a cretin. With her lack of intelligence, political knowledge, articulation, breeding, honest compassion or any other attribute essential in public life, she nust be a wily character, full of cunning that enables her to land a position, paid for by the unfortunate tax payers.
    Whilst condemning the said blogger's manners, this is a question of the pot calling the kettle black. Reading your boring postings, when you are not embarrassing us with your personal details (as another poster wrote to you - this is not a social network), you rant and rave trying to insult those who do not agree with you. Think about it.

  • Comment number 78.

    In my opinion Hazel Blears has to be the most smug, self righteous politician I have ever seen. She can make the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end just appearing on the box.

  • Comment number 79.

    #47 jaydkay

    Are you related to Charles E Hardwidge? I only ask as we haven't heard from him recently.

    Funny you should ask that question, I believed she was related to kiwilegs.

    chuck_e_Hogwash I believe has retreated into is inner self!

  • Comment number 80.

    Poor old Mr Vaz what ever reward he was ever going to get for services to the country and as a major committe chairman he probably was in line, has surely gone out of the window.

    No one in the future will belive it was not for the 42 day vote.

    Yes deals have to be done in whatever party, unfortunately this government is being very blatant.

    As to comment by Hazel Blears she needs to remember the British public probably have a better memory than her, and to be good at porkies you have to have good memory, hers seems to be suffering.

  • Comment number 81.

    #78 stephenni1971:"In my opinion Hazel Blears has to be the most smug, self righteous politician I have ever seen. She can make the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end just appearing on the box. "

    Oddly enough I had (still have) the same visceral reaction to Margaret Thatcher. But unlike you, I accept that that is my problem, not hers.

  • Comment number 82.

    "Just a joke". I find even that to be sad if it is true. It confirms the impression that so many of our politians are just playing games. It's just the way the "club" members are.

  • Comment number 83.

    stephenni1971 @78wrote:
    "In my opinion Hazel Blears has to be the most smug, self righteous politician I have ever seen."

    True. Apart from Flint.

    And Hoon...

    And Harriet Harperson...

    And Milipede...

    Oh, and Balls.

    (and Mrs Balls, too)

  • Comment number 84.

    Of course David Cameron was right to question Gordon Brown on the letter. That's exactly what the Leader of the Opposition is there for - to hold the Government to account and to scrutinise their actions thoroughly.

    Having said that, even if it was meant as a joke, - what a stupid comment for Geoff Hoon to put in the leter!

  • Comment number 85.


    I'm sure that you already know that Nick Palmer, the Labour MP for Broxtowe, posted the following on

    “I did get something for my vote - the promise of compensation for people detained longer than 28 days who are subsequently released - Mohammed Sarwar and I made that our condition.
    by Nick Palmer MP June 11th, 2008 at 8:24 pm”

    If that isn't a deal - honest and open though it may be - what the hell is?

  • Comment number 86.

    Re No. 59

    Is it only in Britain that we see such ineptitude followed by such reward???

    Actually, yes!

    Neil Kinnock, failed as Labour leader, sent to Brussels. Failed at that, sent to the Lords.

    Peter Mandyson, sacked (TWICE) sent to Brussels.

    In this country we reward failure but penalise success. Budget cuts to HM Forces but knighthoods/promotions to the real incompetents!

  • Comment number 87.

    Trudy Victoria (TV) is proving to be an typical New Labour apologist. We all know Vaz's dereadful track record on truthfulness and looking after himself and not serving the public - just goole him. Hoon had done a deal with him to support 42 days - shame on them! And the sad sanctimonious way that Trudy Victoria takes the heat off Vaz, Hoon and Brown by attacking their critics is also typical New Labour. Have you also noticed that New Labour, despite 11 years in power, always now try to go back to the days of Tory Governments! New Labour has proved to be economically incompetent, corrupt and dishonest in its vast array of stealth and retrospective taxes. Well at least they will get thrown out at the next election.

  • Comment number 88.

    Trudy-Victoria why do you come across as an arrogant self opinionated prig? Try sticking to facts and the theme of the blog not attacking anyone who points out the falts and double standards shown by New Labour.

  • Comment number 89.

    Comment number 4 by "Trudy Victoria"...

    and what evidence is there that Cameron used any form of underhand method to obtain this information? even if the relevant newspaper used perhaps immoral methods (almost certainly somebody associated with Mr Vaz leaked it to them - so certainly *not* illegal), Cameron has done nothing illegal, and surely as leader of the opposition it is moral, nay, obligatory, for him to question the prime minister on this topic.

  • Comment number 90.

    #89 Jon_C_Robinson: "almost certainly somebody associated with Mr Vaz leaked it to them "-

    I think that is most unlikely. This was a personal note, I think handwritten. Vaz would either have kept it himself, or quite possibly dropped it in his waste bin because there was no obvious reason to keep it.

    I suspect that somebody picked it out of the bin, either in his office or in the Commons waste collection area, and gave/sold it to the paper. They might well be paying somebody to rifle through the rubbish - they certainly do it to celebrities.

    The amazing thing is that anybody took it seriously, when it was obviously a joke referring back to Vaz's comment in the House when he was accused of having been bought by the offer of a Knighthood.

  • Comment number 91.

    Week after week at PMQ's Broon falls back on the old list... extra investment... you've never had it so good... Oh for once if he would just ANSWER a question. Clegg hit the nail right on the head with the 'list not answer' comment.

    He derides the tories with the old ' he could have asked any question and he wastes it on flippant comments'... then has a laugh as one of his own uses a question to ask about Gordon Banks.

    I also thought the tory comment on Afghan was very pertinent too. We are now stuck in a dirty war with no way out. How it sickens me to see Blair whoring himself around the world as a great peacemaker when OUR lads and girls are off fighting in a war he started.

    I had the honor of meeting an Army Captain today who had just received the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal for going back under fire 5 times to rescue his wounded men. It's people like that this country is letting down - there are those who are prepared to lay down their lives for US , yet we have many living here and supported by the state who would do anything to bring us down - remember the afghan hijackers who brought a plane here - we were told they would be deported - and years later they are staying and all on benefits.

    The sooner this government are out the better

    Rant over....

  • Comment number 92.

    As with the denial that falling polls had anything to do with bottling the election-that-never-was, Brown reverts to type, preferring a lie that insults the intelligence of the voters to a truth that might admit to some weakness.

    Had Brown then wryly smiled and said "Nobody calls an election they don't have to when the odds don't look in their favour" people would still have applauded Cameron's success but they wouldn't have regarded Brown with the scorn that his ridiculous denials earned him.

    And as you say, had he said "I have done whatever bargaining was necessary to secure the safety of the country" then tosh though this argument would be (last year we needed 90 days so whatever happened to not compromising?) some would have given him the benefit of the doubt. But no, the old instincts kick in and his reflex is always to lie and deny everything, however ludicrous the argument.

    Of course the interesting question now is what extra Brown will have to offer those who were also offered "sweeteners" on the 42 days deal to now keep quiet about it - it'll only need a couple to bring him down now I reckon...

  • Comment number 93.

    johnmbkr wrote:

    "In the past lying to the house was a resignation matter. Times and honourability have changed for the worse, unfortunately."

    Well, except for David Davis, who HAS resigned on a point of principle. But we won't be hearing about that from Nick Robinson, because he believes that Davis was 'having a mid-life crisis'.

    I wonder whether journalists also cut deals for lobby access....

  • Comment number 94.

    "You are about as barking mad as Cameron if you think for one minute that a lawyer of Geoff Hoons stature is going to put anything in writing that may incriminate him." - Trudy_Victoria

    But he didn't - he put something in writing that incriminated Gordon Brown...

    And besides, why not? Labour don't worry about putting things in writing that may incriminate them - just look at their promises to hold a referendum on the EU Constitutional Treaty (yes, "treaty") or not to introduce university top-up fees. Or indeed that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction ready for use in 45 minutes.

    About the worst thing one can say about this Government is not that they lie, not even that they feel no deep shame in lying, but that they see absolutely nothing even slightly wrong in doing so. Habitually.

  • Comment number 95.

    #90 jimbrant

    The amazing thing is that anybody took it seriously, when it was obviously a joke referring back to Vaz's comment in the House when he was accused of having been bought by the offer of a Knighthood.

    I could agree with your opening remarks with regards acquisition of the note, as one option, but the latter part above takes a quantum leap of faith. A leap that I believe not to many people will take.

    I say that because an ever increasing number of people, due to previous events, now do not trust this PM, no matter what he says.

  • Comment number 96.

    Hazel Blears really infuriated me speaking to Nick and the Daily Politics earlier, saying how bad arguments annoy Gordon Brown - sorry? this is a government who refuse to listen to anything and force through unpopular bills without evidence or consultation - they haven't got anything good!

  • Comment number 97.

    oh and - Trudy_Victoria

    this is called holding the government accountable, we may not like the media's actions sometimes but getting information like this is one of the few ways of keeping government action in check, I don't want labour running around doing what they like without getting caught

  • Comment number 98.


    '....I suggest you get a dictionaryu and look up the word cretin....'


    Perhaps you should get a dictionary and look up the spelling for.........'dictionary'

    '....You are going far to far calling Hazel blears that.....'

    I think you mean......'going too far'

    You're not very well educated are you Trudi?

    '......In fact once years ago a labour MP called Sir Alec Douglas Hulme a cretin and was quite rightly suspended from Parliament for doing so.
    Apolologies if I have his name spelled wrong......'


    Yes; well spotted TV you did spell his name's 'Home'

    You also misspelt 'apologies'..........DOH!

    '.....It is a disgusting thing to call any human being, but still I expect you to know no better....'

    My God! The grammar is just tortuous!

    '....Have you never been taught manners?....'

    Have you, Trudi, ever been..........well?........taught anything?

    Priceless drivel from a New Labour "Educashun, Edukayshon, Educashunalist"

    What fun! :O)

  • Comment number 99.

    "I trust you will be appropriatlly rewarded!"
    Can you not see that is a joke? as Conservatives are a miserable lot probably not.

    publishing this letter on the website 9 minutes before pmqs and giving a copy to Cameron is a cheap trick from a Conservative propaganda sheet. Is rifling through someones rubbish not an invasion of civil liberties? David Davis future leadership challenger and former shadow home secretary will be cross. Hypocrites!

  • Comment number 100.

    Things must be bad in the mother country if the opposition has to rely on the Daily Telegraph to score points at PMQ on what is a pretty open goal issue.

    Also sorry to see another desperate government having to do deals with the Unionists though. Reminds me of the last days of Major's government.


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