Angela Eagle is MP for Wallasey and shadow leader of the Commons

Angela Eagle

The government suffered a huge blow to its planned changes to the welfare system on Wednesday night when the House of Lords voted three times against means testing of benefits for cancer patients and young disabled people. In the commons chamber, I congratulated the Labour, crossbench and the tiny band of Liberal Democrat peers for standing up for decency and fairness and blocking these shocking plans. I urged the leader of the House not to use parliamentary time to reverse the votes and instead have a debate on fairness to remind the Liberal Democrats in the coalition just why they entered politics in the first place.

At business questions on Thursday, I raised the issue of fat cat salaries following the prime minister’s New Year tour of TV studios and his announcement that shareholders’ votes on executive pay would be binding. But in November the prime minister announced that his idea to address exorbitant boardroom pay was to appoint more women to boards. In October he told us the solution was boards asking themselves ‘is this the right thing to do’.

Over the last year we have had plenty of press releases from No. 10:  yet FTSE 100 bosses put their own salaries up by a staggering 49 per cent while last year average earnings went up by just 1.4 per cent. Instead of the prime minister touring TV studios once a month, I asked the Leader of the House explain to him that if he is serious about dealing with fat cat salaries we need action not more press releases and asked him to tell us when we are going to get it.

I also called on the leader of the House to have a word with the chancellor and enquire when we can expect to see a response from the treasury to Will Hutton’s report on fair pay in the public sector. In June 2010 the chancellor announced in yet another press release that this was an ‘important review’ and it would pay ‘a crucial role’ in developing government policy.  But it has all gone very quiet since, with not so much as a whisper from the government since the report was published ten months ago.

Following a year in which the issue of lobbying engulfed more than one minister, the cabinet office promised in November that the government would be publishing proposals to clamp down on the access lobbyists have to government by ‘the end of the month’.

Since then we have had a Bell Pottinger executive boasting of the access he can get his clients to the top of government and now one of the prime minister’s top aides, has signed up to another lobbying firm. What we haven’t had is this much promised consultation.

The last time the leader of the House was asked about this – at the beginning of December – he told the House the government would be publishing proposals ‘in a few weeks’. Given this consultation is now long overdue I asked if the cabinet office minister would return to the House to explain what has gone wrong?  I’m not holding my breath!

Angela Eagle is MP for Wallasey and shadow leader of the Commons

Lib-Dem/Tory collaboration in Euro-chaos? Watch this space!

18th ~December 2011

Our attention has been drawn to this news-link to our report of 11th December, 2011.

11th December 2011

In a spectacular collapse of unity (not that its ‘unity’ was ever all that strong) the Tory-led Coalition with the LibDems seems today to be in deep crisis.  Is Cameron now desperate to placate the Right Wing of the Tory Party?  By advocating the interests of the City of London as a key part of his theme he at least appears to be ‘on line’ with the bankers.

Err ….

  • Wasn’t it the millionaire bankers whose activities caused the world economic crash in the first place?
  • Aren’t there rather a lot of millionaires in Cameron’s Tory-led cabinet?
  • Doesn’t the Tory Party get rather a lot of funding from that sort of ‘club’?

And haven’t the bankers and financiers been investing UK industrial profits in the low-wage economies of the far east for decades, ever since the British de-industrialisation and export of formerly UK jobs during the previous Tory governments – with devastating effects on areas like Seacombe where manufaturing industry has suffered so much?

And what are the press saying about it?  Not much unanimity there, nor comfort for the Tory-led coalition – as today’s headlines show.

"Yes Cameron got it right" screams the The Mail on Sunday

"Oh no he didn't - It's a spectacular failure" quotes the (perhaps rather more up-market) 'Independent'.

Meanwhile this page 6 story needs no comment to show how prone some Tory MPs are to shooting their party in its Right foot.

There may well be groans of dismay all over the country from those Tory Party supporters who turn to the ‘Mail’ for a bit of a lift.   This story naming a British Tory MP, and the events related, with a picture of him with David Cameron as well, may not do much to persuade the Germans and French that all is as sweet as it may have seemed when Tory Prime Minister Ted Heath took us into the EEC (or EU as it now is) in 1973.
Anyone who can read on as far as pages 12 and 13 of the ‘Mail on Sunday’ will then find a strident lampoon of LibDem leader Nick Clegg which screams “Humiliation of Nick Clegg” with a photo of the poor chap looking rather sad and the comment “Nick Clegg is facing growing LibDem dissent.”  Not much comfort for the Tories in that, though.  Right next to it is another article ‘Brooding Europhile Clarke to confront Cameron tomorrow”.  It seems that one-time Tory leadership hopeful Ken Clarke is set for “… a potentially explosive meeting with David Cameron tomorrow.”
Oh dear, we always knew the LibDem/Tory marriage could not be a happy one.
But will it end in divorce and a general election?  Probably not;  the Lib Dems could just walk away leaving Labour to try to form a minority administration; or they could ask for a coalition with Labour instead.  But it’s unlikely they would want a general election even if the law (as they helped the Tories to change it) would now precipitate a general election – after all the poor old LibDems would probably be wiped out, and they’d hardly want that!

Seacombe’s pet lovers feeling the pinch?

1st November 2011

When times are hard even keeping the pets can be a huge burden.

Whilst the recession continues, with a Tory-led government seeming unable to find policies to cope with it, a news report in today’s “Guardian” suggests the continuing recession is having a bad effect not only on low and middle-income families but also on the ability of many people to continue to feed their pets and pay for veterinary services.    For the full report log onto:

The report shows not only that low income families are straining to keep their pets, but that many of the charities supporting animal sanctuaries are at breaking point.

And what is the Tory-led government doing about the underlying economic crisis that is inflicting this hardship on low income households?   Nothing very effectuive according to most reports we are now reading – as the economy continues to stagnate with the ever present threat of a ‘double-dip’ recession that Labour warned about when Tory Chancellor Osborne set out on his austerity plan.

For more on this log onto:

How many people believed this is what they would get with the LlbDems propping up a tory party that actually lost a general election?

And this is the effect of the policies of a ConDem government that argued the way out of the bankers’ economic collapse was to slash incomes and devastate the number of public sector jobs in the (failed) hope that the private sector would repair the damage.  That was Tory/LibDem “Plan A”.

Well, now the wheels have fallen off Tory “Plan A”, where’s “Plan B”?

The low-income families, the jobless families, the pensioners, and the unemployed youth of our ward would like to know!