Category Archives: Democracy/Parliament

all issue related to House of Commons, House of Lords, elections, reforms and democracy

Prime Minister Liz Truss, apologises for making mistakes

Prime Minister Liz Truss, desperately trying to save her job in an exclusive interviewee early this evening ( 17 October 2022)  she tells BBC Chris Mason, she was determined to lead the conservative Party to the next election in  2024; and she said she was sorry for thousands of British people having to see their mortgage payments go up. She admits to making mistake.  

“ I do want to accept responsibility and say sorry, for the mistakes that have been made. I wanted to act but to help people with their energy bills to deal with the issue of high taxes, but we went too far and too fast. ” Said Liz Truss in response to Masons’ questions on who was to blame for this mess? “  I’ve acknowledged that. I put in place a new chancellor with a new strategy to restore economic stability. And now what I’m focused on is delivering for the public, whether that’s delivering on our energy price guarantee and we’ve made sure people are only paying a typical household £2500  but also delivering on the promise of growth, making sure we’re delivering on the roads, the broadband, the mobile phone signal, all of those things which is going to help our economies succeed.”

 Challenged by Mason that her very vision for Britain was dead, she said that she was

focused on delivering on energy supplies, on delivering new roads, new opportunities across our country. “We have to make sure though, that we have economic stability, and that has to be my priority as prime minister. I’ve acted in the national interest. I remain committed to the vision, but we will have to deliver that in a different way. And that’s what I’m determined to do. With the new chancellor Jeremy Hunt.”

 On her  ‘belittling of Treasury orthodoxy’ she said “…. we have to, of course, make sure we have economic stability as a country, and it was my responsibility as prime minister to take the tough decision and make sure we delivered that. We also need higher longer term growth and that’s vitally important to fund our national health service, to make sure families are able to succeed, to make sure we’re able to afford a great education system. .” However,  she  admits to getting a few thigs wrong  “But I recognise that we did act too fast, and that’s why I’ve adjusted what we’re doing and I do think it is the mark of an honest politician who does say, yes, I’ve made a mistake. I’ve addressed that mistake. And now we need to deliver for people, you known what we’ve said we’ll deliver.”

Mason  asked whether she still believed what she believed before, in what she said  ‘in those hustings’,  ‘ the kind of conservative philosophy, even though it didn’t work?’

She said she still believed  in a high growth low tax economy.  “What I recognise though is we do face very difficult circumstances at the moment. We’ve got rising interest rates across the world. We’ve got the war in Ukraine, perpetrated by Putin and what we had to do, and what I had to take the decision as prime minister to do, is make sure we acted to protect economic stability. Now, I do believe we need to get things in Britain moving faster, to help grow our economy. I want to get on with the road projects, the infrastructure we need the new energy supplies we need because we become far too dependent on global energy prices. But I recognise we did act too far and too fast and I’ve made the necessary adjustments to that.”

Was Rishi Sunak right all along, then?, Mason asked .

 “We had a very robust leadership campaign this summer where we debated ideas, we debated philosophy.” Truss said.

 Was Sunak proven right?

 “ I’m committed to a low tax high growth economy, but I have to reflect the real issues we face and my responsibility as prime minister is making sure that we have economic stability, that we protect people’s jobs. We’ve got the lowest unemployment since 1974. And we get through this very difficult winter. What I have delivered is we’ve already reversed the National Insurance increase which is important for families. We’ve also delivered on the energy price guarantee. Yes, Chris. I couldn’t deliver everything I wanted, “ she said .

But Mason challenged her on ditching everything.  

“ I delivered the energy price guarantee and the National Insurance and we will continue to work to deliver economic growth for our country. This week we’re introducing new legislation to make sure that we have smooth running rail services and that commuters can get into work and we were dealing with militant unions. So we will continue to deliver our agenda. “ was her reply .

Chris Mason  then asked : ‘

You talk about the energy package and that’s been the crutch if you like that you’ve leant on in the last couple of weeks when you faced difficult questions, proudly saying that it was bigger and bolder than Labour’s and yet that shrivelled as well, that hasn’t survived contact with the new chancellor?’

“this winter families will be protected, they won’t be paying the up to £6000 bills that they were facing. Now a typical household will pay no more than £2500 and we are putting that protection. ”

 On long term reassurance to families, Truss said  “ I can can reassure people off is that the most vulnerable will be protected into next winter. We’re looking at exactly how we can do that. And being in government is always about a balance or being able to make those decisions but I also have to think about and the chancellor has to think about economic stability. So we will make sure those households who are struggling, do have that support into next winter. We’ll be saying more about that in due course. Families will be protected this winter from those very very high bills. And as I’ve said, given the worsening conditions, we do have to make sure that we maintain economic stability that that has to be a priority.”

 And on massive increases in mortgage payments?

Well, look, I understand it is very difficult for families across the country.

and the fact is we are facing, face a difficult economic situation internationally where interest rates are rising, as well as pressure here in Britain.”

 Ditching that her policies made it worse,  Truss said “ what we’ve been through over the last few years is a very low interest rate world and that is changing and that is changing across the globe.”  And the same went for bills, Mason asked. That got her to apologise

“Well, first of all I have said sorry for the fact that we did act too far. We went too far and too fast… The reason I did that was to make sure that we were dealing with the immediate issue of the energy crisis. And we did help people with their energy bills. Now interest rates are a matter for the Bank of England. They are rising internationally. We will do what we can to help families, I’m particularly focused on helping the most vulnerable families. But we are in a difficult situation as a country and this difficult situation is being faced around the world. And we’ve had to adjust our policies as a consequence Chris.”

Mason  :  ‘ what do you say to people who say that you are now a prime minister in name only, that you’ve had to junk almost your entire plan, the very thing that you were elected upon you and you now have a chancellor who is executing a plan that’s a million miles away from your own and you have acknowledged that what you’ve had to pause, what you’ve had to stop is still what you really believe. You’re now leading a government that’s executing an agenda that you don’t even believe in.’

Truss  “ Well, I appointed the chancellor because I knew that we had to pursue these policies. I knew that we had to act to protect economic stability, and that’s why I appointed Jeremy Hunt. I’d been working very closely with the chancellor over the last few days to make sure that we have the right package in place, but it would have been completely irresponsible for me not to act in the national interest in the way where I have. I am somebody who’s honest. I’ve said that mistakes were made. But I’ve also acted to address that to make sure the country is in a strong position. And that’s what I will continue to do as prime minister.”

Chris Mason  ‘ Can you convince our listener and viewer that you have credibility still as Prime Minister because a reasonable minded observer might wonder from here on in, whether they can believe what you’re saying because so much of what you’ve said in your early weeks in office has been binned?’

Truss “ I’ve been absolutely honest about what I want to achieve for this country. I want us to be a country that has higher growth, where people can benefit from more opportunities across the country. I’ve also been honest that we’re facing a very difficult economic situation. So we’ve had to change our ways of achieving that and it will take longer. I mean we did go too far and too fast. But we are delivering, you know, we’re delivering on energy prices for people this winter. We’re delivering on minimum services on railways, we’re delivering on our speeded up road projects, we’re delivering on reversing national insurance. So yes, I have been honest with the public about what we’ve needed to change because of the circumstances. But I am completely committed to delivering for this country, and that’s why I’m in the job. That’s why I get up each morning, Chris is because I want this country to be a better place where everybody has opportunities and everyone can succeed, that’s what motivates me.”

Chris Mason ‘ People will say look, we all change our minds, all Prime Minister’s change their minds, but this is a wave of U-turns, unprecedented in scale and speed. Do you feel humiliated?’

Truss “ I feel first of all, that I did make mistakes and I’ve been upfront and honest about that. But what I’m spending my time thinking about Chris is about how we deal with the situation and how we deliver for the public. That’s what motivates me and that’s why I’m doing what I’m doing. I care deeply about this country. I care deeply about our success. Because I know what that success means for people it means the difference between having a job and not having a job, it means the difference between being able to feed your family or not being able to feed your family, and that’s that’s what motivates me and what I’m doing. Yes, it hasn’t been perfect. It’s been a difficult time and I think we did an interview before I got the job and I said it was going to be tough because of the circumstances we’re facing as a country. I was expecting it to be tough, and it has been tough. I think it’s fair to say. “

Chris Mason : ‘ Let me read you some of what your own MPs have told me about what’s been going on – ‘it’s checkmate were stuffed’. ‘It’s dire. They’ve taken no responsibility for hiking mortgage rates’. ‘We’re all done for.’ These are your own colleagues. What do you say to them because they’re convinced that as a result of your actions, they and your party are going to lose?’

Truss “ What I say to them is that we should be focusing on the people of the United Kingdom and how we deliver for them. We were elected on the Conservative manifesto in 2019 to level up our country, to provide more opportunities, to deliver for our public services. That’s what I’m focused on doing. And I don’t think people want to hear about internal discussions in the Conservative Party. I think people recognise that we are facing a very serious situation internationally, that there are serious economic headwinds, and they want a government and a Conservative Party that deals with that.”

Chris Mason ‘

Tell me about the sacking of Kwasi Kwarteng. You were longstanding friends from the same if you like wing of the Conservative Party, finally being able to deliver your vision of conservatism and he’s out the door in weeks. What impact did that have having to fire him?’

Truss “ Look, it was a it was a very tough decision. It was painful and Kwasi is a friend of mine, but I’ve been put in this job. I was elected by Conservative party members I was elected to deliver for this country and ultimately I have to make those decisions about what the right thing to do was, and I have made the right decision. It was right that we changed policy. It’s right, that we have a new chancellor. And now what I’m determined to do is make sure that works.”

Chris Mason ‘

Are you sticking around because you want to stick around or because you’ve waiting for your party to find a successor?’

Liz Truss “ I’m sticking around because I was elected to deliver for this country. And that is what I am determined to do. And he next general election; Well look, yeah, (laughs) I’m not focused on internal debates within the Conservative Party. The important thing is that I’ve been elected to this position to deliver for the country. We are facing very tough times. We simply cannot afford to spend our time talking about the Conservative Party, rather than what we need to deliver. That is my message to my colleagues. What I’m worried about is delivering for the people of Britain.”

Chris Mason ‘ You must have had moments in the last few weeks given the scale the swirl of noise that you felt, we’ve all felt at Westminster, amongst your own colleagues, the deep sense of unrest, the deep sense of concern that because of your decisions, the fear among so many Conservative MPs is your party’s going to lose and lose big time in the next general election. And they blame you for that.’

 Truss  “  Well my message to my colleagues is yes, I completely acknowledge that there have been mistakes. I have acted swiftly to fix those mistakes. I’ve been honest about what those mistakes were. And what we now need to do is move forward and deliver for the country because that’s ultimately, that’s ultimately what people care about. People care about us delivering and that’s what we as elected politicians need to focus on. I will stay in the job to deliver for the national interest

Observations on Kuwait Parliamentary Elections 2022

Kuwaitis voted to replace over half of their MPs in the country’s 50-member National Assembly and elected two women to the legislature last Thursday (29 September 2022); Kuwaitis voted to replace over half of their MPs in the country’s 50-member National Assembly and elected two women to the legislature last Thursday (29 September 2022); while only two women were elected. only two women were elected.

The new Kuwaiti National Assembly    will include 27 new members, around a dozen of whom were part of previous parliaments. Although twenty two women stood and many of whom received a high percentage of votes, only two were elected. The previous parliament, dissolved after a stand off with government over budget and mass protests led by women, were all male since December 2020 when the only female MP lost her seat in a byelection.

The country’s Shia sect strengthened its position in the new parliament increasing their share to 18 percent ( from six to nine seats). The ultra-conservative Islamic Constitutional Movement also made good gains while the tribes MPs share declined to 46 per cent after losing six of their 29 seats. Younger candidates are on the increase, according to local media observers continuing the trend of the last parliament elected two years ago.

However, many doubt whether the new parliament will change the awkward three way lock between the ruling Sabah family, their appointed executive cabinet ( 16 members. 15 of whom can also sit in the Assembly )  and the elected 50 MPs that has often played the role of opposition. This customary deadlock with the cabinet, which has delayed the approval of a state budget for the fiscal year 2022/2023 and other economic reforms, is unlikely to get any better. The budget, which has to be voted on before November, had set spending at 23.65 billion dinars ($77.2 billion) compared with 23.48 billion for the 2021/2022 budget. But observers are not too optimistic about ending the stand-off. Political analyst Naser al-Abdali, told Reuters news agency the rise of MPs from Islamist movements in these elections will have a great impact in the next National Assembly.

It is worth noting a few other observations I made during a four day to the oil rich OPEC member country, which had the first elected parliament in the Arabian Peninsula.  

Hardly any of the candidates during the campaign bothered with regional or security issues, since all were campaigning on local demands; which, apparently, is a healthy phenomenon; however, I noticed that Middle Eastern reporters saying candidates not taking grave regional, and international issues seriously. But it is worth bearing in mind the that the parliament, in general, has little say in foreign policy or defence under the current constitution.

The slogan, or the catchphrase of this election season, endlessly repeated in the state media and copied by the independent outlets, was ‘correcting [ or readjusting] the path’ : ” تصحيح المسار… This was a bold statement indicating that the previous  ( dissolved ) parliament and the way it was performing and the process of electing it had gone wrong somehow; although there has been no change in the electoral law, this is something up to the parliament itself to address. But with an assembly with a majority opposing the government reforms, little is likely to be corrected in order to push the process on the desired path.

At the international press centre, the TV tape put on loop on the election channel was about the resistance during the 1990-1991 Iraqi occupation of Kuwait, and the ‘martyrs’ especially women murdered by the Iraqis. This was a departure from the visual and TV message in previous elections, thus the emphasis was on regional threats and security.

Since it is government controlled press centre, this is likely to reflect government and state strategic thinking in forming the next government and sending this message out as what  should be the priority and what emphasise they should put.  on the list of priorities

 speaking with senior Kuwaiti politicians and diplomats ( both  in office and in experience of long serving in office ) , they emphasise that ‘ national security is a prime issue that has been ” neglected ” for two decades . Although they did not spell out directly where is the threat coming from; western diplomats I managed to meet suggest they see now threat from Iraq and Iran as ‘ one  threat with two heads’.

Furthermore, what I managed to glean, was a strong desire (some said ‘determination ‘ )  from the top, to go back to the traditional Kuwaiti doctrine of security through a bilateral defence pact with a superpower .  They prefer this superpower to be America (since UK , the traditional ally ,  can’t afford it any more, as one veteran Kuwaiti diplomat  put it ) but they are also weary and suspicious of the USA commitment during  the Biden democratic administration , thus they hope for a republican administration and a major British role  . Some senior Kuwaiti diplomats  were critical of the regional policy ( which they saw as inseparable from national security)  of  the late Emir, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad (1929-2020) who ruled for fourteen years, who carried a deep Pan-Arabism sentiment  with some unrealistic expectations (, and being  too involved, some said) in  in Pan-Arab commitment,. Some said his obsession with the idea of collective Arab interest and security through collective Arab solidarity was neither realistic nor healthy. Veteran Kuwaiti politicians who were involved in the country’s  defence and foreign policy for decades, and some were active in the resistance during Iraq’s occupation of Kuwait thirty years ago, emphasised that ‘ Kuwait must prioritise its national interests, mostly security regionally and internally’.  Given that those officials and diplomats are still in office; I take it that this must have got some official approval from the top.  This explains that lack of multiple Arab flags at the entrance of the hotel where world media has been packed into a national press centre; and also the loop tape emphasising the dangers and  ” list of martyrs ( mostly women) ” and sacrifices during the Kuwait invasion by Iraq .  However, the question remains – how much this message is taken in by ministers and officials and fully understood, especially the message of ” correcting the path ” ?

Media and many officials still mouth the old clichés… even top officials briefing the foreign press where using clichés that only a new independent third world country would raise when they hold elections for the first time . Meanwhile the secretary general of Parliament (-

 I guess the equivalent to the  Clerk of  the House of Commons- )  was emphasising something different with his modernisation focusing on administrative and MPs services  issues. The Assembly set accommodations like the US congress, where the MPs can physically sleep in, and good space for each member’s staff and researchers. However the new MPs quarters’ design resembles portcullis House, but smaller and half a circle shape with the other half into another building  with large auditorium and modern digitalised reactive screens and other facilities including members library- and there is no traditional vote office like in Westminster. There was a talk about bringing  back a veteran parliamentarian, the  retired speaker Ahmad al-Sadoun ( speaker 1985-1999 and Feb-June 2012 ) who, in 2012,  resigned his post declaring that the elections were invalid. The hope was Sadoun would help reform the electoral law ( ie from each voter voting for a single candidate, they would give a list of preference  of four candidates ) , the idea was to combat tactical voting via bribing constituents with lavish gifts and grants Strangely there is no ceiling of how much a candidate could spend on their campaign.

HM Government in Full 2020

Prime Minister Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP, elected December 2019, 365 MPs Majority 44 to pass bills.

Boris Johnson cabinet 14 February 2020

No 10 take more control of the Treasury and other departments. Rising star Rishi Sunak the new Chancellor of the exchequer, Suella Braverman Attorney General, want yo reform Judiciary relationship with westminster, John Whittingdale back in digital media culture and sport  to keep an eye on the BBc and he is a strong believer in Free Speech, former army officer James Cleverly who did a great job as Chairman of the party is now a Min of State at Foreign and Commonwealth Office, will bring fresh experience especially he is jointly in charge of dept of international development.

Government Departments: Continue reading

HM Government in Full- Update

This is Boris Johnson’s full cabinet as on 31 July 2019, there are a few minor posts to fill , but is a strong ethnic and faith mix cabinet, and most important key posts are given to Thatcherite free-market economy and strong pro breast and for national independence from Brussels.

Cabinet First meeting, 23 July 2019 – PA photo

Key posts went to MPs like Sajid Javid at No 11 as Chancellor of the Exchequer , Dominic Raab MP at the Foreign and Commonwealth office; Priti Patel as Home Secretary and Liz Truss MP, who believes in free international trade and free market at Department of international Trade. In Addition, Vote leave activist Andrea Leadsom MP at the helm of Business and Industrial Strategy, while Boris’s old vote leave campaign comrade Michael Gove MP, is in the Cabinet Office as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, cracking the whip over the heads of the civil services to push for Brexit against sir Humphreys’s brakes-slamming on the Whihtehall machine that want to delay Brexit former.
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Parliament’s Acting as a “Shadow Government,” says Tony Blair

Brexit, There is no Third way , says Tony Blair, as he was handed an egg by a Tory Mp, saying, he wouldn’t throw it at him. Blair’s speech in full.

 Former Prime Minister and Labour Leader  the Rt Hon Tony Blair made a dramatic intervention today criticising the way the Tory Government lead by Theresa may conducted the the negotiations with the EU which  was not ” handled very well”, as he said adding it became 2 half in-half out.” .Mr Blair wanted his message, that  parliament was operating as a “shadow government by frustrating Theresa May over her Brexit deal and asserting control over the Government,” would accurately reach the entire nation, he gave a copy of a speech he made today at the Parliamentary Press Gallery monthly lunch, at which he was a guest speaker, to 200 Westminster reporters, MPs, Lords and influential media guests.  The former Prime Minister  backed MPs, arguing there was as much leadership on the backbenches as the frontbenches. He also suggested the Prime Minister  would be better off pulling the Commons vote on her Brexit deal on Tuesday 11 December, as she remains on course for near-certain defeat.

Just before the Westminster crowd sat to Lunch, their was a light hearted touch by Conservative MP for Beckenham, Colonel Bob Stewart who  told the former labour leader, who sent British troops on 12 intervention, the most controversial of them  was the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, ” I wont be throwing this at you,” presenting him with an egg inscribed with ” to Tony with Love” .

Mr Blair He said  Prime Minster may  had tried to square the circle of Brexit, with a deal that was “pain-less” but “point-full” – but lamented that there was no “acceptable third way” on the issue.

He  argued that voters will feel betrayed by the deal put forward by the Prime Minister, and that a second referendum would be the only option if parliament ends up deadlocked.

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Theresa May’s (non) Cabinet Reshuffle( So-far)

Weakened and humbled by the results of an uncalled for election, but she unwisely called, the Prime Minister Theresa May couldnt do much about changing cabinet posts or changing ministers. She kept most. She moved them in musical chairs fashion, but didn’t touch the four main offices, nor education or even health secretary  despite jeremy hunt’s increasing unpopularity within the NHS. She couldn’t also change the chancellor Philip Hammond despite his gaffs, u-turns and miscalculation. She is even too weak to purge the cabinet of Cameron-Osborne regime as she kept Sajid Javid who s a close ally of George Osborne on the day the latter called her “ a dead woman walking on the Marr show.  The only positive gesture is bringing in committed brexiteers like Michael Gove in the environment .

Here is a full list of the cabinet by Sunday evening: Continue reading

Blair Leads A Counter Revolution…

Is one of the most unpopular politicians in Britain’s modern history trying to make himself even more unpopular?

Kate Burrows-Jones, World Media North America Editor & Adel Darwish, Political Editor  

Despite a referendum vote by the British public, and an overwhelming vote for the Notification of Withdrawal Bill in the House of Commons (498-114) to leave the EU, former Prime Minister Tony Blair is intent on subverting the democratic process.  He is agitating against the Brexit vote by calling upon those who want to remain in the EU to “rise up” against the majority (17.4 Million) and by egging on the unelected House of Lords to amend a bill that was smoothly passed by the elected Members of Parliament. The House of Lords is a controversial body that he himself fundamentally altered. 190 Peers are set to speak on the bill and 20 Peers are expected to press to amend the Bill.  

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The White Paper & the Political Migraine Stopping Labour Head-Girl from Voting

Westminster- Adel Darwish 

HM government  published an official policy document setting out its Brexit plans; known as “ The White Paper” which  opposition MPs and the remainers have been urging The Prime Minister to do. 

The White Paper, a 77 page document in dark grey rectangle on the front page, lays out the government’s 12 “principles” , previously spelt out by Mrs May in her Lancaster House Speech last month,  including migration control and “taking control of our own laws”.

The paper presented by David Davis MP, The Secretary responsible for leaving the European Union who said the country’s “best days are still to come”, outside the EU.

The Opposition labour party Labour criticised the White papeer as “says nothing” and had been produced too late for “meaningful” scrutiny.

The White Paper, officially known as “ The Uniteds Kingom’s Exit from, and new partnership with, the European Union White Paper”  sets out the themes of the government’s objectives  to reach by negotiations with the EU.

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Kate Burrows-Jones , North America Editor

A petition signed by over one million, among whom 800,000 are British, will require MPs to discuss whether US President Donald Trump should be banned from a state visit.  Any petition presented to parliament with over 100,000 signatures is automatically debated by MPs. The anti-Trump petition will be debated on Thursday, February 20th at Westminster Hall not in  the main Commons Chamber. The MPs will also debate another petition, signed by half a million people and put up on Monday night, welcoming Mr Trump to the UK.  The outcome of the debate only carries moral weight but has no effect on Government policy. A Sky News poll said 49% of Britons believe Trump should stay home.

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The Hysteria on US “ Muslim Ban” What are the Facts?

By Kate Burrows-Jones, World Media North America Editor

President Trump Executive order is but sharpening existing laws set by his predecessor President Obama restricting entry to nationals of seven nations. ( below also include links to the full text of the order and related subjects)

Fake news indeed. There is no Executive order banning Muslims. President Donald Trump’s, perhaps ill-founded, ill-fated 90 day ban is based on President Barack Obama’s restrictions on Seven nations. Nobody cared when he did it, so was it a Muslim ban then? The law was written to address security concerns after the Paris Attacks, passing with overwhelming agreement. Voting was bipartisan, it passed the House 407-19.  What Trump did was apply a sharp force, a halt on movement, and cruelly with no notice to let people prepare. Let the people decide if it is wrong, but to call it “Muslim” in nature, is also wrong without reading the full executive order.

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