what actually happened yesterday in parliament and what does it mean?

And all the other politics news you need to know, in a handy format.

by Marie Le Conte
04 September 2019, 11:05am

Hello and welcome to a new edition of Watch Marie Pull All Her Hair Out Then Laugh Manically Then Burst Into Tea- sorry, I meant Political i-Deology!

And in this week’s edition of Political i-Deology, we have a… bunch of stuff to get through, to be honest, everything is extremely on fire again in Westminster, you probably don’t need to know it all as MY GOD why would you want to (hi, I’m fine), but there is some stuff worth knowing.

Here we go.

One thing that actually mattered
Boris Johnson lost his first vote in Parliament, hahahahahahaha.

In a nutshell: his government is currently hurtling towards no-deal, a lot of people in Parliament don’t want that, rebels managed to get a vote in the Commons on a motion saying that at the very least there should be a Brexit delay if there’s not a deal by October 31, and the rebels won.

There’s still a lot of stages to go before they can say they’ve won for good (at time of writing, it looks like drama is about to unfold in the House of Lords, of all places), but it does seem to be going in the right direction.

However! [dramatic sound effect] Boris responded by kicking all the MPs who voted against him out of his party (which is insane and we’ll come back to in a bit), and then saying he wants there to be a general election.

However, however! [unhinged sound effect] In order to call an early election, there needs to be a Commons vote and Labour are currently saying that they won’t vote for it unless no-deal on 31 October is all but ruled out. So it’s nice of him to want an early election but he may not get it.

One good thing that happened
Did you not read the bit about Boris losing his first ever vote as PM? Was that not enough for you? Seriously though: it’s kind of hard to pick one thing and definitively say it was good because everything is still extremely up in the air.

By the time the next column in published, what happened early this week might already be seen as the official end of no-deal (good!), Actually What Boris Wanted Because He Has An Evil Plan (not good!), or literally anything else in between.

In conclusion: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

One bad thing that happened
I do kind of feel like this bit of the column has just become your bi-monthly update on the shitshow that is the Home Office, but in my defence the Home Office really is a shitshow.

Anyway, what have they done this time?

Well, it turns out the Home Office has, between 2016 and 2018, refused the asylum requests of at least 3,100 LGBT people from countries where same-sex relations are illegal. The asylum claims mostly came from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nigeria, where being queer can still land you in prison for a long time.

So. That’s bleak and grim.

One puzzling thing that happened
Well, this is actually going to be about one puzzling thing that *didn’t* happen, because the fact that it was going to happen in the first place remains puzzling.

As you may not know (because frankly why would you), there is an event called Westminster Dog of the Year, which kind of does what it says on the tin. Every year, a group of MPs gather near Parliament and bring their dogs with them, and the dogs have to do some tricks and be judged by a jury and so on, and then one of the dogs wins, and usually you get pictures of an MP looking the happiest anyone’s ever been. It’s oddly sweet.

Sadly, because it is 2019 and we are no longer allowed nice things, the contest has been cancelled because it usually happens in a public place and the charity that runs it was scared of protesters crashing it. Boooo. For what it’s worth, this column was ready to throw its weight behind Angela Rayner’s dog Luna.

One person to watch
Yeah we’re going to cheat again here -- there’s not one person you need to watch but… 21? Because, as mentioned above, 21 Tory MPs have been kicked out of the Tory Party and are now independent MPs, which is bonkers.

Included in the 21:
Philip Hammond, who was literally Chancellor until a few weeks ago
Nicholas Soames, who is literally Winston Churchill’s grandson
Ken Clarke, who is literally the longest serving MP of any party currently in Parliament
Rory Stewart, who literally ran to be Tory leader a few months ago

We’re not sure what they’re going to do yet but they basically have nothing to lose as they can’t stand as Conservatives again, so… this should be fun.

One word/phrase worth knowing
Spad! Usually styled “SpAd” (ugh), and short for “Special Adviser”. They’re the people hired by secretaries of state to help them run departments, basically, and usually work on either policy or media. There’s also a whole bunch of them in No. 10, advising the Prime Minister.

They’re usually never in the news unless they’re super senior (see: Dominic Cummings, who we talked about a few columns ago), and it’s a sign that things are more on fire than usual when they start appearing in the papers.

As a case in point, poor Sonia Khan, a spad to the chancellor, was everywhere over the last week because she got sacked by Cummings for still being in contact with people who worked for her old boss, the former chancellor (don’t ask).

There’s also been a lot of talk about which spads are getting hired, which ones are getting fired, etc., which is… not ideal, but there we go. Spaddy spad spads.

Boris Johnson
Dominic Cummings
Political i-Deology