Tory MP praises rich Qataris as ‘right’ type of immigrant, not refugees ...
We've just been subjected to another week in Tory Britain. Lucky us.
This week, MPs and ministers including the PM himself have sparked anger by making controversial comments, government officials have received police fines, and policies have been advanced that have negatively impacted the UK.
It has been a long week alright.
And we are here to let you know all about it.
Here's a run-down of the last seven days in British politics.
It has been a while since Johnson has annoyed minority groups but just as we thought he had learned to think before speaking he had a pop at trans people.
At a dinner party for Tory MPs, the PM's joke ended up being very badly timed indeed, considering one of his MPs Jamie Wallis came out as trans the very next day.
Johnson reportedly said:
"Good evening ladies and gentleman, or as Keir Starmer would put it, people who are assigned female or male at birth,” he had quipped, according to Politico, referring to the Labour leader's refusal to answer whether a woman can have a penis in an interview with LBC earlier this week.
The morning after he made the joke Wallis (who has said his pronouns remain he/him/his for now) posted a statement on Twitter about his gender dysphoria and while Johnson responded with a message of support, people weren't happy given the joke he made the night before and the SNP MP John Nicolson replied and said the prime minister had got "the tone badly wrong".
Some thoughts are best left unsaid. It is a shame Sir Bill Wiggin didn't get this memo on Wednesday when he complained about the "type" of migrants who come to the UK.
Speaking to Johnson at a liaison committee, he talked about prioritising wealthy short-term visitors and mentioned Qatar in particular, which has been criticised for its human rights record.
He moaned: “We have, on at least three occasions, promised the Qataris visa-free access.
“These are very wealthy people who are unlikely to stay. And yet, despite saying we do it three times, we still haven’t delivered.”
He continued: “The only people who are turning up are turning up in rubber boats.
“Why can’t we get the right people through our immigration system, instead of the wrong ones?”
He added: “We want Ukrainians, we want categories. We don’t want people in rubber boats. Yet we’re not getting it”.
Unsurprisingly, his comments attracted widespread condemnation from people who wonder why we can't get the "right types" of MPs to represent us.
MPs waste parliamentary time by campaigning for a Margaret Thatcher day
Despite the cost of living crisis, the ongoing war in Ukraine, the fallout from the pandemic and ongoing Brexit issues, one Tory MP thought it was very important indeed to ask the equalities minister if we could please have a Margaret Thatcher Day.
In scenes that breathe new life into the phrase "tidying the deckchairs on the Titanic", Sheryll Murray, the MP for South East Cornwall, told MPs on Wednesday that Thatcher "led the way by showing women that they can reach the highest office and do the job well" as backbench MPs cheered in support.
Equalities minister Kemi Badenoch endorsed the notion but said it wasn't up to her. She replied: "I personally would be very supportive of a Margaret Thatcher day. But I think that is probably more a question for the prime minister than myself."
Met police dish out Partygate fines
While we are at it, let's take a look at the fines themselves because the Met has said they are handing out the first fines, like mouldy canapes, to people who broke lockdown rules by attending events in Downing Street.
Remember, Johnson said "no rules were broken" but with 20 unnamed staffers set to be slapped with fines so far, it seems the police don't exactly agree.
The 12 events being examined include a “bring your own booze” garden party held on 20 May 2020 when laws strictly prohibited gatherings of more than two people outside, and a separate one on the eve of Prince Philip’s funeral.
It is understood Johnson is not among those receiving fines (yet anyway) and Downing Street have said that if he does get slapped on the wrist by the rozzers, they will let the public know.
Tories celebrate Partygate fines with ill-timed party
“Off to another party are we?" one person shouted at MPs as they entered the luxury Park Plaza Hotel, while another said "shame on you," set to the backdrop of boos.
June Newbon, who lost her husband during the pandemic, called the evening "disgusting" particularly, because the cost of living is rising, and because of the events unfolding in Ukraine.
Dominic Raab complains about "wokery and political correctness"
Given these developments, it seems that, Jacob Rees-Mogg dismissing Partygate as "fluff" has aged badly, as have his complaints he made at the same time about "woke stuff".
But another politician who decided that the woke debate is important, even though it has been discussed so much we are struggling to stay awake, was Dominic Raab.
In an exclusive interview with the Daily Mail, the deputy prime minister and justice secretary announced free speech will be given legal supremacy over other rights as part of replacing the Human Rights Act with a British Bill of Rights.
"I feel very strongly that the parameters of free speech and democratic debate are being whittled away, whether by the privacy issue or whether it’s wokery and political correctness," he said. "I worry about those parameters of free speech being narrowed."
Labour MP Chris Bryant used his free speech to tell Raab he was talking "utter b***ocks".
Brexit causes UK trade to flounder
Time to check up on Brexit. How is it doing? Not well, it seems. The Office for Budget Responsibility published research suggesting that the UK’s “trade intensity” has tumbled by around 15 per cent as a result of leaving the EU.
Never mind. Rishi Sunak told MPs at a treasury select committee that it was difficult to “disentangle” the impact of Brexit on trade from the blow delivered by the Covid pandemic but conceded: “It was always inevitable that there would be a change in our trade intensity with Europe as a result of a change in the trading relationship. That was expected and unsurprising.”
Alright but that's not what the Leave campaign said in 2016, bestie!
Sunak compares Will Smith's slap to people criticising his wife
Speaking of Sunak, who was prepared for him to compare people criticising his wife and her family company for failing to end financial ties with Russia with the Will Smith Oscars slap scandal.
Speaking to the BBC’s Newscast podcast, the chancellor said he had a difficult week and joked: “Someone said, ‘Joe Root, Will Smith, and me – not the best of weekends for any of us’.
“But I feel, on reflection, both Will Smith and me having our wives attacked – at least I didn’t get up and slap anybody, which is good,” he said.
He added: “You know, I think it’s totally fine for people to take shots at me. It’s fair game. I’m the one sitting here and that’s what I signed up for.”
The chancellor has been forced to deny his family is profiting from Vladimir Putin’s regime following reports about his wife’s family investments.
Tory MP defends Johnson over Partygate and everyone laughs
Maria Caulfield fielded an important question on BBC Question Time on Thursday, and left people in stitches.
After audience member Caroline Quinn asked whether Boris Johnson should resign “in light of the fixed penalty notices issued this week" over Partygate, the Tory MP echoed the PM's excuses and said:
"He genuinely did not believe that there was wrongdoing.
The audience burst out laughing in response.
"Pathetic response" to the cost of living crisis
On Friday, the 54 per cent rise in the energy price cap came into effect meaning a household using a typical amount of gas and electricity will now pay £1,971 per year.
This amounts to an average £700-a-year increase for households.
In February, Rishi Sunak announced a support plan worth £350 – via a £150 council tax rebate and a repayable upfront £200 discount – for each of “the vast majority of households” to take the “sting” out of the rise.
But Keir Starmer branded the government's response as "pathetic" and accused the government of forcing people to choose between heating their homes or eating.
We told you it has been a long week. Catch up with you all next week when we hope we will have fewer c***-ups to report on.
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